(P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks
I was a little apprehensions about the length of this "book" and due to some of the comments about the narration. After having given it one listen I can attest to the quality of the narration and to the fact that it uses a good translation (Tobias Smollet) which I thoroughly enjoyed especially due to the "Shakespearean" quality of the text. The narration is very well done using different voice characterizations and a variety of British accents to differentiate each character. Very funny. "You are in the right, friend Sancho."
I was a little hesitant to invest 36 hours but am certainly glad that I did. The book is just remarkable. In places (mainly from Sancho) it is laugh out loud funny. Published some 400 years ago it is the most modern of novels, both self referential and in the second part attacking a false sequel.
The narration is excellent with clear, differeing voices for the main characters.
Written in the early 1600s, Miguel Cervantes' novel about the delusional knight's adventures has become a classic staple of historic literature.
Don Quixote is a middle-aged man who, having read too many chivalric novels, actually believes he is a knight and sets out on his adventures. He is aided by his trusted squire, Sancho Panza, to whom Don Quixote has promised an island over which to rule once he completes his adventures and wins over his only love, Dulcinea.
The adventures which follow are exciting and entertaining. Don Quixote charges at windmills, mistaking them to be giants. He mistakes a country wench to be Dulcinea who has been enchanted by an evil magician's spell in order to look like a country wench. In short, he can't distinguish reality from his fantasy.
This novel is long, and unless you're a classic literature buff, you can get away with the abridged version. What makes the book such a classic is the complexity of the characters. Don Quixote isn't insane all the time--there are times when he seems to know more about reality than he lets on. Sancho Panza seems like an idiot for following Don Quixote around, yet Sancho goes back and forth between criticizing his master's idiotic notions and adoring some of them as well.
Moreover, the source of Don Quixote's madness is his obsession with books on chivalry. Yet this book itself is a story about a chivalric knight. By taking this story's message to heart, aren't we committing the same errors as Don Quixote did with his novels?
I liked Robert Whitfield's narration, especially his depiction of Sancho Panza. He made it easy to follow despite a large cast of characters.
To only see Don Quixote de la Mancha as merely a book of humour, simply a manifestation of belly-laughs (which it does provide in abundance), would be seeing just the very fringe of its brilliance. What would be missed? Missing would be Cervantes as one the shrewdest observers of human nature ever.
Don Quixote seems a book running full-tilt at phantoms that have no existence, save in Quixote and even Sancho's imaginations. But the truth is, this book touches at the imaginings, and mines at the characters of us all. Don Quixote opens the window to all experiences, real or imagined, of existence -- our existence. Sancho is the first filter, the first critic of that experience, seventeenth-century Spain the second, and we, dear reader, the third. In this last taking we become the co-dependant Quixote and Sancho looking through the mirror; measuring the world amongst the impractical, the idealistic, the fanciful, and the truest of all illusions -- reality.
Still not said is the Cervantes' plays within plays, adroit social comment, and the author's cutting jibes at pretense. (And of course his broadsides at the pretenders to the True History of Don Quixote.) These departures present themselves carefully -- although sometimes abruptly -- as soliloquies, cutting criticism, contemplative moments, sonorous stories, and even as novels. In this, Cervantes is always intentional in leaving us wedded to the Adventure, while implementing these punctuating asides to incite and motivate our viewpoint.
Perhaps the greatest book ever written.
As to the reader of Don Quixote, Robert Whitfield? I would listen to him read the phonebook. Perfection!
I was amazed at the wonderful, accurate translation into English of this masterwork of Spanish literature, not to mention the excellent reading by Robert Whitfield. An Audible book that is worth keeping for enjoyment during one's whole life.
If you haven’t read/listened to Don Quixote, it is worth the time to do so. Fighting windmills is over and done with right away, leaving a whole lot of adventure (and even more rhetorical digressions) for you to discover. I felt like I was listening to Moby Dick meets the Divine Comedy. I didn't get most of the inside and political jokes, and with an audiobook you don’t have footnotes. But I did the same with Dante, and didn’t really feel cheated. You don’t need to know who someone is, I think, if they are insulted with enough wit. I also learned that “At night all cats are gray.” Words to live by. I think I want to buy a copy in Spanish so I can look at some of Sancho’s quotes. Had Frodo taken Sancho instead of Sam, he’d have been in big big trouble. (Just had to point this out. It kept occurring to me all through the story.) I’m very glad I spent the time to listen to Don Quixote. I would complain about the ending, but considering that the day, age, and powers that were, I’ll leave well enough alone. The narration and accents were wonderful, and really helped keep my attention during some of the digressions.
Don Quioxote is well worth listening to and Robert Whitfield does and excellent job as a narrator. His voices are engaging and the story is told with entertaining inflections that capture the tale and bring it to life. The novel Don Quioxote manages to combine kings, queens, castles and dragons with a sense of morality and civic responsibility in a style not unlike Dickens. Miguel de Cervantes creates characters that embody virtues that challenge some of the accepted concepts of that time, and as an author pontificates a little about his own observations much as Dickens does in some of his own novels. As a side note: There is also an underlying theme of the existance of God and acceptance of Catholicism on the part of all the main characters in the novel.
If there had been a novel written by the same author who wrote the Shakespeare plays this would be it. Above all novels this one stands as a supreme example of human artistic accomplishment. The performance by Robert Whitfield in this recording is very well done. His voice truly becomes the character of Don Quixote as you imagine him on his fantastic adventures, and his rendering of Sancho Panza is hilarious. Highly recommended!
This book is beset with such self-aware witticism that it makes today's comedian/writers look like Sancho Panza. That is, nothing is out of place, every situation serves its purpose, and all of the humor integrates into a single guffaw aimed directly at the heart of existence.
Throw away your face and get ready for a supra-genius.
An excellent narrator and an excellent novel. Contrary to the statement concerning the received opinion about philosophical and literary merits in Wikipedia, the first part is better than the second, unless you really really like the idea of jokes being played on Don Quixote at his expense. I find audio books an excellent way of finishing really long books that I have never managed to read to completion on the printed page. Cervantes makes Don Quixote pay for his misguided love of chivalric tales with more beatings than the human body could realistically stand. This sadism is presumably the result of Cervantes' feelings regarding this literary genre. But ironically, in the novel nearly everyone else gets caught up in Don Quixotes' madness, and the common Romantic reading of the book is to find Don Quixotes' behavior admirable. The book is heralded as a eulogy to chivalry and Quixotic enterprises when the intent was to ridicule and quash. One can admire doomed enterprises for a worthy cause - but Quixotes' undertakings are all misguided and/or cause more harm than good. It's a pity another emblem for such things cannot be found.
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