Core Curriculum : Literature Humanities

Cervantes > First English translation of Don Quixote

History of Don Quichote

Michael de Cervantes. The History of Don Quichote

London: Blounte and Jaggard, 1612

Columbia RBML STC 4916

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The frontispiece of this edition (the second) of the first English translation of Part One of Miguel de Cervantes’ El Ingenioso Don Quixote de la Mancha includes an engraving of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza considered the first representation of the journeying pair. The Madrid-based publisher Juan de la Cuesta published the first part of Don Quixote in 1605, followed by the second in 1615; neither volume included an image of its protagonists. Shelton’s translations quickly followed the availability of Cervantes’ Spanish original, though they were translated from a Belgian reprint. The printing firm of Blounte and Jaggard, who printed this translation, also published Shakespeare’s First Folio in 1623.

We know that Thomas Shelton is responsible for this translation of Cervantes' grand narrative, though his name does not appear anywhere on the first edition of the translation of Part One issued by Blounte in 1612. In the prefatory address to his patron, Lord Howard de Walden, in the second edition, Shelton remarks that he completed the translation of Part One in forty days at the request of a friend who could not read Spanish.


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