This adapted version of Cervantes' classic Don Quixote was rewritten to make it accessible to grammar school children. The tone and humor of the original is well preserved. Cervantes' original is famous for its portrayal of quirky characters, and Baldwin's book does an excellent job of faithfully representing these fascinating townsfellows.
CERVANTES, WHO FIRST TOLD THE STORY OF "DON QUIXOTE."
The romance entitled "The Achievements of the Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote de la Mancha," was originally written in Spanish by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. It was published in two parts, the first in 1605 and the second in 1615—now just about three hundred years ago. Among the great books of the world it holds a permanent place. It has been translated into every language of Europe, even Turkish and Slavonic. It has been published in numberless editions. It has been read and enjoyed by men of the most diverse tastes and conditions.
The story is so simple that every one can understand it, and yet it has in it so much wisdom that the wisest may derive pleasure from it. It touches the sense of humor in every heart. It moves to pity rather than ridicule, and to tears as well as laughter. And herein lies its chief claim to greatness, that it seems to have been written not for one country nor for one age alone, but to give delight to all mankind. "It is our joyfullest modern book."
In its original form, however, it is a bulky work, dismaying the present-day reader by its vastness. For it fills more than a thousand closely printed pages, and the story itself is interrupted and encumbered by episodes and tedious passages which are no longer interesting and which we have no time to read. The person who would get at the kernel of this famous book and know something of its plan and its literary worth, must either struggle through many pages of tiresome details and unnecessary digressions, or he must resort to much ingenious skipping. In these days of many books and hasty reading, it is scarcely possible that any person should read the whole of Don Quixote in its original form. And yet no scholar can afford to be ignorant of a work so famous and so enjoyable.
These considerations have led to the preparation of the present small volume. It is not so much an abridgment of the great book by Cervantes as it is a rewriting of some of its most interesting parts. While very much of the work has necessarily been omitted, the various adventures are so related as to form a continuous narrative; and in every way an effort is made to give a clear idea of the manner and content of the original. Although Cervantes certainly had no thought of writing a story for children, there are many passages in Don Quixote which appeal particularly to young readers; and it is hoped that this adaptation of such passages will serve a useful purpose in awakening a desire to become further acquainted with that great world's classic.