Mason Celebrates 400th Anniversary of ‘Don Quixote’

Posted: November 18, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Title page of first edition of Don Quixote
The title page of the first edition of “Don Quixote”
Source: Wikipedia

In 1605, one of the most influential works of fiction ever written, the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, was published in Spain. Since its publication, Cervantes’ masterpiece has been the most translated book after the Bible.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of its printing, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages is planning a three-event celebration, including a guitar concert, a lecture and conversation with the English Department’s own specialist on Cervantes and a lecture from one of today’s leading translators of Spanish literature. All events will be held at the Fairfax Campus.

Acclaimed master guitarist Francesc de Paula Soler will perform “Music in the Times of Cervantes and Beyond” on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema. Soler, who is currently on his 10th U.S. tour, was a master guitarist at the Conservatory of Music of Barcelona until 1998 when he retired in order to devote himself completely to performing.

Antonio Carreño, George Mason assistant professor of medieval literature, will lecture on “Cervantean Elements in American Pop Culture” at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, in Student Union Building II, Rooms 5, 6 and 7. Carreño is currently working on a project that encompasses the relationship between “Don Quixote” and American popular media.

To round off the celebration, Edith Grossman, a leading translator of Spanish and Latin American poetry and fiction, will talk on the joys and sorrows of translating Cervantes’ masterpiece and read passages from the novel. This event takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema.

Grossman has translated authors such as García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes and Ariel Dorfman, and was the person chosen for the translation of the fourth centenary version of “Don Quixote,” published in 2003 by Ecco/Harper Collins of New York.

All three events are free and open to the public.

“This is a program that celebrates reading and the imagination as a way of transforming living and life,” says Rei Berroa, associate professor of Spanish and event organizer. “It offers the university community the opportunity to hear one of the great translators of our time, a musician of great breath and accomplishment and an emerging voice in the studies of literature and culture. With all this, we want to take part in the tribute to one of the most important writers in the history of world literature.”

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