WHO WAS HE?
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29 September 1547 – 23 April 1616) was a Spanish writer. His most famous book was Don Quijote de la Mancha. It is considered the first modern novel, and therefore Cervantes was the first novelist.The book has been published in 65 countries. The work is considered among the most important in all of literature. He is sometimes called "The Prince of Satire"
Nobody knows for sure the reasons that forced Cervantes to leave Castile. Whether he was a "student" of the same name, a "sword-wielding fugitive from justice", or fleeing from a royal warrant of arrest, for having wounded a certain Antonio de Sigura in a duel, is another mystery.
In any event, in going to Italy, Cervantes was doing what many young Spaniards of the time did to further their careers.
Rome would reveal to the young artist its ecclesiastic pomp, ritual, and majesty. In a city teeming with ruins Cervantes could focus his attention on Renaissance art, architecture, and poetry (knowledge of Italian literature is readily discernible in his own productions) and on rediscovering antiquity. He could find in the ancients "a powerful impetus to revive the contemporary world in light of its accomplishments". Thus, Cervantes' continuing desire for Italy, as revealed in his later works, was in part a desire for a return to an earlier period of the Renaissance.
MILITARY HISTORY AND CAPTIVITY
In 1569, Cervantes moved to Rome, where he worked as chamber assistant of a cardinal. In 1571, he decided to join the Spanish fleet at the battle of Lepanto, a major clash between the Catholic states and the Ottomans for the control of the Mediterranean. Following this, Cervantes pursued his military career, but it was cut short when he was captured by Ottoman pirates and taken to Algiers, which had become one of the main and most cosmopolitan cities of the Ottoman Empire, and was kept here in captivity between the years of 1575 and 1580. In 1580, after his captivity, he was released by his captors on payment of a ransom by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order, and he subsequently returned to his family in Madrid.
In 1585, Cervantes published a pastoral novel named La Galatea. He worked as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada, and later as a tax collector for the government. In 1597, discrepancies in his accounts for three years previous landed him in the Crown Jail of Seville.
In 1605, he was in Valladolid when the immediate success of the first part of his Don Quixote, published in Madrid, signalled his return to the literary world. In 1607, he settled in Madrid, where he lived and worked until his death. During the last nine years of his life, Cervantes solidified his reputation as a writer; he published the Novelas ejemplares (Exemplary Novels) in 1613, the Journey to Parnassus (Viaje al Parnaso) in 1614, and the Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses and the second part of Don Quixote in 1615. His last work Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda (The Works of Persiles and Sigismunda) was published posthumously, in 1617.
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