“I know who I am and who I may be, if I choose": Deluxe illustrated Ibarra Edition of Don Quixote
El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha: Nueva Edicion, Corregida Por La Real Academia Española.
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de .$22,000.00
Item Number: 97654
Madrid: Don Joaquin Ibarra, 1780.
The deluxe illustrated Ibarra edition of Cervantes’ masterpiece. Quartos, 4 volumes. Bound in full 19th century green morocco with central motif and cornerpieces stamped in blind to the panels, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, elaborate double-ruled gilt borders, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt, engraved frontispiece to each volume and 31 engraved plates throughout, 2-page folding engraved map of Don Quixote‘s travels to the rear of volume 1. Spanish printer Joaquín Ibarra made several important technical developments in press printing, book-making, typography and paper-making. In his printed work, Ibarra sought to achieve a perfect flow of harmonious type, inks, illustration, margins, and textures. He worked with the best painters and engravers of his time and, based on a secret formula he developed, the Ibarra ink gained a reputation for its exceptional quality and brilliance. The present volume was printed on “ex profeso” paper with melted types of “ex novo” on the pages, both of which Ibarra created in his Madrid workshop specifically for this project. In near fine condition. A superior example of Ibarra’s best-known work.
Don Quixote tells the tale of a man so entranced by reading about the chivalrous romantic ideals touted in books that he decides to take up his sword and become a knight-errant himself, with the aims of defending the helpless and warding off the wicked. With his somewhat confused laborer-turned-squire, Sancho Panza, they roam the world together and have adventures that have haunted reader's imaginations for nearly four hundred years. Don Quixote is generally recognized as the first modern novel. Over those years, it has had an incredible influence on thousands of writers, from Dickens to Faulkner, who once said he reread it once a year, "just as some people read the Bible". Vladimir Nabokov is quoted as saying, "Don Quixote is greater today than he was in Cervantes's womb. [He] looms so wonderfully above the skyline of literature, a gaunt giant on a lean nag, that the book lives and will live through [his] sheer vitality... He stands for everything that is gentle, forlorn, pure, unselfish, and gallant. The parody has become a paragon." Printed for La Real Academia Española (the Spanish Royal Academy) by Joaquín Ibarra y Marín, this edition was intended to be a supreme example of Spanish craftsmanship lavished on the nation's greatest literary work. This edition excels in beauty of type, design, paper, illustration and printing, as well as incorporating a carefully edited and corrected text. The illustrations and delightful ornaments were designed by the best Spanish artists of the day, the paper was milled expressly for this edition, and the type was specially cut. It contains the first map depicting the route taken by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza through Spain. The edition's fame among bibliophiles was thoroughly established throughout Europe within a very few years. The English bibliomane William Davis wrote in 1821 that "the celebrated Ibarra edition is so well known, that I need only refer to M. Paris's sale, 1791, where a copy sold for £16, 16 shillings, and Col. Stanley's, where a copy sold for £17, 6 shillings, 6 pence" (A Journey Round the Library of a Bibliomaniac).