Cervantes' tale of the deranged gentleman who turns knight-errant, tilts at windmills and battles with sheep in the service of the lady of his dreams, Dulcinea del Toboso, has fascinated generations of readers, and inspired other creative artists such as Flaubert, Picasso and Richard Strauss. The tall, thin knight and his short, fat squire, Sancho Panza, have found their way into films, cartoons and even computer games. Supposedly intended as a parody of the most popular escapist fiction of the day, the 'books of chivalry', this precursor of the modern novel broadened and deepened into a sophisticated, comic account of the contradictions of human nature. Cervantes' greatest work can be enjoyed on many levels, all suffused with a subtle irony that reaches out to encompass the reader.
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Widely regarded as the world's first modern novel, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote de la Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they wend their way across sixteenth-century Spain. Milan Kundera calls Cervantes "the founder of the Modern Era and Lionel Trilling "observes that it can be said that all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote."
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition reproduces the acclaimed Tobias Smollett translation; as Salman Rushdie declares, "To my mind, this is the only English rendering of the Quixote that reads like a great novel, a novel of immense daring, much wildness and many colours. It releases Don Quixote from the grey academic prison of many more recent translations, unleashing him upon the English language in all his brilliant, foolish glory." This edition also contains new endnotes.
"Cervantes's masterpiece is lucky to have found so perfect a translator as the flamboyant Smollett. The rambunctious personalities of author and translator are ideally matched."
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