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We're putting the class back in classics, enhancing the reading experience with beautiful design and interaction with great teachers.
We're putting the class back in classics, enhancing the reading experience with beautiful design and interaction with great teachers.
We're putting the class back in classics, enhancing the reading experience with beautiful design and interaction with great teachers.
361 backers pledged $20,865 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Restless Classics' 400th Anniversary Edition of Don Quixote

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About Restless Books: 

Restless Books is a new independent publisher of international literature, based in Brooklyn. Our mission is to bring great books from overlooked corners of the world to American readers who are not content to limit their imaginations to our borders. We'll be publishing English-language editions of fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, travel writing, science fiction and more from everywhere from Cuba to China, Pakistan to Chile, Mexico to Uzbekistan. With Restless Classics, we want to bring older books that still speak to our time and place—and especially to our "restlessness"—back into the conversation. 

What makes Restless Classics unique? 

 We all have "the list": those important books that we know we're supposed to read, but might never get around to. Part of what makes classic books so lasting and impactful is the collective reading experience that you get in a great classroom with a dynamic teacher. Of course, not everyone has access to those classes and devoted teachers. We thought, wouldn't it be great if we could recreate the experience of your favorite literature class, without having to pay tuition? 

Restless Publisher Ilan Stavans is a beloved and award-winning professor of Latin American and Latino culture at Amherst College, where he teaches immensely popular courses on Don Quixote, Roberto Bolaño, Love, Spanglish, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and many more. Along with other scholars and experts in the field, Ilan will curate a video teaching series about each book in the Restless Classics line, which will take readers on an engaging journey through the books, giving them cultural context and exclusive insights gained over the course of decades of study by experts who know how to make the books come alive. 

In addition to the video series, Ilan and other experts will participate in live online book club discussions with readers, where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the book with a notable teacher, without being in a classroom. 

Why Don Quixote?

People call Don Quixote many things: The greatest novel ever written, the first modern novel, and most popular book in history after the Bible. One might say this tragi-comic work is far more than a novel: It is a manual for life, with lessons on how to love, dream, age, and be a friend. It encourages engagement with the essential questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my responsibility toward others? What is the meaning of being mortal? Furthermore, it is a book about books, about the act—and art—of reading, and about the imagination as the engine that makes us move. 

Don Quixote is, unquestionably, an accumulation of extraordinary responses, from Cervantes' contemporaries (Lope de Vega, the most famous comedia playwright of the seventeenth century, trashed it) to successive generations of haters (Nabokov) and lovers (Flaubert, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Borges, and David Foster Wallace). 

2015 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the complete Don Quixote, and 2016 is the 400th anniversary of its author’s death. We plan to publish this first Restless Classic in October, and we can’t wait to talk with you about it with you over the subsequent months. 

It's all about design: 

We all know what happens to a cheap paperback when you read it: its spine cracks, the cover creases, and the pages go to the dog-ears. It can be a bummer watching a book you love fall apart in your hands. Restless Classics gives great books the physical treatment they deserve, with a sturdy package at an affordable price, with bold, original woodcut illustrations by the artist Eko debossed into the cover and spread throughout the text. (No dusty portraits of pale Victorians here.) 

Read an interview with the artist here.

A Note on the Translation:

In his introduction to the Restless Classics edition of Don Quixote, Ilan Stavans writes:

I have in my collection copies of all twenty-two full translations of Don Quixote into English. This edition uses the John Ormsby (1829–1895) rendition, first published in London in 1885. It's the version that I find most authentic, the closest to the original, with the most rhythm and sharpness. I like this version of El Quijote because it avoids affectation. In Ormsby’s words, “no man abhorred it more” than Cervantes, and the book skewers pretension with its sometimes ridiculous depiction of Don Quixote and the affected chivalry novels the character adores and the author detested. Ormsby also understood that Spanish underwent less change since the seventeenth century than other European languages. For that reason it is harder today to read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, for instance, than it is to read Cervantes’s novel. Of course, the translation the reader has in hand is 125 years old, meaning it isn’t contemporary. This is an aspect I frankly adore. After all, experiencing a classic the caliber of this one is reaching back in time. Unless one was a denizen of Spain’s Siglo de Oro, the filter needs to convey a degree of historical detachment.

More Restless Classics to Come:

As we outlined in this update, if we reach our goal, we'll be able to give these four books the Restless Classics deluxe interactive treatment:

Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. Du Bois 

Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

Poems, Protest, and a Dream, by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

These timeless works still speak to our time and place—and especially to our “restlessness.” We'll be bringing them back in splendid fashion, with deluxe editions, new supplementary content and original artwork, and interactive features with passionate teachers via video series and online book club discussions.

What we need to make this happen: 

We need your help to make this a reality—like any good class, it only works if you join in and participate. 

As you may know, independent publishing is expensive. Large publishing conglomerates are able to print tens of thousands of books at a time, which keeps printing costs low (and the quality of the physical object often suffers). The longer the book and the shorter the print run, the more expensive it is for a small publisher to print their books and get them on bookstore shelves. But we won't let that stop us from reintroducing readers in a dynamic, multimedia way to brilliant behemoths like Don Quixote. Nor do we want to sacrifice the wonderful physicality of the reading experience—as much as we love eBooks, there's nothing like holding a beautifully made book in your hands. 

So, we need your help! Our initial printing and distribution estimate is $20,000. With your support, we can defeat the cruel economics of book publishing and make something beautiful, illuminating, and lasting. Thank you so much.

Stretch Goal #1: Restless Classics’ 400th Anniversary Edition of Don Quixote EN ESPAÑOL!

We believe we can reach our $20,000 goal—and we don’t want to stop there! If we reach $30,000, we’ll have what we need for a Spanish edition of our interactive, beautifully designed Don Quixote.

Since announcing our project, we’ve gotten a great deal of interest from Spanish-language media and readers about a Spanish version of our project, and we agree that it’s a fantastic idea. Putting Cervantes’s original text out complete with Ilan Stavans’s videos and introduction in his native Spanish will make our interactive version even more appealing to the large American Latino population as well as make it available to readerships in the author’s home country of Spain and throughout Latin America, where, despite the adoration of the book, no such edition exists.

Thank you for your support, and adelante!

Risks and challenges

Our team at Restless Books is small—there are just four of us in the Brooklyn office—but we’re determined to realize our goal of bringing great books from around the world to English-language readers who are hungry for a more diverse array of literature. As noted above, independent publishing is a challenge, in terms of printing costs (especially with small print runs of large books), shipping, and distribution. We’re fortunate to be distributed by one of the most robust publishers around: Simon & Schuster. This means that our books are guaranteed to be available to bookstores, libraries, and educators, both nationally and internationally.

We’ve learned a lot in the months since we published our first print title, the English-language edition of the great film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s novel, Where the Bird Sings Best. Our success with that book—features, reviews, interviews, and excerpts in NPR, VICE, The Believer, and many others, and prominent placement in some of the great independent bookstores around the country—has set the stage for us to make a real impact with the Restless Classics 400th Anniversary Edition of Don Quixote. But the biggest hurdle for us to overcome in publishing this 1,000-page book is the initial cost of printing. If we reach our goal—with your help—we’ll make this dream a reality. We’re hugely grateful for your support.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    VIDEO INTRODUCTION TO DON QUIXOTE

    Get early access to a video introduction to the book by Ilan Stavans, publisher of Restless Books and Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College.

    NOTE: The video introduction will be included at all reward levels.

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    PERSONALIZED POSTCARD

    We'll send you a postcard featuring one of Eko’s beautiful, original woodcut illustrations from the book, with a personal message of admiration from the Restless team.

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    POSTCARD SET

    Get a set of five, mail-ready postcards with Eko’s artwork, each inspired by a scene from the book.

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    EBOOK

    Get the optimized eBook (or a PDF if you prefer) of the Restless Classics edition of Don Quixote.

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    VIDEO DISCUSSION SERIES + LIVE ONLINE BOOK CLUB + EBOOK

    Get the eBook, plus access to the exclusive video teaching series about the book curated by Ilan Stavans and Restless Books. These will consist of 8-10 videos featuring Professor Stavans discussing different sections of Don Quixote, in the context of history, culture, and the book’s literary legacy.

    Also, get access to join four live online discussions with Ilan Stavans to talk about the book. We’ll keep things lively and casual, but deeply engaged with the glories and difficulties of Don Quixote. These book club discussions will occur once a month, beginning one month after publication. We’ll post discussion questions beforehand to guide the conversation.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DELUXE PAPERBACK + VIDEO DISCUSSION SERIES + ONLINE BOOK CLUB

    Get the finished copy of the book: a beautifully produced paperback, which includes a debossed cover and interior illustrations by Eko, a new introduction by Ilan Stavans, a chronology and a bibliography of primary sources, and further reading about the book from thinkers past and present.

    Also get access to the exclusive teaching series about the book as well as the four live online book club discussions with Ilan Stavans.

    NOTE: The finished deluxe paperback and access to the video series and live online book club discussions will be included at all higher reward levels.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    DELUXE PAPERBACK + EBOOK

    Get the finished deluxe paperback plus an optimized eBook or PDF, as well as access to the video series and live online book club discussions.

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    DON QUIXOTE TOTE BAG

    Form meets function in a stylish and handy tote bag screen-printed with one of Eko’s woodcut illustrations from the book, with your choice of three different drawings.

    The tote bag comes with the finished deluxe paperback and access to the video series and live online book club discussions.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DON QUIXOTE T-SHIRT

    Get a stylish Don Quixote black T-shirt in your size, screen-printed with one of Eko’s woodcut illustrations from the book. Your choice of three different illustrations.

    The T-shirt comes with the finished deluxe paperback and access to the video series and live online book club discussions.

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    TWO COPIES OF DON QUIXOTE

    Got a quixotic friend? Get two finished copies of the deluxe paperback, plus two access passes to the exclusive teaching series and live discussions.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    RESTLESS CLASSICS VOLUMES ONE, TWO, AND THREE

    Get the deluxe paperback edition of Don Quixote plus the next two books in the Restless Classics series, complete with supplementary video discussions and live online book club sessions.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    ORIGINAL PRINT

    Get a limited-edition, archival-quality print of the book cover designed by Eko.

    The print comes with the finished deluxe paperback and access to the video series and live online discussions.

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    ALL THE SWAG

    Get all the Restless Classics Don Quixote merchandise you can handle: the set of five postcards with Eko’s artwork, the finished deluxe paperback, a tote bag and a T-shirt of your choice, and a limited-edition framed print by Eko.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    YOUR NAME IN THE BOOK

    Get a special thank you on the acknowledgements page of Don Quixote, a copy of which Restless publisher Ilan Stavans will sign for you personally. You’ll also have access to the video series and live online book club discussions.

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    YOUR NAME IN THE BOOK + ALL THE SWAG

    Get a special thank you on the acknowledgements page of Don Quixote, a copy of which Restless publisher Ilan Stavans will sign for you personally. We'll also send you the set of five postcards, a tote bag and a T-shirt of your choice, and the framed print by Eko, and you'll have access to the video series and live online book club discussions.

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    YOUR NAME IN ALL THE BOOKS

    Get a very special thank you in Don Quixote and all future editions of Restless Classics. We’ll send you a copy of Don Quixote signed personally by Restless publisher Ilan Stavans, and you’ll also receive all future editions of the series, as well as access to the video series and live online book club discussions for each book.

    You'll also get all the Don Quixote swag: the postcards, tote bag, T-shirt, and the framed print by Eko.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    DINNER IN NEW YORK

    Come to an intimate Don Quixote dinner and conversation at a premiere New York City restaurant with Professor Stavans. (Travel not included.)

    You’ll also get a finished deluxe paperback signed by Ilan Stavans and access to the video series and live online discussions, plus all the Don Quixote swag: the set of five postcards, a tote bag and a T-shirt of your choice, and the framed print by Eko.

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Funding period

- (35 days)