Books

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #1

First Chapter First Para

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly feature hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach where you share the first paragraph or two of a book that you’re currently reading or planning to read soon.

I won’t be taking part in this feature every week but at least once a month, if not fortnightly.

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Don QuixoteDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Translator: John Rutherford

First paragraph: In a village in La Mancha, the name of which I cannot quite recall, there lived not long ago one of those country gentlemen or hidalgos who keep a lance in a rack, an ancient leather shield, a scrawny hack and a greyhound for coursing. A stew with rather more shin of beef than leg of lamb, the leftovers for supper most nights, lardy eggs on Saturdays, lentil broth on Fridays, and an occasional pigeon as a Sunday treat ate up three-quarters of his income. The rest went on a cape of black broadcloth, with breeches of velvet and slippers to match for holy days, and on weekdays he walked proudly in the finest homespun. He maintained a housekeeper the wrong side of forty, a niece the right side of twenty and a jack of all trades who was as good at saddling the nag as plying the pruning shears. Our hidalgo himself was nearly fifty; he had a robust constitution, dried up flesh and a withered face, and he was an early riser and a keen huntsman. His surname’s said to have been Quixada or Quesada (as if he were a jawbone, or cheesecake): concerning this detail there’s some discrepancy among the authors who have written on the subject, although a credible conjecture does suggest he might have been a plaintive Quexana. But this doesn’t matter much, as far as our little tale’s concerned, provided that the narrator doesn’t stray one inch from the truth.

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Ooft, look at this beast of an opening paragraph. I’ve read a few different translations of this opening before and while they all have similar points to make, they are wildly different from one another.


Does this first paragraph intrigue you or does it leave you feeling cold? Share your thoughts!

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20 thoughts on “First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #1

  1. You are a better woman than I if you can complete this novel! Much as I love classics, and I do, I have to sit down and force myself to get past page 30. I quit when he fought the windmills, not quite understanding the foolishness which is apparent to most who read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a really long opening paragraph but it doesn’t really say much. I wonder if that’s what the next 1,000 pages will be like too. It is a rather intimidating book though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha, I know! Doesn’t bode well. I’ve heard it’s a comedy though, so maybe the author is writing that way to be funny? From what I’ve heard, an absolute flop of a guy (Quixote) thinks he’s a knight or something. So maybe the opening is supposed to spoof a long, dull introduction of the hero or something. Actually that’s pretty funny! Now I’m looking at the book’s cover and laughing. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It does seem like a parody or a spoof so hopefully it will be fairly funny! I’m only about 100 pages in and the tone is still the same so I’m hopeful 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have tried to read this book twice and only got about half way through. Maybe one day I’ll complete it but I’m not making any promises! Hope you make it through!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I translated it inwardly as I have read this many times. It’s meant to sound rich, regal, pompous, and yes, farcical too.

    The length and keeping motivated is the challenge.

    If you get tired towards the end of part one, leave it, and read part two next year.

    It’s going to become tedious towards the last fourth of part one. If you stretch it it should be easier.

    This may help you with this amazing classic.
    https://wordsandpeace.com/2019/09/26/don-quixote-interview-with-silvia-cachia/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked the opening paragraph, and the first 100 pages, because the tone feels light and humourous which isn’t what you usually get from a long classic novel like this.

      I am planning to read it slowly over the next few months because I feel like rushing to finish the book would demotivate me and I’d probably get bored or tired, like you mentioned! I’ll keep in mind that the last section of part one is tedious though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are wise to take your time. Even make a light schedule, or something or someone to keep you accountable so that you don’t drop it.

        Maybe the last section is not as tedious as too much. It’s gets all tangled up, many story lines opened at once, before everything resolves, and it does resolve, though. If one reads too quickly, there’s that risk of the whole thing becoming repetitive. If taking little by little, it’s the opposite of tedious, it really is amusing.

        Some of the stories are Shakespeare like, or Chaucer like. It has a 1001 Arabian Night feel also.

        Liked by 1 person

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