Shall we just say that I am so much in awe of Avram Gruner, and leave it at that?
Avram Gruner: Paarfi of Roundwood, author of the Quixote: Ever since high school, when I read Steven Boyett’s Ariel, I’ve been meaning to read Don Quixote, but I still haven’t gotten around to it, partly because I can’t decide which translation to read. (What I really oughta do is learn Spanish so I can read it, and Borges, in the originals, and to get back at Chris for knowing more Yiddish than I do.)
Today, I looked up a bunch of translations on Google Books, and compared their opening paragraphs. These all introduce Quixote, mentioning that he keeps old knightly gear (lance, shield, horse, greyhound), and describe the food and clothing that consume his money. The different approaches to describing Quixote’s food are striking, and seems to have been the subject of considerable scholarly effort.
Here’s Cervantes himself:
Una olla de algo más vaca que carnero, salpicón las más noches, duelos y quebrantos los sábados, lentejas los viernes, algún palomino de añadidura los domingos, consumían las tres partes de su hacienda...
And we are off and running. Read the whole thing. Read it all.