Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Spanish: [miˈɣel de θeɾˈβantes saaˈβeðɾa]; 29 September 1547 (assumed)  22 April 1616 NS)[7] was a Spanish writer widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world's pre-eminent novelists. He is best known for his novel Don Quixote, a work often cited as both the first modern novel[8][9][10] and one of the pinnacles of world literature.[11][12]

Miguel de Cervantes
The well-known portrait, called the Pseudo-Jáuregui, supposedly by Juan de Jáuregui, who did paint Cervantes, as stated in the prologue of the Exemplary Novels. It has not been authenticated, and the names of Cervantes and Jáuregui on it were added centuries after it was painted. No authenticated image of Cervantes exists, and the authentic Jáuregui painting is lost.[3][4]
BornMiguel de Cervantes
29 September 1547 (assumed)
Alcalá de Henares, Crown of Castile
Died22 April 1616(1616-04-22) (aged 68)[5]
Madrid, Crown of Castile
Resting placeConvent of the Barefoot Trinitarians, Madrid
OccupationSoldier, tax collector, accountant, purchasing agent for Navy
(writing was an avocation which did not produce much income)
LanguageSpanish
NationalitySpanish
Notable worksDon Quixote
Entremeses
Novelas ejemplares
SpouseCatalina de Salazar y Palacios
ChildrenIsabel c.1584 (illegitimate) [6]
Signature

No authenticated image of Cervantes exists. He wanted a now-lost portrait by Juan de Jáuregui used as a frontispiece of his Exemplary Novels. Since the publisher would not pay for the engraving this would require, Cervantes supplied in its place a description of himself:

This person whom you see here, with an oval visage, chestnut hair, smooth open forehead, lively eyes, a hooked but well-proportioned nose, and silvery beard that twenty years ago was golden, large moustache, small mouth, teeth not much to speak of, for he has only six, in bad condition and worse placed, no two of them corresponding to each other, a figure midway between the two extremes, neither tall nor short, a vivid complexion, rather fair than dark, somewhat stooped in the shoulders, and not very lightfooted.[13]

Much of his life was spent in poverty and obscurity, while the bulk of his surviving work was produced in the three years preceding his death, when he was supported by the Count of Lemos and did not have to work. Despite this, his influence and literary contribution are reflected by the fact that Spanish is often referred to as "the language of Cervantes".[14]

An incident in the story of Don Quixote (1870), by English painter Robert Hillingford, depicts a scene from Cervantes's magnum opus.

In 1569, Cervantes was forced to leave Spain and moved to Rome, where he worked in the household of a cardinal. In 1570, he enlisted in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment, and was badly wounded at the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571. He served as a soldier until 1575, when he was captured by Barbary pirates; after five years in captivity, he was ransomed, and returned to Madrid.

His first significant novel, titled La Galatea, was published in 1585, but he continued to work as a purchasing agent, then later a government tax collector. Part One of Don Quixote was published in 1605, Part Two in 1615. Other works include the 12 Novelas ejemplares (Exemplary Novels); a long poem, the Viaje del Parnaso (Journey to Parnassus); and Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses (Eight Plays and Eight Entr'actes). Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda (The Travails of Persiles and Sigismunda), was published posthumously in 1616.