Review of Cervantes' Don Quixote
How important a consideration it may or may not be, clearly Cervantes never attempted to reconcile the contradictions that one finds in Don Quixote. The lack of consistent intentions - a characteristic found in much of Shakespeare - is troublesome in a long prose work. On the stage, effect succeeds effect, and the audience has no time to impose critical strictures; but a book is necessarily an invitation for reflection, and a lack of unified effect can be serious. Much of Don Quixote is lost in the shadow of Cervantes’ confused intentions. What stands out vibrantly are the gestures of magnificent foolishness, the warm regard that the Don has for Sancho, and the strong - if unstressed - conviction that nothing in the real world of so-called sanity has the grandeur of Don Quixote’s delusions. Although these estimable virtues are both abundant and laudable, it is doubtful if they can entirely offset the defects of the book, or provide as fully rewarding a reading experience as reading, for example, Homer or Shakespeare. But the reader must read Don Quixote once, and Edith Grossman’s translation provides an outstanding version.
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