Thursday, March 16, 2017

Still fresh after all these years …

… Miguel de Cervantes & the Invention of Fiction: William Egginton Book Review | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Like many innovators, Cervantes threw everything on the wall to see what stuck. Don Quixote features several interpolated stories, and a shift of narrator when we are suddenly told that a new chronicler, a Spanish Arab historian, has taken up the tale. Don’t make mountains of these (sometimes delightful) molehills. The engines of Don Quixote are its two main characters, and their interaction. They talk to, at, and past each other, like an old couple, which, as the days and pages pass, they become. Their pratfalls take them on a tour of Spain, and of their views of the world: the knight, brave, besotted, generous, paranoid; the squire, shrugging, accepting. Egginton gives us frequent helpings of their own words, mostly from Edith Grossman’s 2003 translation; we could listen all day.

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