Don Quixote

March 13th, 2007

I think that reading classics generally comes with a certain expectation, that since this work is so famous and acclaimed, it should be truly captivating in some way. Often this is not the case. Of course, there is to consider the time in which the work was produced, but some works have this timeless quality to them, and some do not.

"Don Quijote de la Mancha" is a superbly influential work, and apparently very "modernistic" for its time. And that is something I would not dispute, it really does have that kind of timeless quality to it. But it still falls short of the kind of work that a classic is expected to be.

The premise of Don Quixote is amusing, but the story is very long and in essence not very much more is said mid way than is said in the first chapter. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are well spoken characters with substance, but their adventures are quite shallow and simplistic. This is amplified by the fact that through the course of their history, they encounter a host of characters whose stories sometimes are near identical.

In fact, one wonders if this is not a children's book, because the structure of the stories is so simple, and so obvious after the first few chapters, that a child could easily follow it.

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6 Responses to "Don Quixote"

  1. erik says:

    lol all this from an audio book. It's not quite as bad as going to a movie and judging the book but it's getting there

  2. numerodix says:

    So I assume that if you have the book read to you by a person in the room, that also precludes you from having an opinion? Even for the highly paranoid it seems excessive to fear that the person you entrust to read a text to you will want to deceive you and make up as they go.

    The only difference between reading and listening is that you let your eyes rest. It's the same exact words.

  3. erik says:

    Every audiobook Ive ever got my hands on (admittedly not many) included some suspicious sentences in tiny lettering on the cover along the lines of: "This publication has been edited to provide for a more comfortable reading and listening experience" or some bs

    Yes, I'm suspicious. Not in the least because your version of Don Quichote (I assume) was also translated? Those two factors combined can really mess stuff up.

  4. numerodix says:

    That's pretty paranoid. And how do you know the bookstore didn't sell you a phony copy?

    I don't think you need to be so concerned about audio books per se, I think a far more significant question is which edition is the audio book from? Is it an abridged edition, for instance? And that applies just the same when you buy the book.

    Translation is another worry, often more serious. But since I'm not in a position to read certain books in the original language, what good does it do to complain about that? It's not like I criticize the text for not being linguistically sophisticated enough, I was just commenting on the story, which you could do freely even based on a movie (as long as the movie had the same plot).

  5. John Healy says:

    "I was just commenting on the story, which you could do freely even based on a movie (as long as the movie had the same plot)."
    How do you know the movie has the same plot?

  6. numerodix says:

    Well, let's say there was a movie about Don Quixote and someone had seen it without reading the book, and then made a comment about it. Now, if the movie stayed close to the book, that comment would be valid about the book as well, to an extent. Now, if I read the book *and* saw the movie, I could tell whether the movie comment could apply to the book or not.