Glorious Spanish Language, 1001 Nights by Galland, Hispania Sopena, Ortega y Gasset, Azorin

Glorious Spanish Language is the Goodreads category I chose for the books I read in Spanish. Glorious sounds regal enough for me, evoking the Armada Invencible. Regardless of the ship’s failure, the endeavor was epic, and it captures the splendor and glory of the times, which I associate to the Spanish language.

Today, I’ve chosen 3 beauties to bring to your attention, beauties that live in my beloved language but that, -even if you haven’t or won’t read, anyone could relate to in other aspects. They are part of a bigger phenomena that belongs to all of us.

Jewel #1, 1001 Arabian Nights, in Spanish, The One Thousand and One Nights. Many years ago, in Madrid, when people sold books and encyclopedias door to door, and when parents used to buy them for their progeny, I stumbled upon this edition of 1001 Arabian Nights, which afforded me indescribable joy to read.

At the time, I was completely ignorant to the nature of the original text. French, Germans, and European linguistics and translators captivated with the Arab world, commenced the quest for the exemplar translation of this classic. My Spanish copy is a translation of probably the most popular French translation by Galland. The French probably are the West gateway to fairy tales and Arabian tales.

Antoine Galland (French: [ɑ̃twan ɡalɑ̃]; 4 April 1646 – 17 February 1715) was a French orientalist and archaeologist, most famous as the first European translator of One Thousand and One Nights, which he called Les mille et une nuits.

As for the illustration, it says, I translate “This edition has been illustrated with 104 miniature facsimiles obtained from Persian and Hindu manuscripts. In an effort to not maim the purity of these originals, the irregularities of some of them have been respected, thus appearing not centered or with uneven or crooked sides.”

On another page they indicate that they have bold print and a triangle to indicate the sentences that correspond to the illustrations.

This is quite a nostalgic edition which contains the stories most close to my heart when I think about Alibaba, Serezade, and the Arab story telling tradition.

Jewel #2, Jose Ortega y Gasset books, in particular his En torno a Galileo, who was forced to abjure in 1633. Ortega y Gasset is best known by his “Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia,” (“I am me and my circumstance”.)

From Wikipedia: Ortega y Gasset proposes that philosophy must overcome the limitations of both idealism (in which reality centers around the ego) and ancient-medieval realism (in which reality is outside the subject) to focus on the only truthful reality: “my life”—the life of each individual. He suggests that there is no “me” without things, and things are nothing without me: “I” (human being) cannot be detached from “my circumstance” (world). This led Ortega y Gasset to pronounce his famous maxim “Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia” (“I am me and my circumstance”) (Meditaciones del Quijote, 1914) which he always put at the core of his philosophy.

Ortega y Gasset is the writer of one of my favorite books, Meditations on Quixote, which one could perfectly read without having read Don Quixote. I have read it 3x at least, and most likely I’m going to kick 2023 with yet another reread. It’s short, and it never fails to ground me and inspire me as well.

Jewel #3, everything Don Quijote, this time, Azorin’s La ruta de Don Quijote, 1905. Don Quixote, the first part, was published in 1605. Azorin wrote this short essay the tricentennial year, to commemorate and to philosophize about the land of Castilla la Mancha: its people and in particular, the land’s ties to the author. Short, rich, indescribable, possibly irrelevant to those outside of the Spanish language, but not in a snobbish or condescending way but as a book which adjectives and words in general are rooted to an emotional geography and epoch not in the interest orbit of many.

Hope you have enjoyed, if nothing else, the images of these jewels.

Happy Soon to Come 2023!

5 thoughts on “Glorious Spanish Language, 1001 Nights by Galland, Hispania Sopena, Ortega y Gasset, Azorin

  1. I made that category for my books, it’s not a category in Goodreads that I know of. It’s were I place all my books in Spanish that I read.

  2. How do you find this “Glorious Spanish Language” Goodreads category? I find Spanish lists in Listopia, but not this exact category. Do you mind giving me the url?

  3. The problem is that I don’t know if Nights is published in its original language as such, it’s more like fairy tales that have always existed etc. XIX saw lots of interest in translating them. My English copy is children friendly, published by Grosser and Dunlap, beautifully illustrated by Mamoru Furnay (I don’t know the illustrator but I am pretty sure he must be recognized.) Lucky for you, you may find options in the public domain, maybe even articles on translations and what they offer.

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