Arion Lyre

86. Don Quixote, Book I, by Miguel de Cervantes, illustrated by William T. Wiley

Don Quixote, Book I, by Miguel De Cervantes, Translated by Edith Grossman, Illustrated by William T. Wiley, November 2009.


When this new translation was released in 2003, Carlos Fuentes wrote in The New York Times Book Review: “Edith Grossman delivers her Quixote in plain but plentiful contemporary English. Yet there is not a single moment in which, in forthright English, we are not reading a seventeenth-century novel. This is truly masterly: the contemporaneous and the original co-exist.” In a separate review in the Times, Richard Eder wrote: “. . . the most transparent and least impeded among more than a dozen English translations going back to the seventeenth century. Ms. Grossman has provided a Quixote that is agile, playful, formal, and wry.”

Edith Grossman is one of the most important living translators. She has specialized in Spanish-language literature from Latin America and Spain, including works by Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez. She was born in Philadelphia in 1936, received the B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and received a Ph.D. degree from New York University. She lives in New York City.

This translation project was suggested to Grossman by Daniel Halpern of Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins, which published the trade edition with an introduction by Harold Bloom. Bloom writes: “I commend Edith Grossman’s version for the extraordinarily high quality of her prose. The Knight and Sancho are so eloquently rendered by Grossman that the vitality of their characterization is more clearly conveyed than ever before. There is also an astonishing contextualization of Don Quixote and Sancho in Grossman’s translation that I believe has not been achieved before. The spiritual atmosphere of a Spain already in steep decline can be felt throughout, thanks to her heightened quality of diction. Grossman might be called the Glenn Gould of translators, because she, too, articulates every note. Reading her amazing mode of finding equivalents in English for Cervantes’s darkening vision is an entrance into a further understanding of why this great book contains within itself all the novels that followed in its sublime wake.”


William T. Wiley was born October 21, 1937, in Bedford, Indiana. He was raised in Indiana, Texas, and Richland, Washington. He earned the B.F.A. at the California School of Fine Arts in 1960 and the M.F.A. in 1962. He taught in the art department of the University of California at Davis, where Bruce Nauman was one of his students. His first one-man museum show was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1960. Later in that decade he collaborated with the minimalist composer Steve Reich. Wiley had works in the Venice Biennial (1980) and the Whitney Biennial (1983). Other important exhibitions were held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1981), M. H. de Young Museum, San Francisco (1996), and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2005). Currently on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Washington, D.C., is a major retrospective of his works in painting, drawing, sculpture, and prints, which will travel to the Berkeley Art Museum in 2010. The artist and his wife Mary Hull Webster live in Woodacre, California.

Wiley's other works for Arion Press are The Voices of Marrakesh and Godot.


Arion Press is pleased to dedicate this edition of Don Quixote to the memory of former subscriber Jacqueline Stanhope Hoefer, in recognition of her devotion to literature and the printed book. A patron of the arts in San Francisco from the 1970s until her death at age 83 in 2006, Jacqueline Hoefer was a poet and professor of literature, who received a Ph.D. in English Literature from Washington University. With her husband Peter Hoefer, who was a sculptor as well as a businessman, she participated in the culture of North Beach in the 1960s and befriended Ruth Asawa and many other artists and writers. Throughout her life, she published poetry and writings on the arts, including a book on South West artists under the New Deal. Given her well-known generosity to art museums, music organizations, and progressive social causes, her devotion to literature might pass unremarked. It is thus the purpose of this dedication to honor Jacqueline Hoefer’s contribution to books and the written word.

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