My introduction to the legendary Don Quixote was similar to that of many American children. From the local library, I checked out the Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics edition: Don Quixote from La Mancha by Judge Parry. This great illustrated re-telling of the story is now in its 8th edition and still going strong. I particularly liked the illustrations.
Quixote and Sancho may be the most famous fictional sojourners of all time. Together, they wandered the plains of La Mancha in search of adventures. Don Quixote was fired up by his image or illusion of knighthood to the point of madness and he doesn’t let reality get in his way. Sancho on the other hand is anchored in reality, but he will humor his boss to keep things going as smooth as possible (for Sancho).
For Christmas 1945 a friend gave me a copy of Quixote for my very own: The Adventures of Don Quixote, retold and illustrated by Barrett and Chappell. This edition was easy to read, if not very faithful, rendition of the Quixote story, and the illustrations were dramatic pen and ink drawings. Unfortunately this book is now out of print, but the 1960 version is available used on Amazon.com.
The tradition of illustrating Quixote began shortly after publication of Part One in 1605. I was fortunate to see the exposition Imágenes del Quijote in Madrid in 2004 that covered illustrated editions dating from 1640 through1882 and traced the evolution of the iconography of the Don and his sidekick Sancho. The tradition continued into the 20thcentury when the Salvador Dalí Museum presented an exhibition titled, Tilting at Windmills: Dalí Illustrates Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ with 50 illustrations by Dalí. Many of these illustrations have been posted to the web.
For information about the Dali museum and the illustrations of Cervantes’ work see:
Spain went all out for the 400 year celebration of things Cervantes and published in a single volume both Part One (1605) and Part Two (1615) of Don Quijote de la Mancha. The Royal Academy of Spain made the new edition available worldwide in Spanish for $12.00. The 2003 translation into English of the complete Don Quixote by Edith Grossman made an new English translation available and added to the celebration—if only one had time to read them both.
Day 31: Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes, tran. Edith Grossman) (2003).