Spanish Authors

Spanish Authors
  • Miguel de Cervantes
  • Benito Jerónimo Feyjóo
  • Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
  • Antonio Machado Ruiz
  • Federico García Lorca
  • José Ortega y Gasset
  • Gonzalo de Berceo
  • Juan Ruiz
  • José María de Pereda
  • Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
  • Pío Baroja
  • Anonymous writers

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)

Born in 1547 in Alcalá de Henares, a town close to Madrid, this Spanish novelist, poet and playwright is regarded as being one of Spain's greatest literary figures in history. Born into a family of the minor nobility he studied in Madrid and later became a soldier. Seriously wounded during a battle in Lepanto, his left hand was maimed for life. Captured by Turks, he was taken to Algier as a slave and remained there for five years until enough money was raised by his family to pay for his freedom.

In 1585 he married Catalina de Salazar, 22 years his junior and soon after published several works, a pastoral novel, La Galatea , and several plays, El trato de argel and El cerco de Numancia, He wandered to Andalusia where he worked as a tax collector and in 1597, due to financial troubles with the government, he was thrown into prison.

According to legend, Cervantes wrote his undisputed masterpiece, "Don Quixote", while imprisoned in Argamasilla in La Mancha. The story's main character imagines himself as a gallant knight having glorious adventures and performing the daring, chivalrous feats typical of medieval tales. The story was issued in parts, with the first one entitled "El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de La Mancha" (1605, The ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha). Although the fact that he used common everyday language to tell the story was criticized at first, as some regarded it as being an intrusion into the literary context, the novel was a success within a mere 2 weeks of publication. However due to pirate copies and the author's lack of financial skills, his creation did not make him wealthy.

In the last decade of his life, Cervantes produced several more literary pieces including "Novelas ejemplares" in 1613, "Viaje del Parnaso" in 1614 and "Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses" a year later. He also released the second part of "Don Quixote" during this time. His last literary creation which he managed to finish three days before his death on April 22 in 1616 was entitled "Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda".