Friday, January 07, 2005

A little Don Quixote goes a long way

[So funny, I mistakenly posted this on my own Blogger blog!]

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Born around September 29 to October 9, 1547, the latter being the date he was baptized. (I like to say he was born September 30, so that I share his birthdate.) ;o)

He was number 4 or 6 out of 7 siblings; his mother Leonor de Cortinas, and father Rodrigo de Cervantes Saavedra. On his father’s side, Cervantes’ grandfather, who had studied law and served as Judge in the Holy Inquisition, abandoned a life of prestige, leaving his wife and children to poverty. Cervantes’ father then became a barber in order to take care of his family, and so Cervantes spent his childhood in an eternal pilgrimage throughout the cities. The events of his early life seemed to have served as a mold for what the rest of Cervantes' life would be like, one destined to be poor, showered with ill fortune.

He learned to read at a very early age, which was not common in their time, and that is credited to his father; as a teenager he was very shy and stuttered; I know Cervantes was in jail for a little less than a year for not paying debts. Poverty was the norm throughout his entire life. Cervantes was actually in and out of prison and war for most of his adult life, from which he attempted numerous escapes.

Some argue that he was a professor at Hoyos; he lost use of his left hand which earned him the nickname “el manco de Lepanto”.

By age 33 he had already several children from several different women; he married Catalina de Salazar y Palacio, from a little town in La Mancha, at 37. She was almost 20 years younger I believe, and it is said that this was an arranged marriage.

In 1587, he joined the Madrid’s First Literary Circle, at Academia Imitatoria. Sometime during 1594, Cervantes’ mother died. Shortly after, he landed in jail again, and it’s said that it was there that he began writing Don Quixote. It appeared later, in 1605, giving him instant fame. Part one was published in six editions during its first year, and was promptly translated to English and French. Yet, there was no monetary bounty for poor Miguel de Cervantes.

In 1614, José de Avellaneda (I hope I remember his name right) came up with an unofficial second part to Don Quixote. This prompted Cervantes to write the second part to Don Quixote, in 1615, while he was still working on Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses nuevos nunca representados.

His first work was La Galatea (prose-romance). Other writings during years 1613 and 1614 include Novelas Ejemplares (collection of short stories), and Viaje al Parnaso, the verses (poetic satire-?). Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda 1616, (considered Byzantine novel-?; fictional prose)

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra died on April 23, 1616, in his home in Madrid.

My mom has promised to send me the rest of my notes from high school. My high school? Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, located in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Can you tell how much I love “mi querido Don Quijote de la Mancha”? :o)

I can't wait for my new book to arrive! I'm headed to B&N again tomorrow morning.


Blogger Isabella said...

This puts in perspective the claim I read (somewhere) that, the two parts being so very distinct from each other, DQ should be studied as two separate works.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

This is very interesting, I didn't know any of this. Wow!

12:36 PM  
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