After reading a little more in A Well-Educate Mind, I’ve decided to start my epic canonical quest with the book that arguably started the whole novel form itself way before anyone else: Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. I’m reading the author’s preface now while I wait for some documents to compile on our development server and two things struck me right away:
- I love the linguistic richness of the translation into 18th Century English
- I need to learn Latin tout de suite! It’s everywhere in this chapter (and in life).
I’ve decided to read it through first on my Android tablet as an ebook in English. I think that will be the best way to learn the facts of the lengthy story (evidently Cervantes hadn’t heard about “brevity being the soul of wit”) before reading it in my nicely bound hardcover edition of the original Spanish. I wonder what Cervantes would say if he knew his classic was freely available online (God bless you, Project Gutenberg) and could be ready on any of myriad softly glowing electronic screens. As the poor guy seems like he’s struggling just to write the preface (or so he portrays through his narration), I think ebooks might just blow his mind.
The preface seems to be about Cervantes doubting himself for not being erudite enough, not having enough sonnets by aristocrats or other great people, to support his book and his friend saying something like, “Just throw in some Latin verses and steal someone else’s quotes to give your book the appearance of authority and erudition you want. Hell, it probably doesn’t really need those things though; it’s something new that destroys the old so it needn’t impersonate it!”