“[…] you are a devil at everything; and there is no kind of thing in the versal world but what you can turn your hand to.”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, from Don Quixote (1605 – 1615)
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, also Cervantes, (c. September 29, 1547 – April 22, 1616) 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 Don Quixote, a classic of Western Literature, published in two parts between 1605 and 1615, sometimes considered the first modern novel, and also considered by many the most influential work of fiction ever written. Despite his subsequent fame, much of Cervantes’ life is uncertain, including his name, background and what he looked like. Much of his life was spent in poverty and obscurity, many of its details are disputed or unknown, and the bulk of his surviving work was produced in the three years preceding his death. Cervantes was a struggling writer, unable to live off the proceeds of his work. Much of his work has sadly been lost. In 1585, he published La Galatea, a conventional Pastoral romance that received little contemporary notice. Aside from some short-lived plays and some poems, by 1605, Cervantes had not been published for 20 years. Don Quixote was his breakthrough into fame at the age of 58. His influence and literary contribution are reflected by the fact Spanish is often referred to as “the language of Cervantes”. He died from what is believed to have been diabetes, and was buried in central Madrid. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is now considered one of the greatest writers to have ever lived.