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Don Quixote: Judge a Book By Its Cover: 02/07/09
Whenever I log my latest review at GoodReads where I'm tracking all of my reviews of Don Quixote de la Mancha I see a different cover. A book that's been in print now for almost 400 years must have had hundreds of covers. I'm listing a few of the ones I found with a Google image search. I took the ones from the first two pages of search results but I could have gone one longer getting more.
The Spanish language editions typically seem to be just the title, author and publisher information. I also have a copy from the Everyman library that also is just a title and author. These seem to be the ones that treat the book as an academic work. They typically don't have illustrations either and a very tiny typeface brining the massive book in around 300 pages.
Here are my examples:
Then there are the windmill covers. Sure, the first book, originally published in 1605 is the best known. Everyone who knows anything about Don Quixote will have heard about the "tilting at windmills." The ones that feature the windmills on the cover make me think they're abridged editions (and sometimes they are).
Most covers that feature an illustration focus on the journey of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Don Quixote should be in battered armor (with a pasteboard helmet) and astride an ancient horse. Like his steed, he's old and skinny and has bad teeth. Sancho Panza ("sacred belly") should be short and round and possibly riding a donkey. Extra points to the illustrators who have read far enough to put Sancho atop a wooden horse or just walking beside Don Quixote and Rocinante.
Some books just focus on Don Quixote. Yes, the book is named for him but he isn't the one having all of the adventures. He mostly listens to the adventures of people who are young enough to having them. When he's not listening, he's dreaming up his own adventures. The rest of the time he's getting himself in trouble with his antics or he's falling prey to the charlatans who want to take advantage of his muddled state of mind.
Then there are the ones that break with traditional themes.
So which one is my favorite? Why my own copy of course. I've been showing it next to most of the reviews I've written. It was published in either the late 1780s or early 1800s. It shows Don Quixote and Sancho Panza together. Sancho is on a wooden horse and Quixote is leaning on his lance, exhausted from the journey. I think of all the covers I've seen it captures the tone of the book best.
Later today I'll be posting my next Don Quixote review for pages 550-600 (chapters 36-46 of the final section). After tonight's post, I'll have two more posts and then I'm done! Tonight's post will be focusing on "Try to Remember", the 15 episode of season two of Magnum PI. I'll be drawing comparisons between the relationship between Magnum and Higgins and the role of memory.
sherry (nite swimming)
I enjoyed your post very much. Thanks!
Comment #2: Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 13:53:00
I enjoyed yours too.
Comment #3: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 16:21:25
I have never actually finished reading this book. I must revisit this one - soon.
Comment #4: Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 13:56:52
Good luck with your second go with it. Take it slowly and don't take it too seriously.
Comment #5: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 16:21:27
I am reading Don Quixote right now. It's funny how different covers can bring different reactions. Some really capture the humor and adventure of it...and others just look boring...in my humble opinion. And while the book does have its dry spots, there is plenty of humor!!!
Comment #6: Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 13:58:12
Comment #7: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 16:45:34
Thanks for the link love! :)
I love your copy, too.. it's so authentic. It must be very hard to find now. Looking forward to your review as I plan to read it this year, too.
Comment #8: Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 14:05:43
It took me an entire summer of saving up baby sitting money to buy the book when I was a kid. I think with the internet and so many used book sellers being online it would actually be easier now to find it than when I did as a kid.
You can read my previous installments on the book here:
Comment #9: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 18:18:09
Great post and what a selection of covers. There is something about the old books and there covers, isn't there? I do like your edition. I also like the rough pen sketch you posted as your fourth cover.
Comment #10: Saturday, February 7, 200 at 16:28:30
I'm a sucker for an old book or a nicely bound modern hardcover. I like the pen sketch too but it only captures a small portion of the book. It doesn't really add to the experience beyond what you probably already know before you start.
Comment #11: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 18:20:35
I love the very very old one with the black cover. These posts on covers is really making me realize how fun it would be to collect old old books!
Comment #12: Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 16:30:53
I certainly enjoy my odd assortment of old books but they require extra space and special care. Plus they're heavy when it comes time to move!
Comment #13: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 18:53:13
some of the older ones are exquisite aren't they? I love the last one
Comment #14: Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 16:37:31
That last one in the list is the one I own. Part of the joy of reading the novel is the experience of reading such an old and beautifully made copy. I have to stop and admire each illustration as I read which is another reason why I'm taking the novel so slowly.
Comment #15: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 19:02:05
I like the last one, your favorite! It's very colorful and grabs my attention. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great evening!!
Comment #16: Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 16:42:50
It certainly is a colorful green.
Comment #17: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 20:47:54
Wow, what gorgeous covers for this book. I like the really colorful ones the best :)
Comment #18: Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 09:38:45
Thanks for stopping by.
Comment #19: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 20:58:20
I really like the Signet Classics cover that looks like a sketch. Its so different from the rest
Comment #20: Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 09:41:02
I like it too (another commenter pointed out that it's by Picasso -- something I'd completely forgotten) but I don't think it captures the essence of the entire novel.
Comment #21: Saturday, February, 7, 2009 at 21:05:39
You chose a great book. I love many of the covers!
Comment #22: Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 09:43:33
I think I only scratched the surface of book covers for this novel.
Comment #23: Sunday, February, 8, 2009 at 02:12:35
I have the one with the yellow cover. They are all interesting though. An early congratulations on finishing the book. I made it 3/4 of the way through and quit. Probably should finish it huh.
Mine is finally up now.
Comment #24: Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 09:45:53
You got so close to finishing!
Comment #25: Sunday, February, 8, 2009 at 06:50:24
Some of those are really great! I like the last one too. I also really like the fifth one on the right.
I'd like to read this someday. I'll keep your advice about taking it slowly and not too seriously in mind.
Comment #26: Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 10:09:42
Enjoy the book.
Comment #27: Sunday, February, 8, 2009 at 07:26:39
I like the Penguin Classics cover. And your own copy, of course.
Comment #28: Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 10:10:33
The Penguin cover is an interesting departure from the typical ones.
Comment #29: Sunday, February, 8, 2009 at 08:24:21
These covers are wonderful! My favorite is the one on the right in the second row because they used Picasso's Don Quixote!
Comment #30: Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 10:12:12
I should have remembered it was Picasso's.
Comment #31: Monday, February, 9, 2009 at 12:56:26
I loved this post - the variety of covers really show differing understandings of the book.
Comment #32: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 12:13:02
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Comment #33: Tuesday, February, 10, 2009 at 00:30:21
I like the second to the last one.
Comment #34: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 12:16:12
I like that one too. They're all nice in their own special ways.
Comment #35: Tuesday, February, 10, 2009 at 08:12:02
I have the 4th one! I think it's also my favorite!
Comment #36: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 12:24:20
That cover seems to be a popular choice among the commenters. You're in good company.
Comment #37: Tuesday, February, 10, 2009 at 18:13:48
I like the one that sort of looks like a doodle.
Comment #38: Thursday, February 10, 2009 at 20:44:24
That Picasso cover is a popular choice.
Comment #39: Wednesday, February, 11, 2009 at 07:48:55
Wow! That's an old book!
I think I like the Penguin cover. I have the Wordsworth one. I still haven't read this yet.
Comment #40: Thursday, February 10, 2009 at 20:47:55
It's showing its age too. I will probably have to invest in some professional book repair before I want to read it a third time.
Comment #41: Wednesday, February, 11, 2009 at 08:49:03
There are so many covers that I haven't seen before! Great post :)
Comment #42: Thursday, February 10, 2009 at 20:49:30
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.