Monday, June 22, 2009

The Battle With the Windmills...

After Sparks wrote about the books that have defeated him, we discussed a few of them & how sometimes it is almost embarrassing to admit out loud that you can’t finish a classic work of literature.
There are of course many classics out there that I have not read. I try to read as much as possible but it not easy to get around to everything. The one that came to mind first was Don Quixote. Though I am an avid reader & would like to consider myself a fairly intelligent reader when it comes to processing or discussing literature, this masterpiece has eluded me.
As far as Don Quixote is concerned I first tried to read it right after I read Moby-Dick. I thought following one epic sea tale with an epic Spanish novel about a delusional conquistador was going to be amazing…& it was at first. I made it probably about 200 pages before putting down the Cervantes & settling back into Melville with his short stories.
My next attempt was when I was in college & thought that perhaps Don Quixote had not been right because of my quick love for Melville & therefore had suffered for not being one of Melville’s books. Still I only managed to get about 300 pages in.
To make this story a little shorter I will say that I have tried at least four different translations, that anytime I see a copy I have a strong urge to buy it & read it.
The farthest I have read is about 400 pages in the Edith Grossman translation. I’m not completely sure what it is that makes this book so hard for me to read. It is not as difficult as many books that I have read, it is not the size, I’ve read plenty of Tolstoy & Dostoevsky, I just can’t seem to find my way to the end…

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