Miguel de Cervantes biography

Miguel de Cervantes

Playwright, Author

1547 – 1616


Who was Miguel de Cervantes?

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered to be the first modern European novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that the language is often called la lengua de Cervantes. He was dubbed El Príncipe de los Ingenios.

In 1569, Cervantes moved to Rome where he worked as chamber assistant of Giulio Acquaviva, a wealthy priest who became a cardinal during the following year. By then, Cervantes had enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian corsairs. After five years of slavery he was released on ransom from his captors by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order. He subsequently returned to his family in Madrid.

In 1585, Cervantes published a pastoral novel named La Galatea. Because of financial problems, Cervantes worked as a purveyor for the Spanish Armada, and later as a tax collector. In 1597, discrepancies in his accounts of three years previous landed him in the Crown Jail of Seville. In 1605, he was in Valladolid, just when the immediate success of the first part of his Don Quixote, published in Madrid, signaled 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 in 1613, the Journey to Parnassus in 1614, and in 1615, the Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses and the second part of Don Quixote. Carlos Fuentes noted that, "Cervantes leaves open the pages of a book where the reader knows himself to be written."

Famous Quotes:

  • Wenn die Hunde bellen, dann weil wir galoppieren.
  • There is no greater folly in the world than for a man to despair.
  • Good actions ennoble us, and we are the sons of our own deeds.
  • The eyes those silent tongues of love.
  • Take away the cause, and the effect ceases.
  • You are a king by your own fireside, as much as any monarch in his throne.
  • Every man is as heaven made him, and sometimes a great deal worse.
  • Alas! all music jars when the soul's out of tune.
  • He preaches well that lives well.
  • Good painters imitate nature, bad ones spew it up.


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"Miguel de Cervantes." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 22 Sep. 2020. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/miguel_de_cervantes>.

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Sep 29, 1547
Alcalá de Henares
Also known as
  • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra
  • Miguel Cervantes
  • Miguel de Cervantès Saavedra
  • Cervantes
  • miˈɣel de θerˈβantes saaˈβeðɾa
  • Castilian people
  • Spain
  • University of Salamanca
Lived in
  • Algeria
    (1575 - 1580)
  • Archipelago of the Azores
  • Toledo
  • Madrid
    (1580 - )
Apr 22, 1616

on July 23, 2013

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