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M for Merlin

Helen Cooper: Chrétien de Troyes, 25 November 1999

Perceval: The Story of the Grail 
by Chrétien de Troyes, translated by Burton Raffel.
Yale, 307 pp., £22.50, March 1999, 0 300 07586 3
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... strategic, and if there is any quibble to be had with this newly completed set of translations by Burton Raffel, it is that he announces the hero’s name so large and loudly on the title pages. It’s all right for two of the romances, Erec and Enide and Cligès; but elsewhere, it’s not how Chrétien works. The Story of the Grail (to give it its ...

Crazy Don

Michael Wood, 3 August 1995

The History of that Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote de la Mancha 
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, translated by Burton Raffel.
Norton, 802 pp., $14.95, September 1995, 0 393 03719 3
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... translation might help us out here, that the stuffiness of the old translations is the problem. Burton Raffel says he took on the task because he ‘did not feel comfortable recommending any of the existing translations of Don Quixote’. I wish he’d said what made him uncomfortable, particularly with Putnam’s 1949 version for Viking, which has ...

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