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92Y's Read By

Oct 25, 2020

Juan Gabriel Vásquez on his selection:

My choice is one of my favorite passages in Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, the book that we Spanish speakers think of as the place where the novel was born. Along with Shakespeare and Montaigne, Cervantes, with this book, invented the modern man; and, as I intend to prove or suggest, he also anticipated the modern woman. In this passage, written sometime around the turn of the seventeenth century, a young man by the name Grisóstomo has killed himself after being rejected by the beautiful shepherdess Marcela. His friends, who blame Marcela for his suicide, are out to bury him when she suddenly appears. One of the friends asks her if she has come to see if with her presence blood spurts from the wounds of the dead man, or to gloat over the cruelties of her nature, or to tread on this unfortunate corpse. This is her answer, which I will read first in Edith Grossman’s great translation, and then in the Spanish original.

Don Quixote trans. Edith Grossman at

Don Quijote de la Mancha at

Music: "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0