"Battestin’s handsome edition for the University of Georgia Press Works of Tobias Smollett, supported by O. M. Brack’s meticulous squiring of the text, restores the book to its proper state, along with its magnificent series of illustrations by Francis Hayman. The Smollett Quixote finally sallies forth as the essential translation for readers of Cervantes who are interested in his profound influence on eighteenth-century British culture, or on the development of the novel as a modern literary genre. . . . Smollett transforms the prose of his template into something mucky, rumbustious and deliciously readable. . . . Smollett’s notes on the faithfulness of Cervantes to ‘the memory of the real substantial chivalry’ also anticipate a later romantic tradition of Quixotism, and confirm that his translation represents the closest engagement of any writer with a book that gave form and spirit to the British comic novel."
—Times Literary Suppplement
Smollett's Don Quixote first appeared in 1755 and was for many years the most popular English-language version of Cervantes's masterpiece. However, soon after the start of the nineteenth century, its reputation began to suffer. Rival translators, literary hucksters, and careless scholars initiated or fed a variety of charges against Smollett--even plagiarism. For almost 130 years no publisher risked reprinting it.
Redemption began in 1986, when the distinguished Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, in his foreword to a new (albeit flawed) edition of Smollett's translation, declared it to be "the authentic vernacular version" of Don Quixote in English. Fuentes's opinion was in accord with that of the preeminent Cervantist, Francisco Rodríguez Marín, who decades earlier had declared Smollett's Don Quixote to be his preferred English version.
Martin C. Battestin's introduction discusses the composition, publication, and controversial reception of Smollett's Don Quixote. Battestin's notes identify Smollett's sources in his "Life of Cervantes" and in his commentary, provide cross-references to his other works, and illustrate Smollett's originality or dependence on previous translations. Also included is a complete textual apparatus, a glossary of unfamiliar terms, and an appendix comparing a selection of Francis Hayman's original illustrations with the engraved renderings used in the book.
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List price: $69.95
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