Don Quichote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra;- Translated by Thomas Shelton.
One of the most important books to come onto the open market..The First English Translation of Don Quichote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. A very rare book, no other original copy of revised 1612 (1620) & 1620 in English to be found anywhere on the world-wide web..
Two Volumes in one of the Original 1st. Edition of The History of Don Quichote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra;- Translated by Thomas Shelton. 1612 & 1620
This 2 volume book in one was published in 1620 with a dedication addressed by the publisher to George Villiers, then Marquis of Buckingham. No mention of Thomas Shelton's name is made in any part of the volumes, but internal evidence places it to the credit of the translator of the first part-Thomas Shelton.
When the 2nd. Volume was published in 1620—a new edition of the 1st. Edition, a revised edition was also published by Edward Blount, the London publisher. The 2 Volumes were often bound together in one edition. The difference between the 1st. Edition of 1612 and the revised Edition of 1620 is this-
The Original 1st. Edition of 1612- had only 549 pages of text, in a single book. —-Plus each page of the 1st. Edition of 1612 was enclosed in black lines boxes, which are absent from the 2nd Edition of 1620, the revised edition of 1612.
The 2nd Edition of 1620 of the revised 1st. Edition of 1612 now has more pages, 572- and the text is not enclosed in black lines boxes as was the 1st Edition of 1612. The 2nd revised Edition of 1620 in addition to the 572 pages, also has 4 extra pages of Sonnets not numbered and ended with Finis.
I believe that Volume 1- is missing only its Title- Page and the first page of ‘The Reader’ - Other then that its all there. Including the original 17th century dark brown binding covers, with a replaced lighter brown leather spine strip, with later end papers added. On opening the 2 volume book- The 1st. Page is not very good, it’s creased, with nicks and tears, some loss to words and lettering, plus some crude paper repairs to it, other than that all the other pages are in very fine condition.
Volume 2- Published Edward Blount, 1620 . London —The Second part of the History of the Valourous witty Knight-Errant, Don Quichote of the Mancha. Written into Spanish by Michael Cervantes; And now Translated into English. Has the original Title-Page and 500 pages to Volume 2. And a torn fragment of the next page. I think this Volume 2 is missing only 1 or 2 other pages to the end the last pages.
In its own right, this 2 volume book is still as very rare, highly collectable and valuable book. Only 2 other copies not complete have appear in Auction Records in the last 40 years or more, selling for tens of thousands of dollars.
History of the Quixote English Translation;-
Thomas Shelton did not use either of the authorised 1605 editions of the First Part of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra masterpiece, but an edition published in Brussels which was then The Spanish Netherlands;- In 1607 Thomas Shelton’s translation of the First Part of the novel was published while Miguel de Cervantes was still alive. On the appearance of the Brussels imprint of the Second Part of Don Quixote in 1616, the year of Cervantes's death, Shelton translated that also into English, completing his task in 1620;- Both the 2 Volumes were Published by Edward Blount,-Volume 1 in 1612 and Volume 2 in 1620- but also at the time of the Printing the 1620 Volume 2 he revised Volume 1.
Thomas Shelton performance as a translator has become a classic among English translations for its racy, spirited rendering of the original.
There is little information about Thomas Shelton, except what I have been able to gleam. Thomas Shelton was a Roman Catholic, born in Dublin, Ireland. He may have been educated in Spain, where a 'Thomas Shelton, from Dublin was listed as a student in the university of Salamanca, in the western part of Spain. Thomas Shelton, first translator of ‘Don Quixote’ into English, may possibly be identical with the Thomas Sheldon who was fourth son of William Sheldon of Broadway, Worcestershire (a kinsman of Edward Sheldon.
One Thomas Sheldon, described as a gentleman of Worcestershire, matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, at the age of fifteen, on 23 Nov. 1581, and was refused the degree.
Shelton seems to have entered the service of Theophilus Howard, Lord Howard of Walden, afterwards second Earl of Suffolk. Acquiring a knowledge of Spanish, the task only occupied Shelton for forty days. The first part of Cervantes's novel originally appeared at Madrid early in 1605. Thomas Shelton used a reprint of the original Spanish, which was issued at Brussels by Roger Velpius in 1607. But after his friend had glanced at his rendering Thomas Sheldon cast it aside, where it lay ‘long time neglected in a corner.’ At the end of four or five years, ‘at the entreaty of friends, he was content to let it come to light,’ on condition that ‘some one or other would peruse and amend the errors escaped, his many affairs hindering him from undergoing that labour.’ On 19 Jan. 1611–12 the work, whether with or without another's revision, was licensed for publication to Edward Blounta London Publisher, under the title of —-
‘The delightfull history of the wittie knight, Don Quishote.’
Thomas Shelton signed the dedication to Lord Howard of Walden, describing himself as ‘his honour's most affectionate servitor.’
Don Quixote tells the tale of a man so entranced by reading about the chivalrous romantic ideals touted in books that he decides to take up his sword and become a Knight-Errant himself, with the aims of defending the helpless and warding off the wicked. With his somewhat confused labourer-turned-squire, Sancho Panza, they roam the world together and have adventures that have haunted reader's imaginations for nearly four hundred years. Don Quixote is generally recognised as the first modern novel.
Over those years, it has had an incredible influence on thousands of writers, from Dickens to Faulkner, who once said he reread it once a year, "just as some people read the Bible". Vladimir Nabokov is quoted as saying, "Don Quixote is greater today than he was in Cervantes's womb. [He] looms so wonderfully above the skyline of literature, a gaunt giant on a lean nag, that the book lives and will live through [his] sheer vitality... He stands for everything that is gentle, forlorn, pure, unselfish, and gallant. The parody has become a paragon.
Very few copies of the original edition of Thomas Shelton's English translation of the first part survived.
A perfect copy, constructed from two less perfect copies, belongs to Mr. Henry Yates Thompson; other good copies are at the British Museum, in the libraries of Clare College, Cambridge, of Wadham College, Oxford, and of Mr. Leonard Courtney (cf. Times, November 1896), and one was formerly in Lord Ashburnham's collection.
In the summer of 1614 Felipe Roberto of Tarragona published a volume impudently purporting to be a second part of Cervantes's novel. The author gave himself the burlesque pseudonym of the ‘Licenciado Alonzo Fernandez de Avellaneda, natural de la villa de Tordesillas.’ The deceit prospered; ‘Avellaneda’ was generally identified with Cervantes himself, and Edward Blount, one of the publishers of Shelton's translation of the first part of Cervantes's genuine work, obtained a license on 5 Dec. 1615 from the Stationers' Company to publish an English rendering of the spurious sequel. But this scheme went no further. Already, on 5 Nov. of the same year, Cervantes had obtained at Madrid authority to publish his own continuation of ‘Don Quixote,’ and this was in the hands of readers in the closing days of the year. Early in 1616 the Spanish text was reprinted at Brussels, and an English translation of that version was soon projected by Edward Blount, the London Publisher.