"Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be."

Happy birthday Miguel de Cervantes!

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Miguel de Cervantes (September 29, 1547 (assumed)—April 22, 1616) was a Spanish writer. He is best known for writing the novel Don Quixote, which is widely considered to be the first modern novel. He also wrote plays and poetry.

Cervates_jaureguiCervantes was born Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, Spain to Rodrigo Cervantes and his Dona Leonor. His father was a surgeon, which, at the time, didn't mean much in society. His grandfather was a lawyer and his uncle was a mayor. (Image source)

At some point early in his career, he traveled to Italy. He was interested in Renaissance art, architecture, and poetry. By 1570, he enlisted in the Spanish Navy Marines, Infantería de Marina, stationed in Naples. In 1571, aboard the Marquesa, Cervantes fought in the Battle of Lepanto against the Ottomans, in the Gulf of Patras, despite having a fever. He lost the use of his left arm in this battle as a result of three gunshot wounds.

In 1575, Cervantes was taken captive by Algerian corsairs. After spending four years as a slave, his parents paid off his ransom and he returned to Madrid. This period of his life is reflected in several of his works, including the Captive's tale in Don Quixote and the two plays set in Algiers – El Trato de Argel (The Treaty of Algiers) and Los Baños de Argel (The Baths of Algiers).

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In 1584, he married Catalina de Salazar y Palacios. He spent the next two decades working as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada and as a tax collector.

In 1585, he published La Galatea, a pastoral romance. By this time, some of his plays (El Trato de Argel and El Cerco de Numancia) were being performed in Madrid.

He published the first part of Don Quixote in 1605. One of the most provocative aspects of the work was its inclusion of everyday language into a literary piece. It became very popular, although it did not bring Cervantes financial success. He didn't publish the second half until 1615. (Image source)

In 1613, Cervantes published the Exemplary Novels. He followed with Viaje del Parnaso, Eight Comedies, and Eight New Interludes.

Cervantes is now credited with writing the first modern novel.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Monday, 29 September 2014
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