Miguel de Cervantes Biography & Works
Miguel de Cervantes was born in Alcala de Henares, Spain in 1547. His day of birth was not recorded, but is believed to have been the 29th of September, the day of the feast day of St. Michael. This guess is based on his name, and the fact that he was baptized on October 9th, 1547, only a few days after the feast. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, Cervantes is almost exclusively known for his portrait of El Ingenioso Hidalgo, even though his literary legacy is considerable. It is believed that Shakespeare had read Don Quixote, but it is very unlikely that Cervantes had ever heard of Shakespeare.
He was the son of a surgeon who presented himself as a nobleman. Cervantes' mother seems to have been a descendant of Jewish converts to Christianity. Not much is known of his early years, but it is believed that he spent most of his childhood on the move from one town to another, on account of his father's work. Cervantes studied in Madrid from 1568 to 1569 and then went to Rome in the service of Guilio Acquavita. In Italy, he familiarized himself with Italian literature, which was later heavily reflected in his work.
Cervantes published his first major work, La Galatea, a pastoral romance, in 1585. La Galatea did not garner much contemporary notice, causing Cervantes to never write the continuation for it, something he had promised to deliver.
Cervantes let a poor life until 1605, when the first portion of Don Quixote was completed. Although it did not make Cervantes rich, it earned him respect as a writer. Cervantes produced his continuation, or "Second Part", of Don Quixote, which made its appearance in 1615. He died in Madrid on April 23, 1616.
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