Don Quixote is a book written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Cervantes was a Spanish writer who is commonly referred to as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world's greatest authors. Not a lot is known about Cervantes’ youth but, it is assumed that Cervantes was born in Alcalá de Henares (a Castilian city about 22 miles north of Madrid) around the 29th of September, 1547. Miguel’s last name was not “Cervantes Saavedra” at birth. He adopted the "Saavedra" part as an adult. He was baptized in Alcalá de Henares on October 9, 1547 at the parish church of Santa María la Mayor. His father, Rodrigo de Cervantes, was a barber-surgeon from Córdoba, who set bones, performed blood-lettings, and attended to minor medical issues. His mother, Leonor de Cortinas, was a native of Arganda del Rey and the daughter of a nobleman, who lost all his money and had to sell Leonor into marriage in 1543. This led to a very awkward marriage between Leonor and Rodrigo. Because of this, Rodrigo had several affairs. Leonor died on October 19, 1593.
Cervantes spent much of his childhood moving from town to town with his family. Eventually, he enrolled in The Imperial School, a Jesuit school for boys in Madrid. According to court records from that era, his family was very poor. Cervantes had 6 siblings. His siblings were Andr©s, Andrea, Luisa, Rodrigo, Magdalena and Juan.
In 1569, Cervantes was exiled from Castile.From Castile, he moved to Rome where he found work as a chamber assistant for a cardinal. Later on, he enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment. Cervantes continued his military service until 1575, when he was captured by Barbary pirates. After five years of captivity, his parents, along with the help of the Trinitarians, paid ransom for him to be released. After his run in with pirates, he worked as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada and later as a tax collector for the government. In 1597, discrepancies in some of his accounts landed him in the Crown Jail of Seville.
In 1605, Cervantes 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, publishing Novelas ejemplares (Exemplary Novels) in 1613, Viaje del Parnaso (Journey to Parnassus) in 1614, and Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses and the second part of Don Quixote in 1615. His last work, Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda (The Travails of Persiles and Sigismunda), was published posthumously in 1617.
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