October 18, 2020
There’s a 1979 animated version of “Don Quixote,” parts of which I showed the kids yesterday, translating for them as we watched. They actually liked it, despite the pace, which is glacial compared to anything today. But it felt just right, just like the book. And in Spanish, in the clips uploaded so far to YouTube, you can really hear the music of Cervantes’ writing – but especially the music of our knight’s speech. This just doesn’t come across in English the same way.
Watching and translating Altisidora’s serenade for my kids, followed by the braying-village war, I noticed something lovely about Don Quijote’s speech to the marching-off-to-war villages. He’s just been made fun of at the duke’s castle. Now here he’s telling these villagers that you need not go to war just because you’ve been made fun of. In that context, he’s not just spewing off intellectual information when he lists the only possible causes of a just war: he really sounds like a wise man who knows and means what he says when he declares that the only good reasons for going to war are to protect your family, your property, your nation or your king.