Writer donates 1675 edition of ‘Don Quixote’ to Argentine city

January 29th, 2009 - 11:44 am ICT by IANS  

Buenos Aires, Jan 29 (EFE) British writer Julian Barnes has donated to the Argentine city of Azul a copy of the first edition of “Don Quixote” translated into English and dating back to 1675.Azul has been dubbed “Cervantes City” two years ago for actively promoting the works of Miguel de Cervantes.

The vice president of the Spanish Mutual Aid Society of Azul, Carlos Filipetti, said that the copy, which he described as a “real gem”, is in “impeccable condition”.

He said that the donation by “such a noteworthy” writer has “a significant value”, since it is a gesture that strengthens Azul’s attempts to promote a meeting of cultures through art and literature.

The donation originated with a trip Barnes took to Azul, located 300 km from here, in 2008 together with his wife, literary agent Path Cavanagh. He discovered the copies of “Don Quixote” collected by attorney Bartolome Ronco in the last century, currently on exhibition at Casa Ronco.

The collection contains such “treasures” as the first luxury edition published in London in 1738 and copies of the first Latin American edition from the year 1904.

To enrich the collection, Barnes decided to donate his valuable copy in a gesture that was carried out last week and which he dedicated to his wife, who died last October.

“This 1675 edition by Tomas Shelton is the first English translation of ‘Quixote’ and is presented to Casa Ronco in memory of my wife, Path Cavanagh, who shared the pleasure of visiting the Casa in Jan 2008,” the writer’s dedication says.

The copy donated by Barnes thus becomes the oldest in the town’s collection, considered the most important private Cervantes collection in Latin America.

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