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The first novel in Western literature, Don Quixote was first published in Spanish, part one in 1605 and part two in 1615.
This page contains:
I: Selected editions of the novel Don Quijote de la Mancha in the original Spanish.
II: Information on the early editions.
How to find these books: click on each title to see the HOMER record, call number and library location. Books in the Cervantes collection must be consulted in the Doheny Library Special Collections reading room, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturdays 1-5pm. You may request your selections before your visit or make your request in person at the Special Collections reference desk.
For questions or an appointment with the subject librarian: email firstname.lastname@example.org
The manuscript of the first part of the novel was licensed for publication in September, 1604 and published in Madrid early in 1605. Unfortunately the original manuscript did not survive. Don Quixote de la Mancha was an immediate success, surprising both author and publisher, who had licensed it only for publication in Castille. Cervantes must have felt gratified to finally achieve a long desired recognition for his writing, but he did not reap great financial reward nor live to see the immense repercussion of his creativity. Scholar Jean Canavaggio calculates that Cervantes sold his rights to the publisher for a sum comparable to $1500.
Cervantes' fame quickly spread to the New World and to England. In 1605 numerous copies of the first edition were shipped to Peru, and distributed among the Spanish colonies, and Oxford University Library obtained its first edition that year. By 1615 there were already ten Spanish editions on the market of Part I: three in Madrid (two in 1605 and 1608), two in Lisbon (1605), two in Valencia (1605), two in Brussels (1607 and 1611) and one in Milan (1610).
Cervantes was writing the second part of Don Quijote when in 1614 an anonymous author, under the pseudonym Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda, published a second rate apocryphal version. Cervantes rushed to complete his Part II by 1615.
During the 17th c. Don Quixote de la Mancha was printed a dozen more times in Spanish with both parts together, and was known in all the courts and nations of Europe and Russia. The spread of the novel had just begun. By the 400th anniversary in 2005 sixty million copies had been printed, in hundreds of languages, in nearly 3000 editions. Don Quixote is considered the most published and translated book after the Bible. (2/2009BR)