The History of Don-Quixote. The First Parte. The Second Part of the History of the Valorous and Witty Knight-Errant, Don Quixote of the Mancha. Written in Spanish by Michael Cervantes: and now translated into English.

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness": Rare first complete English edition of Cervantes' masterpiece Don Quixote

The History of Don-Quixote. The First Parte. The Second Part of the History of the Valorous and Witty Knight-Errant, Don Quixote of the Mancha. Written in Spanish by Michael Cervantes: and now translated into English.

CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de.

$75,000.00

Item Number: 117895

London: Edward Blount, 1620.

Exceedingly rare first complete edition in English of Cervantes’ masterpiece comprising the second edition of the first part and the first edition of the second part. Small octavo, 2 volumes bound in full calf with red morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, gilt turn-ins, frontispiece portrait of the author to Vol. I, engraved headpieces, tailpieces and initials. Translated from the original Spanish by Thomas Shelton, his first English translation published in 1612 was the first translation in any language, and took him only forty days to complete. The true first edition of Don Quixote was published in Madrid by Francisco de Robles in two parts in 1605 and 1614. The first part of Shelton’s first English version was published in 1612 with the second part added in 1620, both published in quarto. The present edition is the first complete edition published in the English language with both the first and second parts published and sold simultaneously. Volume one is a second edition with the text block trimmed as usual, in very good condition. Volume two is a first edition, lacking the engraved title as with many copies, and believed to be indicative of an earlier state. “Duff suggested that the reason this plate is lacking in so many copies of the second part is because it was not prepared until after a good many copies had been sold without it” (Pforzheimer 140; Grolier Langland to Wither 213) Early ownership signature, most likely Herbert Lunsford located at the head of the errata sheet. Sir Herbert Lunsford (c. 1610-1664) was a military figure and brother to Thomas Lunsford, who is reputed to have been a ruthless pirate and fearless adventurer. There are some who believe that these brothers, along with their brother Henry, served as the models for the Three Musketeers. Catalog entry, handwritten note, and newspaper clipping containing bibliographical information affixed to verso of front board. An exceptional example of this rarity, very rare to find complete.

Often cited as the first modern novel, Cervantes' masterpiece Don Quixote remains not only the most influential work of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age, but the most important work of the entire Spanish literary canon. The Shelton translation is generally considered the English translation that "realizes Cervantes' manner more nearly than any successor." (DNB). “It is interesting to realize that the first modern novel was composed by a sick, aged and impoverished man, who believed that a satirical tale might produce more revenue than the poems and plays that he regarded as his more serious mission. Under the guise of a parody on romances of chivalry, Cervantes created a study of reality and illusion, madness and sanity, that links him with such acute 16th-century students of psychology as Erasmus, Rabelais, Montaigne, and Shakespeare” (Folger’s Choice 30).

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