Don Quixote of La Mancha has been called the most popular book in history after the Bible and the first modern novel. One might even say that this tragi-comic work is far more than a novel: It is a manual for life, with lessons on how to love, dream, age, and be a friend. It encourages engagement with the essential questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my responsibility toward others? What is the meaning of being mortal? Furthermore, it is a book about books, about the act—and art—of reading, and about the imagination as the engine that makes us move.
In an unnamed village in La Mancha, Spain, a nobleman named Alonso Quijano, after becoming completely consumed by the countless novels on chivalry he reads, reimagines himself as the valiant Don Quixote, and the knight and his loyal squire, Sancho Panza, set off on a series of misadventures, battling fictitious enemies for the sake of gallantry.
In the words of scholar Ilan Stavans, Don Quixote is fluid, inexhaustible, and magical. For the four-hundredth anniversary of its publication and its author’s death, Restless Books releases a beautiful new edition of this timeless work with a brand-new introduction from Stavans, astounding original illustrations by the artist Eko, and wealth of linked multimedia material to help introduce you to the classic’s inner workings.
About the Authors
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain's greatest literary figure, was born in Alcalá de Henares, a small town near Madrid, on October 9, 1547. He served as a soldier in the Spanish army, fighting in the Battle of Lepanto, where he received serious wounds and lost the use of his left hand. He was captured by Barbary pirates on a return journey to Spain from Italy in 1575 and spent five years imprisoned in Algiers. After his release, he worked as a government official and wrote plays, poetry, and fiction. The first part of Don Quixote of La Mancha was published in 1605, to immediate success, and the second part in 1615. He died in Madrid on April 23, 1616.
Ilan Stavans is the publisher of Restless Books and Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include, most recently, Reclaiming Travel (Duke, co-written with Joshua Ellison) and Quixote: The Novel and the World (Norton).
About the Translator
British translator John Ormsby (1829-1895) was most famous for his 1885 translation of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha, perhaps the most thorough and accurate English translation of the novel up to that time. His translation went through more editions than any other nineteenth-century version of the novel and was the first English version of the book to appear complete on the Internet. In his introduction, Ormsby scrutinized every previous major English version of Don Quixote and offered a controversial analysis of the work, critiquing Cervantes’s writing style and refuting the commonly held view that Don Quixote is an innately noble character.
About the Artist
Born in Mexico in 1958, Eko is a cartoonist, engraver, and painter. His wood etchings, often erotic in nature and the focus of controversial discussion, are part of a broader tradition in Mexican folk art popularized by José Guadalupe Posada. He has collaborated on projects for The New York Times, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and the Spanish daily El País, in addition to having published numerous books in Mexico and Spain.