Miguel de Cervantes Additional Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

In the most interesting of the eight comedies by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra published in 1615, Pedro the Artful Dodger, the title character dreams ambitiously of becoming all the great personages that a man can become—pope, prince, monarch, emperor, master of the world. After a career that is typical of a picaro or any other adventurous Spanish rogue of the time, Pedro finds his wishes realized when he becomes an actor and enters imaginatively into the ranks of the great. In much the same way, Cervantes’ great ambitions in life were never realized, and the only satisfaction he found was in a world he himself created.

In one sense, Cervantes’ greatest drama was his own life. Born in a small...

(The entire section is 502 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Scholars have begun to realize that the three greatest premodern Spanish writers were all of Jewish origin: They were conversos, in the ethnic jargon of the day—Jews converted to Christianity—and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was one of them. Many Jews had come to Spain with the Muslim conquerors of the Peninsula. In Spain, at first, they were well treated and often rose to positions of importance. From the Great Pogrom of 1391 in Spain onward, however, many had converted, nominally or in fact, to Christianity, realizing that once Spain was reconquered, they would be needed by neither the government nor the populace. All Jews still living in Spain and following Judaism were expelled in 1492 and dispersed to all parts of...

(The entire section is 1050 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111201528-Cervantes.jpg Miguel de Cervantes Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Nothing is known of the first twenty years of Miguel de Cervantes (sur-VAHN-teez) Saavedra’s life except that he is believed to have been born on September 29, 1547, and christened on October 9, 1547, in the church of Santa Maria in Alcalá de Henares, Spain, a small university town a little more than twenty miles northeast of Madrid. His father was Rodrigo de Cervantes, a ne’er-do-well surgeon who moved frequently from town to town while his mother probably remained in Alcalá with the children. Rodrigo’s was an old family that had seen better days, claiming hidalgo rank but now heavily in debt. Cervantes’ education seems to have been limited. In 1568, he was a student in the City School of Madrid, but he may have...

(The entire section is 958 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

In the gallery of universal and eternal symbols, two figures were thrust into fame by the pen of the great writer of the Golden Age of Spain, Miguel de Cervantes (sur-VAHN-teez). These two figures, one sad and gaunt, the other chubby and jovial, are the gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha and his squire, Sancho Panza. “Thin, shriveled, fanciful, and full of various thoughts,” the first, and “a man of a good nature but with very little salt in the crown of his head,” the second—both constitute an inseparable duality typifying all aspects of humanity through the ages.

Cervantes, author of Don Quixote de la Mancha, was “more versed in misfortunes than in verses.” Born in Alcalá de Henares in 1547,...

(The entire section is 1144 words.)