Yesterday was the birthday of one of the greatest authors in history: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29 September 1547 – 23 April 1616. As you can tell, I am a fan. Not only because of the Quixotic pun of this blog’s name, but also because I think that Don Quixote is still one the most relevant stories in the world.
Image by Gustave Doré
“The pen is the language of the soul; as the concepts that in it are generated, such will be its writings.”
Miguel de Cervantes
1 ) Very little is known about Cervantes’ early childhood, however we do know that he was a favorite student of Madrid humanist Juan Lopez.
2 ) In 1569, while living in Rome, Cervantes enlisted in the Spanish fleet to fight against the Turks. He suffered injury at the Battle of Lepanto (1571) which ended his aspirations for military glory.
3 ) On his way home from the war (1575) Miguel and his brother Roderigo were captured by Barbary pirates and became slaves until their ransom was paid five years later.
4 ) Returning to Madrid, Cervantes started writing. Even though he is thought to have written as many as 30 plays, only two survived today.
5 ) Cervantes worked as a tax collector a requisitioner of supplies for the navy but was jailed because of irregularities in his books.
6 ) His most famous book, “Don Quixote” (book review) was published in 1604. The original title is The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (“El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha”). Even though the book was a huge success, it didn’t generate any money for the author.”Don Quixote” was also the first post on this blog.
7 ) We do not know what Cervantes looked like, modern scholars does not recognize any image of Cervantes as authentic.
8 ) After writing some dramas and short stories, Cervantes wrote “Don Quixote, Part II” (book review) due to a phony sequel which was published.
9 ) Cervantes’ influence on the Spanish language cannot be underestimated, in fact it is often called la lengua de Cervantes (“the language of Cervantes“).(1)
10) Cervantes’ nickname is El Príncipe de los Ingenios (“The Prince of Wits”).(2)
Zohar – Man of la Book
1. La lengua de Cervantes. Ministerio de la Presidencia de España. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
2. Centro de Estudios Cervantinos
3. Harold Bloom on Don Quixote, the first modern novel | Books | The Guardian”. London: Books.guardian.co.uk. December 12, 2003. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
- Catch up on classic lit with bite-size summaries (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Madrid begins search for bones of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes (guardian.co.uk)
- ‘Quixote,’ Colbert and the Reality of Fiction (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Surprising How Little We Know About Such a Prolific Writer: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Arts Legacy (onesteppeatatime.wordpress.com)