Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra[b] (Spanish pronunciation: [miˈɣel ðe θerˈβantes saˈβeðɾa] in modern Spanish; September 29, 1547 – April 23, 1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, often considered the first modern novel,[1] is a classic of Western literature and is regularly regarded among the best novels ever written. His work is considered among the most important in all of literature.[2] His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that Spanish is often called la lengua de Cervantes (The language of Cervantes).[3] He has been dubbed el Príncipe de los Ingenios – the Prince of Wits.

Cervantes was born at Alcalá de Henares, the fourth of seven children of Rodrigo de Cervantes, a surgeon born at Alcalá de Henares, and Leonor de Cortinas (native from Arganda del Rey). Cervantes’ parents were married in 1543. The family’s origins may have been of the minor gentry. Leonor died on October 19, 1593. The family moved from town to town, and little is known of Cervantes’s early years.

In 1569, Cervantes moved to Italy, where he served as a valet to Giulio Acquaviva, a wealthy priest who was elevated to cardinal the next year. By then, Cervantes had enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian pirates. He was ransomed from his captors by his parents and the Trinitarians. He returned to his family in Madrid.

In 1585, Cervantes published a pastoral novel, La Galatea. Because of financial problems, Cervantes worked as a purveyor for the Spanish Armada, and later as a tax collector. In 1597 discrepancies in his accounts of three years previous landed him in the Crown Jail of Seville. In 1605 he was in Valladolid, just when the immediate success of the first part of his Don Quijote, published in Madrid, signaled his return to the literary world. In 1607, he settled in Madrid, where he lived and worked until his death. During the last nine years of his life, Cervantes solidified his reputation as a writer; he published the Exemplary Novels (Novelas ejemplares) in 1613, the Journey to Parnassus in 1614, and in 1615, the Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses and the second part of Don Quixote. Carlos Fuentes noted that, “Cervantes leaves open the pages of a book where the reader knows himself to be written.”[4]

Anuncios