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|Books of extracts are controversial. Some feel that they are biased
and not truly representative of whatever subject they profess to be
That can be true. Many History books (and TV shows) are a great
example of that.
But you can't read it ALL!
A beginning has to be made somewhere. If that beginning is a
chapter or a quote or a paragraph and it charms you into seeking
more information, then what's wrong with that?
Nothing at all. In fact, that is the whole purpose of such books. If
the agenda isn't a negative one or an ill-intentioned attempt at
propaganda, then halleluia!
Case in point: Thomas Roscoe (in the early 1800's) helped pioneer
the resurgence of foreign literature translations into English after a
long period of neglect. His style is typical of his time and takes a
little getting used to, but some of the work he has done has not been
done before or since. It was good enough to be stolen by other
publishers in their extracts as well (without giving credit!).
Because he did his job so well, his translation from Count Lucanor is
up. It also sent me on a quest for more of Don Juan Manuel. Any
Prince who can write well is my kind of ruler.
Happily now, a doctor, (and any doctor that can write about
non-medical non-mystery matter is my kind of doctor) named
James York, translated the complete text of Count Lucanor. The
style is less ornate than Roscoe's and proves that Don Juan Manuel
was truly a Prince of a Writer, as well as a Spanish Royal.
(Note: Dr. York wasn't aware of Roscoe's partial translation and it was done only 20 years earlier!)
His aim was to write an Aesop for grown-ups, the result is sort of a medieval Selp-Help book. Count Lucanor: or
The Fifty Pleasant Stories of Patronio are delightful and here to read.