David's Reviews > El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha

El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
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's review
Mar 12, 2009

bookshelves: read-in-2009
Read 2 times. Last read April 8, 2009.

My final review of Book I is actually over here -

I am leaving this "review" stand, largely because the comments attached provide a record of my Via Dolorosa through Book I over the past month. The entire "Quik Quixote", in uninterrupted form, is here -

quijote 002

When I bought the handy quadricentennial edition shown in the picture above, I was making small talk with the book store clerk about the feasibility of a foreigner making it through the entire set in the original Spanish. He was encouraging, saying that they sold copies in Spanish to foreigners all the time, and that just yesterday they had sold a copy of the very same edition I was buying to Viggo Mortensen*.

I think this may be just the impetus that I need. Knowing that I may be reading it in parallel with Aragorn, son of Arathorn, is quite motivating.

*What he failed to mention was that, according to Wikipedia:

His family moved to Venezuela, Argentina, and Denmark, settling in Argentina, where he learned Spanish and became a fan of Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro. His father managed chicken farms and ranches in Argentina.[4:] They remained there until Mortensen was eleven

which gives Viggo a certain advantage, as far as navigating the Spanish is concerned.

But still. I am oddly motivated. Watch this space for progress reports.
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Reading Progress

July 14, 2007 – Shelved (Other Paperback Edition)
March 12, 2009 – Shelved
March 13, 2009 –
page 65
March 15, 2009 –
page 110
March 19, 2009 –
page 150
March 19, 2009 –
page 200
21.93% "After an exciting encounter with some sheep, The good Hidalgo is down a few teeth. And I am trying to care."
March 21, 2009 –
page 260
March 24, 2009 –
page 320
35.09% "Good news. This actually has been modestly entertaining for the past several chapters. Still not ´laff riot´status, but beyond 'snoozefest"
March 27, 2009 –
page 400
43.86% "The end of book one is in sight! Call it the Stockholm Syndrome, but I'm starting to like the old knight of the long countenance..."
March 28, 2009 –
page 430
47.15% "Mike has overcome the purely episodic style that plagued the first 150 pages and has several parallel plots going on which keep my interest"
March 29, 2009 –
page 485
April 5, 2009 –
page 486
53.29% "One lousy page in 6 days. Because my goddam eyes glaze over. What in the name of Cher's underwear was he thinking when he wrote this drivel?"
April 7, 2009 –
page 525
57.57% "Hurrah! Finally finished Book I. This book frustrates me enormously because it's quite decent in places, but oh so lethally boring in others"
Started Reading
Started Reading (Other Paperback Edition)
April 8, 2009 – Finished Reading (Other Paperback Edition)
April 8, 2009 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-45 of 45) (45 new)

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message 1: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I'm still trying to reconcile the idea of you citing Wikipedia!!! Are you the real David or did someone hack your goodreads account!!!

message 2: by David (new) - added it

David Tsk, tsk, Rebecca. I think you need to make some allowance for the fact that I am here in Madrid, a good 6000 miles away from home, no?

Besides which, clearly identifying Wikipedia as one's source should be considered adequate warning. Kind of like a big "BELIEVE AT YOUR OWN RISK" sign.

message 3: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Well, I'll let you off the hook this time, mister man, but COME ON, ickypedia???? Seriously!!!!!!!! I would have expected you could have googled up some kind of Viggo Mortenson fan/stalker site to get that info!

I expect more detailed pastry reports on your blog as penance, perhaps including cookies?

Jessica Sir David:
Abigail already said something of what I'd planned to, and more wittily than I'd have as well, so: viva Viggo! Viva David! Viva Don Quijote de la Mancha!

Jessica p.s. did you know that Mortenson also writes poetry? and paints? and regularly has gallery showings? clearly, a Renaissance man.

p.s. perhaps one can own a piece of Mortensen after all? Just thinking aloud here...

message 6: by Gail (new)

Gail Ah, you see, David, what a whirlwind of passion(s) you've stirred up here.

We look forward to hearing more about your joint venture with Vigo.

message 7: by David (new) - added it

David Well. I have to 'fess up. I had to buy a battered English translation to help me keep up. So I read about 30 pages in Spanish, then read the Penguin Classics translation to make sure I haven't missed anything major.

So far, so good. I wouldn't actually call it a laff riot, but it's not the total snoozefest I was fearing either.

But the windmills were very disappointing - over and done with in about a page. Given the large part they play in the popular image of Quixote I had expected more somehow.

Coming soon : SHEEP! I'm a sucker for sheep, so my hopes are high.

message 8: by Gail (new)

Gail I've tried Quixote several times and just couldn't get through it. I enjoyed the conceit of book reading having driven the Don mad, but the execution was just...snore...what? Oh, yes. Now I loved Pickwick Papers and Vanity Fair and those sorts of things, but I hated Three Musketeers and Count of Monte Cristo. Don't know if this applies, but maybe.

On another area you've addressed here: I did some readings in Spanish (just trying to keep my hand in) and, like you, was much more comfortable with an English translation available as a self-check. Another go in the same general ballpark is reading Chaucer--I use the original and a good poetic translation. I'm dying to try Dante with his Italian on one page and the English on the facing page. It's really a lot easier than it sounds and a most enjoyable experience. I've done a few pages and would really like to go for more.

Jessica I liked it a lot. Read it in English tho --

message 10: by David (last edited Mar 20, 2009 04:56PM) (new) - added it

David This literary gem of the siglo d'oro,
I have to say's been my bête noir, O
spare your censure, gentle reader,
I bet you haven't read it either.
Let's make a deal. I'll save you time.
Give you a crib in deathless rhyme.
A Cliff Notes version of the Don,
Cause Mick Cervantes does drone on.
So tune back in, my little cupcakes,
And watch this space for future updates.

Jessica I'm your little cupcake
breathless waiting
further updates...

message 12: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 1.

Too many books; our Don's brain's addled.
So he decides that he'll get saddled.
His scrawny steed? That's Rocinante.
His secret sweetheart, Dulz the dainty.

Jessica bravo!

Adelante...Don Giltinante!

message 14: by David (last edited Mar 20, 2009 04:51PM) (new) - added it

David Chapters 2-3.

Don sallies forth in search of fame.
Soon gets confused (recurrent theme
Throughout this tale). Gets taken in.
Thinks "castle", when he should think "inn".
Hilarious fun, with knaves and varlets
And -- pace, Maiden Aunt -- two harlots.
By chapter's end, our Don's a Knight
And off in search of wrongs to right.

Jessica maiden Aunt!!


message 16: by David (new) - added it


A warning will, I hope, here be excused.
How much the reader -- you -- will be amused,
Depends on how you view a poor confused
Clown's antics. Are you laughing? Or bemused?

If it's the latter, here's a quick suggestion.
Just stop right now. Spare yourself indigestion.
But if your favorite circus act's the clown,
Read on, and I'll try not to let you down.

Jessica If the book comes with photos of the author Abigail, I'd be inclined to give it 5 stars sight unseen (um, unread)

message 18: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 4.

Don leaves the inn. "Saves" boy being whipped.
Attacks muleteers. Is ill-equipped.
Gets thrown from horse. Is soundly battered.
And left in ditch. Completely shattered.

Chapter 5.

Neighbor finds the Don, half-dead.
Rescues, brings him home to bed.
Anxious family; much relief.
Blame Don's books for all his grief.

message 19: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 6.

Our Don's in bed; head, heart on fire.
Priest and barber plan a bonfire
in the library. What's worth saving?
Are interrupted by Don's fresh raving.

Chapter 7.

And so the books, source of temptation
Are fuel for major conflagration.
Library's sealed. Housekeeper grins.
Thinks lack of books will rein Don in.
Rejoicing too - Don's niece demure,
But celebration's premature.
Don rests at home, seems calm and sane,
but's planning to take off again.
He needs a squire - think Tony Danza;
Tony's not free - finds Sancho Panza.
Seduces Sancho with fine words.
The pair head out, adventure-wards.

message 20: by Jessica (last edited Mar 21, 2009 04:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessica don Giltinan de Hidlago:

es usted un genio...no hay otra manera de decirlo.

message 21: by David (last edited Mar 21, 2009 04:42AM) (new) - added it

David Jessica. Thanks for your kind words. What's interesting is that, having found my "gimmick" (i.e. knowing that I will have to summarize each chapter in deathless rhyme) I am reading it far more carefully, and having much more fun with it.

Abigail: though you can't vote for comments, maybe you could pretend they are part of the review and vote for it. Not that I would stoop to trolling (trawling?) for votes, heaven forfend! :-)

message 22: by David (last edited Mar 21, 2009 05:02AM) (new) - added it

David Chapter 8.

The Windmill Scene! It's quite dramatic.
And of our tale so emblematic.
But over soon. It's disappointing.
I have to say, Mick left me wanting
More. But no - one page, then on.
To further exploits of our Don.
He fights a Basque, with sword immense.
The tale breaks off --- we´re in suspense!

Chapter 9.

Next Mick gets cutesy with narrating
A trick, once fresh, now irritating.
Been copied by, to name a few
Jorge Borges, Paul Auster too.
It's cutesy, clever, très post-mod.
Personally I just find it odd.

"What happens next" I hear you ask,
"Between Quixote and the Basque?"

Well, after our narrator handoff,
We learn the fight turns out a standoff.
Neither wins, though both are hurt
(There might be damage to Don's shirt).
No - strike that! In the catalog of woundage,
It's the Don's ear that needs the bandage.

message 23: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 10.

Nothing whatsoever happens.
Really. Trust me.

Goodreads groundlings: We don't believe you! Boo! Hiss! Rhubarb! Rhubarb!

DG (disgusted): Oh, for CHRIST'S sake. ALL RIGHT!

"The Don and Sancho chat and eat
Just bread and cheese, cause there´s no meat."

Happy, now, rabble?

Goodreads groundlings: Well, that wasn't very interesting!

DG: {sigh}

message 24: by Jessica (last edited Mar 21, 2009 07:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessica Rhabarber!




message 25: by Ben (new)

Ben Haha!

message 26: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle I'm planning on reading this next month, but not in Spanish. David, your edition is both beautiful and intimidating.

message 27: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 11.

Goatherds share meat with Don and Panza.
There's pastoral poetry - many a stanza.

Chapters 12 - 14.

Lady likes to dress like shepherdess.
Spurns swain. He dies. His flock's now shepherdless.
More pastoral poems -- endless verse;
Snooze quotient's going from bad to worse.
Friends bury him. At shepherd's grave,
Once more - dear God! - Don starts to rave.

message 28: by David (last edited Mar 22, 2009 04:38AM) (new) - added it

David Chapter 15.

Next Rocinante wanders, frisky.
Gets amorous with some mares, a risky
Move. Backfires when owners in alarm
Attack our boys and do them harm.
By end of scene (knightlife's a bitch)
Once more our boys are in the ditch.

message 29: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 16.

Our battered duo finds an inn.
Don gets confused; gets taken in.
Thinks "castle" when he should think "inn".
Hilarious fun, with knaves and varlet
And -- pace, Maiden Aunt -- a harlot.

Goodreads rabble: Hey, we've already seen this bit! Boo! Hiss! Rhubarb! Rhubarb! (etc)

DG: Aha! So you're paying attention, are ye? Well don't blame me that it's déjà lu all over again. That'd be Mick's doing.

Goodreads rabble: ¡¡¡But this is BO-O-RING!!!

DG: Yes, isn't it though? Think how I must feel. Now please be quiet, so that we can keep this "story", such as it is, moving along.

Chapter 17.

Kicked out of inn. The Don won't pay.
(Civil behavior's not his way)
Some louts have fun with Sancho P.
Playing toss-the-squire with obvious glee.
Don watches motionless, like an anchor
(again behaving like a wanker)
Doesn't even lift a finger
What a cringing, minging, whinger!

EDITORIAL ASIDE (regarding the Don's "character", or lack thereof)

It's clear our Don's a scrawny psychopath,
Who, if you met him on a bikepath,
Would steal your bike and kick your crotch
While his idiotic sidekick watched.

Chapter 18.

When next we catch up with our peeps,
They have a run-in with some sheeps.
It don't go well, Quixote scholars
By chapter's end, Don's down three molars.

Goodreads rabble (doubtfully): Is "sheeps" a real word?

DG: It is now.

Goodreads rabble: And what about that "scholars-molars" rhyme?

DG: Silence, wretches! What about it?

message 30: by David (last edited Mar 22, 2009 09:19AM) (new) - added it


We're through Book II; I'm not mistaken.
My promise I've not yet forsaken.
But here's the thing, my little cupcakes,
Those of you quicker on the uptake
Will notice that this book's a snore,
That Mick's, in fact, a crashing bore.

It's time to renegotiate our pact,
And make a new and better contract.
For my part I think I can make it
Through six books without having to fake it.
Books VII to XII, I'm not so certain;
So don't get mad if I pull the curtain,
Once we make it through Book VI,
Which is where Mick first called it quits.

From what we've seen of Mickey's game,
The last six books? More of the same!
I'm sorry if that makes you mad.
But if it does, that's just too bad.
Life is short and tempus fugits.
Sometimes it's best to call it quits.

Jessica okay, if you must don Giltinante
adelante adelante
con tu vida propia
y no la de Rocinante, Quijote, Panzote,

message 32: by David (new) - added it

David After a break to clear my noggin
Cause, like the Don, my brain was foggin.
The good news is the book does get
Better. Bad news: but just not yet.
But watch this space, cuz I'll be back
Just not right now. Cut me some slack.

message 33: by Jessica (last edited Mar 25, 2009 03:08AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessica s - l - a - c - k

that is slack sir
being cut sir.
but only once,
only for you
only now.

message 34: by David (last edited Mar 25, 2009 09:46AM) (new) - added it

David Chapter 19.

Our pair are left without a saddlepack.
They're up a creek. How will they paddle back?
It's easy for a loony knave,
Attack some mourners, traveling grave-
ward. Loot the corpse. Break someone's leg.
And when they're down, just make them beg
for mercy. Then just steal their stuff.
As if the injury weren't enough.

By now most readers will be thinking
our Don's behaving like a stinking
turd, whose acts, e'en for a mad guy
seem suited to some Mafia bad guy.

message 35: by David (last edited Mar 25, 2009 10:06AM) (new) - added it

David Chapter 20.

Nothing happens, really. Noises in the night, Don prattling, Sancho takes a dump. For God's sake, I'm supposed to weave this into some kind of tapestry of rhyme???

Goodreads rabble: (expectantly)
We're ..... WAITING .... here.

DG: Oh, ALL RIGHT then!!!

Don prates 'bout things eschatological
Sancho's behavior's scatological
"Fulling-hammers" in the night
Give quite a fright to squire and knight.

Goodreads rabble: (grudgingly)
Not too bad. Gotta admire those internal rhymes in that last line. But what are "fulling-hammers"?

DG: Why, I'm so glad you asked. "Fulling" is what these jolly ladies are doing -

It basically consists of beating cloth into submission, and used to involve urine (a.k.a. "lant") for softening purposes, and repeated blows e.g. from dainty feet, as in the picture above, or in the case of Quixote, hammers powered by a water mill.

message 36: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 21.

A barber who must serve two villages
Is the next victim of Don's pillages
His battered brassy shaving basin's
A lure to Don, like fleece to Jason.
Once again, like a bambino
He steals. "The Helmet of Mambrino".


By this point, I confess, dear Reader
My view of Don had reached its nadir
Thought "If this is Mickey's obra maestra,
Then he can shove it up his keister!"
But thought of you, my little cupcakes,
Made me continue, for your poor sakes.

message 37: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 22.

Next up, to prove he's not all bad
Don does something that made me glad
Frees troop of prisoners, decked in chains
But doesn't get much for his pains.
Freed ruffians, spoiling for a fight,
Attack fat squire and scrawny knight,
And steal their stuff (payback's a bitch)
And leave our duo in the ditch.

Chapter 23.

Our heroes, suffering and in pain, are
Next seen in the Sierra Morena
In dark and craggy mountain pass
Freed prisoner steals poor Sancho's ass.

(But here, at times, it seems Mick's clueless.
Can't quite remember Sancho's muleless.
The donkey, stolen by a badass,
Appears and vanishes like a mad ass.
Mule reappears for a few pages,
Then vanishes, just like Don's rages.)

They find a bag, in mountains jagged.
With gold and such, and then a ragged
Creature, who at first seems mad,
But, it turns out, is not all bad.

message 38: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 24.

Cardenio (that's the wretch's name)
Loved, and pined, and wooed in vain.
So rent his garments. Went quite mad.
(In fact the poor boy's tale's quite sad)
Now lurks in mountains; lives in cave
Cursing the name of the vile knave
Who stole his love, a damsel fickle,
And left him in his current pickle.

message 39: by David (last edited Mar 27, 2009 02:14PM) (new) - added it

David Chapter 25

Up in this remote mountain eyrie
The Don's behavior gets quite hairy
Decides -- to honor Dulcinea --
That in the mountains he will stay a
While and practice knightly courtesies
(Unfortunately starting with a strip-tease)
Gives squire a note for Dulz the Dainty
And sends him off with Rocinante

Chapter 26.

Repulsed by views of naked Don,
Sancho skedaddles, and e'er long
Is back at inn, with knaves and varlets
And - pace, maiden aunt - that harlot,
And - some good luck for Sancho Panza -
That priest and barber from La Mancha.
Tells them about exposed rear end
of Don. They scheme to rescue friend.

Goodreads Rabble: How long do you plan on recycling that appalling "varlet-harlot" rhyme? It was already stale the first time around.

DG: Feel free to step in and take over any time you like. Until then, SILENCE, INSOLENT RABBLE!!

message 40: by David (new) - added it

David SEVILLE09 108

Further updates to the exciting QUIK QUIXOTE saga will be forthcoming as soon as my visitor from the U.S. leaves. Watch this space!

message 41: by David (new) - added it

David Chapter 27.

So priest and barber, squire and steed
Head out to save their friend in need
With subterfuge, and some cross-dressing.
Head out to where Don's still professing
His love for Dulz, and for the knightlife,
(Myself, I'd settle for a quiet life.)
They meet Cardenio (from before,
his tale's in Chapter 24).

Chapter 28.

Next things get, if not quite dramatic,
At least a bit soap operatic.
I'll simplify, to keep things short,
Though brevity is not Mick's forte.
Forgive me if I stoop to flashback
(I hope you won't be wanting cash back).

Card loved Lucy, thought he'd wed her.
Ferd saw Lucy, thought he'd bed her.
Lucy, distraught, seemed to choose bird in hand,
When she agreed to marry Ferdinand.
Card was distressed, went off his head.
Wished Ferdinand and Lucy dead.
Fled to mountains, rent his garments.
Hung out with sheep, was prey to varmints.

Meanwhile, poor Dot (that's Ferdy's ex),
Is fugitive too, cause back then sex,
Though practiced slyly, with abandon,
Was sanctioned only with a band on.
Needless to say, she's mad at Ferdy,
A trait she shares with our friend Cardy.

message 42: by David (last edited Apr 06, 2009 11:26AM) (new) - added it

David Chapter 29

Barber and priest meet Card and Dot.
Decide to change and improve plot
To rescue Don. With fair Dot's succor
Hatch a new plan designed to sucker
Don into helping our fair damsel.
No need for priest to dress like mademoiselle;
They've Dot for that. Plan works a treat.
Don falls for story -- very neat.

Chapter 30.

Next up in remote mountain pass
They find the thief who stole squire's ass.
Sancho is happy to see Dapple.
Even rewards him with an apple.

Chapter 31.

So priest and barber, squire and knight,
and Card and Dot, travel by night
Until at last they reach the inn.
There's rooms for all. They're in like Flynn!

Chapters 32 - 34.

I'm sorry. I can't. It's just too insanely boring.

They eat. They drink. Don goes to bed.
To rest his sleepy knightly head.
The others read a tale so boring
I can't sum up. It had me snoring.

Please don't make me.

message 43: by Jessica (last edited Apr 06, 2009 01:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessica y cuantos capitulos te quedan, don giltinante?

message 44: by David (last edited Apr 06, 2009 01:55PM) (new) - added it

David Hmmm, let´s see:

LII minus XLVII, (plus XIX, minus XXIV, carry the I, so plus X).

I have V chapters left to read in Book 1, XVIII chapters left to summarize.

Chapter XXXV.

In Don's bedroom, all hell breaks out;
They go to see what it's about.
Find Don in posture of defiance;
He thinks he's being attacked by giants.
Lays waste with sword, starts breaking things;
Before long, punctures inn's wineskins.
Red wine pours out -- a crimson flood,
The Don mistakes it for giants' blood.
They praise and calm befuddled knight
And try to settle in for the night.

Chapter 36.

But someone's heard a-knocking outside -
Looks like a nobleman. And his bride?
Well, golly gee! It's Ferd! And Lucy!
Looks like our story's getting juicy!

Remember Ferdy? (he's Dot's ex,
Who dumped her after having thex).
Remember Luce? (Cardenio's flame)
Dressed like a nun! So what's the game?

What happens next? I'll make it quick.
Spare you all of Mick's slick shtick.

Ferdy, who's mistreated both wenches,
Repents, resolves to be a mensch, as
Befits his noble rank and station.
Both pairs unite. Much jubilation!
Card and Lucy get quite sappy.
Dot and Ferdy -- just as happy.

Pollopicu I just started reading the "Spanish" edition of "Don Quijote". I'm sorry I'm unable to read all the responses you received in your extended review...I wouldn't want to spoil it for myself. However, I was curious to see who else was trying to tackle the Spanish edition. I have a slight advantage in which I lived in Puerto Rico for 6 years and attended JHS. Still, I'm a new-yorican, born and raised in Brooklyn. I have to admit, I'm a bit intimidated by the Spanish version of this novel. I'm comforted knowing I'm not the only one taking the leap.

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