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Old School Classics, Pre-1900 > Don Quixote - Translations

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message 1: by Kent (new)

Kent (kentmd) | 39 comments Id like to start reading Don Quixote (as part of my 2015 old and new classics challenge). Does anyone have a suggestion of which translation to read?


message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I consented on your other thread but I have names. Of the people I've talked to and read it with, John Rutherford was enjoyed more than Tobias Smollett.

http://www.amazon.com/Don-Quixote-Thi...


message 3: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I've heard the Edith Grossman translation is very readable and is in contemporary English.

Don Quixote


message 4: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Don Quixote is our 2015 3rd qtr. long read. The issue of the books translation seems relevant, anybody have any information about translations or can speak about the translations they read lets us know. Thanks


message 5: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments I've been trying to figure out the best translation as well. The names suggested above by Sarah and Melanti seem to be the popular choices. I have a very cheap Wordsworth edition, translated by Peter Motteux, so I'll try this first, but if I don't get on with it I might see which other editions my library has.


message 6: by Niles (new)

Niles (professorx2) | 37 comments In my third year of high school Spanish, we had to read Don Quixote in the original Spanish. As language is not my forte, I had to translate everything back into English because I think in English, if that makes any sense. Many an agonizing night spent with the Spanish-English dictionary. Even after all that, I could not tell you anything about the novel. My translation was so bad as to not even make any sense to the translator (myself.) I was so traumatized (figuratively speaking) I have never re-visited Quixote. So ANY of the translations HAVE to be better than mine. That being said, I have heard that Raffell's version is the closest to what Cervantes was attempting to express. However, I have not been able to find that readily and have opted for the Grossman version. I will absolutely NOT be using any dictionaries!


message 7: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Niles, I think having to read in Spanish and translate with a dictionary would put anyone off. Languages are not my forte either. Well done for giving it another go now, I hope the Grossman translation works better for you!


message 8: by Melanti (last edited Jun 03, 2015 09:15AM) (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments Niles, I had the same experience. I tried to read it in Spanish class in High School and didn't make it very far and that's put me off reading it ever since.

I'm not sure which translation I'll read.

I grabbed the free edition off Amazon which appears to be translated by John Ormsby. I'll give that one a shot and if it doesn't work out, I'll try a more contemporary translation.

I was going to read the free John Ormsby translation, but it shows only 400 pages! Granted, the print edition it's based off of appears to have minuscule font, but 400 is low enough that I still suspect it might be partially abridged.


message 10: by Katy, New School Classics (last edited Jun 26, 2015 05:54PM) (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
An interesting article from Humanities Magazine on different translations (into English) of Don Quixote.

One Master, Many Cervantes: Don Quixote in translation


message 11: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Another article on translations into English:

About to Read Don Quixote


message 12: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
July is nigh upon us!

I am debating between the Rutherford translation: Don Quixote (1072 pages) or the Grossman translation: Don Quixote (992 pages) because I happen to have copies of both.


message 13: by Ritwik (new)

Ritwik From what I've read and to elucidate my findings,
Jarvis translation(old but readable)
Ormsby's translation is archaic(the prose) also it is the most easily available translation on the internet and is considered closest to the original but dull;
Putnam, Raffel and Walter Starkie have derived their translation partly from Ormsby.(Out of the equation)
Smollett and Grossman manage to bring out the humour quotient of the books successfully. Rutherford being one of the modern translators does justice to the gist of Don Quixote.
Assessing all, Grossman seems the most preferable translation closely followed by Rutherford and Smollett.
Frankly Speaking, one just needs to use the 'look inside' feature of Amazon and suitably choose if being frustrated by disparate opinions.
I am going with Smollett, (I trust Salman Rushdie) ;)


message 14: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments I think if I was looking for a new edition I'd go with Grossman, then Smollett. As it is, I'm stuck with my old copy by Motteux.

I'm considering getting the audiobook, as I have credits to use on Audible. I'm unsure which to go with, the Ormsby narration by Roy McMillan sounds better read than the Smollett narration by Robert Whitfield. This just gives me a whole new problem of which one to choose.


message 15: by Ritwik (new)

Ritwik Smollett translation dates back to the 18th century. Among the modern translators Grossman seems the obvious choice but I had already taken the decision of decorating my classics shelf with the Smollett modern library edition which came cheaper than the Grossman edition.(2 months back!) I guess I'll have to stick with that.
Pink, if you are considering to utilize your credits on Audible I don't think you can go wrong with the Ormsby narration since it is considered closest to the original and the modern translations(Grossman and Rutherford) have based their work on Ormsby's text and it already sounds better to you. :)


message 16: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments I think either of the narrations would be fine, I'd personally lean towards the Ormsby one, but I've heard some good recommendations about the Smollett/Whitfield version so I'm still considering this one too. I'm pretty sure I'll be listening rather than reading though.


message 17: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
I'm at a loss about reading this, I planned on reading the Kindle version and hope for the best. However, after reading Melanti's message #8 above I too am concerned that even though wild discrepancies concerning number of pages exist in e-books, I'm wondering if 400 pages does not mean that this version may be abridged. Anyone know for sure?


message 18: by Pink (last edited Jun 29, 2015 02:49PM) (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Bob, I have no idea. I've googled the Ormsby edition and as far as I can tell it isn't shorter than the rest. Could it be so short simply due to layout, I'm not sure. Amazon reviews have complained about editing problems but no mention of it being abridged, though unless you've read another version how would you know. If it were me I'd approach the free kindle edition with caution.

Oh and there is another paper edition on Amazon that states it's 400 pages and unabridged, but again I don't see how.


message 19: by Duane (new)

Duane (tduaneparkeryahoocom) | 296 comments I have the free kindle version, translated by Ormsby, and I don't think it is abridged. The 401 pages is misleading. Even on the 2nd to the smallest type, it takes 4 kindle pages to equal 1 page of the 400. I counted 2 random pages and both had over 800 words. Translated to normal book pages, that's about 1,000 pages.


message 20: by Duane (new)

Duane (tduaneparkeryahoocom) | 296 comments Ormsby's translation dates back to 1885. I've read several critics opinions who think his is the best translation because it's closet to the original. But it's harder to read, that's why most people prefer a more modern translation. I think any of those mentioned here on this thread will be good. I'm going to read my Ormsby version' it's free.


message 21: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
It will be interesting to see how all of our different versions compare.


message 22: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Newton | 2 comments I've already read the Smollett translation and liked it, but after looking at the links above, I think I want to give the Grossman version a try. I mean, you can never have too many, right?


message 23: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
No such thing as too many books.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments I think I'm going to listen to this as an eAudio via public library/Overdrive.

I appreciate the discussion about translations, but I just can't bring myself to buy this--in any format when the library has copies or Project Gutenberg as a source.

As with Les Mis and tCoMC, this undertaking will involve at least two check outs.


message 25: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 421 comments I'm planning to read the Grossman translation.


message 26: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 1656 comments I thought about listening to the audiobook from the library as well but it doesn't tell which translation it is. I know it is from Blackstone Audio released in 2004. Even with that I couldn't find the translator. Not sure if I'll listen or read sometime later.


message 27: by Kris (new)

Kris (kmell33) | 103 comments It's funny, I never put much thought into how the translation will impact the reading experience until I started reading some of the posts here. It makes a lot of sense when I think of it.

I looked at both the Grossman translation and the Rutherford translation this past weekend but couldn't decide which way to go. I'm leaning towards the Grossman translation but probably won't decide until I pick up the book this weekend.


message 28: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 421 comments Laurie wrote: "I thought about listening to the audiobook from the library as well but it doesn't tell which translation it is. I know it is from Blackstone Audio released in 2004. Even with that I couldn't find ..."

Maybe it's this MP3 CD version. It's from Blackstone released in 2004:
http://www.amazon.com/Quixote-Mancha-...

It's the Smollett translation.


message 29: by Pink (last edited Jun 30, 2015 03:22AM) (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Nathan, that's the one I'm going for, Smollett translation, read by Robert Whitfield as he's been highly recommended to me as a narrator, plus the Smollett version seems highly recommended too.

I think any of the major translators would be fine to read. There are at least 20 different versions to choose from, but the same 5 or 6 names that are frequently mentioned above, all have their different merits.


message 30: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 1656 comments Nathan wrote: "Laurie wrote: "I thought about listening to the audiobook from the library as well but it doesn't tell which translation it is. I know it is from Blackstone Audio released in 2004. Even with that I..."

Thank you for finding this, Nathan. I didn't even think of checking Amazon. I looked at Blackstone's and Audible's websites.

I may try the audio in in conjunction with reading.


message 31: by Susie (last edited Jul 02, 2015 07:51PM) (new)

Susie | 754 comments FYI if you are still deciding...I purchased the Ormsby translation on Kindle today for $1.99 and then was able to add the Audible companion (Roy McMillan, narrator )for just $4.99, so I didn't even use a credit!
I had no idea about the different translations(and how many!) so this thread was very helpful with all the information shared. I ultimately decided reading a 'closest to the original' was my preference so I'm very happy!


message 32: by Cosmic (last edited Jul 03, 2015 01:51AM) (new)

Cosmic Arcata | 135 comments I just downloaded the Arvid Paulson translation that was free on the internet. I listened to the Grossman version but found it a little too wordy. And I wonder about how it is different from this older version. For instance is the word "Saint Bartholomew" or just "Bartholomew" in the kindle version you all have. I don't really have to tell you what that is about but wish you all would look if you have a searchable version.

Grossman i think uses the term "mule driver" but a "carrier" is the term that Paulson uses, which to me means commerce...less emphasis on the animals. Is there another term another translator using for this.

So i may listen to Grossman and read Paulson's version and enjoy comparing them.

Ormsby sounds like a tempting deal as well.

Edit just realized that Paulson is an abridged version. Not bad but may explain why it is not as wordy. LOL


message 33: by Cosmic (new)

Cosmic Arcata | 135 comments Susie wrote: "FYI if you are still deciding...I purchased the Ormsby translation on Kindle today for $1.99 and then was able to add the Audible companion (Roy McMillan, narrator )for just $4.99, so I didn't even..."

After seeing the Guttenberg edition I was reading was an abridged version i went with your suggestion. Thank you!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments I just bought and Ormsby trans with annotations for 99 cents from the kindle store.


message 35: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Well, after all my discussion and seeking out an audio version, I tried a few pages from the Motteux translation on my shelf and liked it, so I'll continue with this. It didn't seem to get much of a mention when looking for which version might be best and I thought I might struggle with the language as it's one of the oldest (1700) but it seemed to flow well enough and I liked the humour too.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments I may go back to AMZN and buy the audio narration.

I listened to audio for past long reads of Les Mis and tCoMC. I think I like listening to these longer books.


message 37: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Me too, I almost always listen to longer books rather than read them nowadays. Especially with Victorian stories that would have been serialised and so they're already nicely broken up into shorter chapters, that I can listen to each day.


message 38: by Myst (new)

Myst | 173 comments Re-downloaded the amazon freebie version I had. Once I get a few other books out of the way I'll see where I am, and if I can finally get through the section I got stuck on.


message 39: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
I am liking my Grossman version and the footnotes have proved excellent so far.


message 40: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 1656 comments I'm reading the Grossman version too, and it makes this very easy to read. And I agree that the footnotes are great.


message 41: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "I am liking my Grossman version and the footnotes have proved excellent so far."

Is this an e-book or dead tree book?


message 42: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
I'm reading the dead tree version. I do think there is an ebook version of this translation though.


message 43: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 1656 comments The Grossman translation is a $1.99 Kindle daily deal today for anyone interested. This is the version I read and it is definitely very readable.


message 44: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Nice! That will make it easier to travel with for the summer


message 45: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 1656 comments Kathy wrote: "Nice! That will make it easier to travel with for the summer"

Yes exactly. That's what I took on my vacation.


message 46: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Laurie wrote: "Kathy wrote: "Nice! That will make it easier to travel with for the summer"

Yes exactly. That's what I took on my vacation."


Thanks, picked it up. Going on my next out of town trip. I'm sure I won't finish before then.


message 47: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I'm rewarded for my laziness and my miserliness!

I was wanting to read the Grossman version but just couldn't justify the cost when there were free versions available. $2 is a great savings.

Now, I just have to sit down and read it!


message 48: by Cosmic (new)

Cosmic Arcata | 135 comments I have been comparing Grossman translation to Ormsby. I find Grossman dry. Don Quixote is really funny but her versions fell flat. So if you had trouble getting through this book the first time I would highly suggest the Ormsby translation.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments I had the Grossman edition.

I wish I had read Ormsby. Maybe the book would have been less tedious.


message 50: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
I actually have both versions -- and finished neither.


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