Review of Don Quijote de la Mancha, Alfaguara edition

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Don Quijote de la Mancha

 

 

A classic among classics: can you think of anyone who doesn’t at least pretend to be familiar with this work? Or who doesn’t think immediately of windmills as soon as don Quijote’s name is mentioned? He is such an important character that we must introduce him to children long before they’re ready to read Cervantes’ original text.

As a general rule, I do not buy nor read abridged editions of the classics. The language is generally changed so much that the text loses its rhythm and beauty, to say nothing of the loss to the story and the character development. But in this case, with don Quijote being such a prominent part of the culture, I decided it was time to look for a decent version for Mr. Scientist at 8 years old. I didn’t want a children’s picture book in which only the windmill episode is featured, so I kept looking until I found this edition by Alfaguara. It isn’t perfect, like any abridged version, but it has served us well, and don Quijote’s phrases are frequently heard around our house now. One of the most common is “You lie, villain!” which I hear each time Mr. Scientist believes that Miss Adventuress is being less than truthful. 🙂

The language has been modernized, but there remain many “wondrous words”, as we call them around here, and the vosotros verb form is still used. I like that so much of the original style has been conserved, but that it has been changed just enough that the students of today can comprehend it. Following are some short extracts so that you can see the difference in the original and the Alfaguara versions for yourself (necessarily all in Spanish).

Y lo primero que hizo fue limpiar unas armas que habían sido de sus bisabuelos, que, tomadas de orín y llenas de moho, luengos siglos había que estaban puestas y olvidadas en un rincón.

(edición Alfaguara) Y así, con estos agradables pensamientos, lo primero que hizo fue limpiar unas armas que habían sido de sus bisabuelos y que, llenas de moho, desde hacía siglos estaban olvidadas en un rincón.

Iba Sancho Panza sobre su jumento como un patriarca, con sus alforjas y su bota, y con mucho deseo de verse ya gobernador de la insula que su amo le había prometido.

(edición Alfaguara) Iba Sancho Panza sobre su jumento muy a gusto, con sus alforjas y su bota de vino, y con mucho deseo de verse ya gobernador de la insula que su amo le había prometido.

—Mire vuesta merced —respondió Sancho— que aquellos que allí se parecen no son gigantes, sino molinos de viento, y lo que en ellos parecen brazos son las aspas, que, volteadas del viento, hacen andar la piedra del molino.

(edición Alfaguara) —Mire vuesta merced —respondió Sancho— que aquellos que allí aparecen no son gigantes, sino molinos de viento, y lo que en ellos parecen brazos son las aspas que, dando vueltas por el viento, hacen andar la piedra del Molino.

With respect to the chapters included in this edition by Alfaguara, I’ll share what the editor commented in the introduction (my translation): “The chapters have been carefully selected, bearing in mind the interests of the reader and the continuity of the work, such that the episodes and fragments divided up as they are in no way affect the argument or plot.” In my opinion, there’s a little too much Dulcinea, and too many suplots. At this age, I’d like to see an edition that limited itself to the adventures of don Quijote and Sancho, without long chapters detailing the stories of don Fernando, Cardenio, Dorotea, and Luscinda. But, if your purpose is to introduce don Quijote, you can always skip these chapters if you get bogged down. The last chapters of the book return to Sancho and don Quijote, and the book ends with the death of the beloved don Quijote, who has finally come to his senses. For a first reading of don Quijote, I fully recommend it, especially at under $10! It’s available at Barnes and Noble and many other stores, ISBN-13: 9789587043105.

(Note: this blog has no sponsors and no affiliate links; I bought the book myself and am sharing my opinions to help our community of parents and teachers. I won’t earn any money if you purchase the book.)                      

Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish

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