Don Quixote

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a black-leather-bound vellum book
The writing is in Sperethiel, and reads:
   Don Quixote
This thick vellum book's pages are gold-edged, and fine black leather cover bears a title etched in gold leaf.
It is closed.  It is closed.  You estimate its value at about three hundred eighty gold.  
It looks about a quarter of a dimin long, one and seventeen twentieths dimins wide, and two and nine twentieths
dimins tall.  It weighs about one hundred eighty-three two-hundredths of a dekan.
The commands 'open <item>', 'close <item>', and 'turn page [in <item>] [to <number>]' may be used with it.
Keeping the black-leather-bound vellum book costs nine keep points.  The black-leather-bound vellum book was
created by Lost Souls; the source code was last updated Tue Mar 15 02:15:36 2016.  The material leather was
created by Lost Souls; the source code was last updated Tue Mar 15 02:18:23 2016.  The material vellum was
created by Lost Souls; the source code was last updated Tue Mar 15 02:18:27 2016.
Spoiler warning: information below includes details, such as solutions to puzzles or quest procedures, that you may prefer to discover on your own.


                                 DON QUIXOTE
                            by Miguel de Cervantes
                          Translated by John Ormsby
  IT WAS with considerable reluctance that I abandoned in favour of
the present undertaking what had long been a favourite project: that
of a new edition of Shelton's "Don Quixote," which has now become a
somewhat scarce book. There are some- and I confess myself to be
one- for whom Shelton's racy old version, with all its defects, has
a charm that no modern translation, however skilful or correct,
could possess. Shelton had the inestimable advantage of belonging to
the same generation as Cervantes; "Don Quixote" had to him a
vitality that only a contemporary could feel; it cost him no
dramatic effort to see things as Cervantes saw them; there is no
anachronism in his language; he put the Spanish of Cervantes into
the English of Shakespeare. Shakespeare himself most likely knew the
book; he may have carried it home with him in his saddle-bags to
Stratford on one of his last journeys, and under the mulberry tree
at New Place joined hands with a kindred genius in its pages.
  But it was soon made plain to me that to hope for even a moderate
popularity for Shelton was vain. His fine old crusted English would,
no doubt, be relished by a minority, but it would be only by a
minority. His warmest admirers must admit that he is not a
satisfactory representative of Cervantes. His translation of the First
Part was very hastily made and was never revised by him. It has all
the freshness and vigour, but also a full measure of the faults, of
a hasty production. It is often very literal- barbarously literal
frequently- but just as often very loose. He had evidently a good
colloquial knowledge of Spanish, but apparently not much more. It
never seems to occur to him that the same translation of a word will
not suit in every case.
  It is often said that we have no satisfactory translation of "Don
Quixote." To those who are familiar with the original, it savours of
truism or platitude to say so, for in truth there can be no thoroughly
satisfactory translation of "Don Quixote" into English or any other
language. It is not that the Spanish idioms are so utterly
unmanageable, or that the untranslatable words, numerous enough no
doubt, are so superabundant, but rather that the sententious terseness
to which the humour of the book owes its flavour is peculiar to
Spanish, and can at best be only distantly imitated in any other
  The history of our English translations of "Don Quixote" is
instructive. Shelton's, the first in any language, was made,
apparently, about 1608, but not published till 1612. This of course
was only the First Part. It has been asserted that the Second,
published in 1620, is not the work of Shelton, but there is nothing to
support the assertion save the fact that it has less spirit, less of
what we generally understand by "go," about it than the first, which
would be only natural if the first were the work of a young man
writing currente calamo, and the second that of a middle-aged man
writing for a bookseller. On the other hand, it is closer and more
literal, the style is the same, the very same translations, or
mistranslations, occur in it, and it is extremely unlikely that a
new translator would, by suppressing his name, have allowed Shelton to
carry off the credit.
  In 1687 John Phillips, Milton's nephew, produced a "Don Quixote"
"made English," he says, "according to the humour of our modern
language." His "Quixote" is not so much a translation as a travesty,
and a travesty that for coarseness, vulgarity, and buffoonery is
almost unexampled even in the literature of that day.
  Ned Ward's "Life and Notable Adventures of Don Quixote, merrily
translated into Hudibrastic Verse" (1700), can scarcely be reckoned
a translation, but it serves to show the light in which "Don
Quixote" was regarded at the time.
  A further illustration may be found in the version published in 1712
by Peter Motteux, who had then recently combined tea-dealing with
literature. It is described as "translated from the original by
several hands," but if so all Spanish flavour has entirely
evaporated under the manipulation of the several hands. The flavour
that it has, on the other hand, is distinctly Franco-cockney. Anyone
who compares it carefully with the original will have little doubt
that it is a concoction from Shelton and the French of Filleau de
Saint Martin, eked out by borrowings from Phillips, whose mode of
treatment it adopts. It is, to be sure, more decent and decorous,
but it treats "Don Quixote" in the same fashion as a comic book that
cannot be made too comic.
  To attempt to improve the humour of "Don Quixote" by an infusion
of cockney flippancy and facetiousness, as Motteux's operators did, is
not merely an impertinence like larding a sirloin of prize beef, but
an absolute falsification of the spirit of the book, and it is a proof
of the uncritical way in which "Don Quixote" is generally read that
this worse than worthless translation -worthless as failing to
represent, worse than worthless as misrepresenting- should have been
favoured as it has been.
  It had the effect, however, of bringing out a translation undertaken
and executed in a very different spirit, that of Charles Jervas, the
portrait painter, and friend of Pope, Swift, Arbuthnot, and Gay.
Jervas has been allowed little credit for his work, indeed it may be
said none, for it is known to the world in general as Jarvis's. It was
not published until after his death, and the printers gave the name
according to the current pronunciation of the day. It has been the
most freely used and the most freely abused of all the translations.
It has seen far more editions than any other, it is admitted on all
hands to be by far the most faithful, and yet nobody seems to have a
good word to say for it or for its author. Jervas no doubt
prejudiced readers against himself in his preface, where among many
true words about Shelton, Stevens, and Motteux, he rashly and unjustly
charges Shelton with having translated not from the Spanish, but
from the Italian version of Franciosini, which did not appear until
ten years after Shelton's first volume. A suspicion of incompetence,
too, seems to have attached to him because he was by profession a
painter and a mediocre one (though he has given us the best portrait
we have of Swift), and this may have been strengthened by Pope's
remark that he "translated 'Don Quixote' without understanding
Spanish." He has been also charged with borrowing from Shelton, whom
he disparaged. It is true that in a few difficult or obscure
Total Pages 1664.

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