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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616)

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de (sėr-van’tēz or ther-vän’tes sä-ä-vā’drä). A celebrated Spanish romancist; born at Alcalá de Henares in 1547; died at Madrid, April 23, 1616. He wrote many romances and stories, but he lives in fame through ‘Don Quixote.’ He served some years in the army; was captured by corsairs and held five years in servitude. His first attempt in literature was the composition of a pastoral romance, ‘Galatea’ (1585), in the traditional style and spirit. Of twenty or thirty plays written by him, two only survive, and they have no celebrity. The first part of ‘Don Quixote’ was published in 1605, and it had a hearty reception from the beginning among the populace, though not among the cultured classes. Before the year was out, five editions, some authorized, others pirated, were published, and the Don and his grotesque retainer appeared like immemorial traditional characters in every pageant. The continuation of the immortal story, however, did not appear till 1615—and then because spurious continuations published under his name fairly forced Cervantes’s hand. Meanwhile he busied himself with writing poems and novels now forgotten. On all these dead works he bestowed great care before he gave them to the public: he wrote ‘Don Quixote’ with “running pen.” (See Critical and Biographical Introduction).