Quixote: The Novel and the World
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Second Partof Miguel de Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote of La Mancha.With the exception of The Bible,no other book has been translated into English more frequently—a total of twenty-two times. Indeed, accumulatively this is the world’s most popular novel. The Boston Athenæum’s circulating and special collections reflect the cultural significance of Don Quixoteover the last 200 years with scores of related volumes, including Spanish and English editions of the novel, responses and analyses of the great work, and works inspired by Cervantes’ masterpiece.
What makes Don Quixotesuch a success? Why have readers over the centuries found in it a type of humanity seldom encountered elsewhere? Distinguished cultural critic Ilan Stavans brings us back to the way Cervantes conceived the work and the response he has received from the 17th century to the present across languages and geographies.
Ilan Stavans is one of today’s preeminent essayists, cultural critics, and translators. He is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His many books include On Borrowed Words, Spanglish, El Iluminado,andA Most Imperfect Union. He is also the editor of The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda,the 3-volume set of Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories, Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing,and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. His latest titles are Reclaiming Travel (with Joshua Ellison) and Quixote: The Novel and the World.Stavans is the publisher of Restless Books and the co-founder of Great Books Summer Program.