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Don Quixote - Migeul de Cervantes

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by Miguel de Cervantes
Translated by John Ormsby



It was with considerable reluctance that I abandoned in favour of
the present undertaking what had long been a favourite project: that
of a new edition of Shelton's "Don Quixote," which has now become a
somewhat scarce book. There are some- and I confess myself to be
one- for whom Shelton's racy old version, with all its defects, has
a charm that no modern translation, however skilful or correct,
could possess. Shelton had the inestimable advantage of belonging to
the same generation as Cervantes; "Don Quixote" had to him a
vitality that only a contemporary could feel; it cost him no
dramatic effort to see things as Cervantes saw them; there is no
anachronism in his language; he put the Spanish of Cervantes into
the English of Shakespeare. Shakespeare himself most likely knew the
book; he may have carried it home with him in his saddle-bags to
Stratford on one of his last journeys, and under the mulberry tree
at New Place joined hands with a kindred genius in its pages.

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