Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra [ miɣel dE θeɾβantes sa.aβeðɾa ] (* probably September 29, 1547 in Alcalá de Henares, baptized on October 9, 1547 in Alcalá de Henares, † April 23, 1616 in Madrid) was a Spanish writer. The author of Don Quixote is considered to be Spain's national poet.

  • 5.1 Biographies
  • 5.2 bibliographies


Origin and study

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born as the fourth of seven children of an impoverished noble family in Alcalá de Henares. His parents were Rodrigo de Cervantes, a surgeon unsuccessful, and Leonor de Cortinas.

The young Cervantes studied theology at the universities of Salamanca and Madrid.

Flight to Rome and entry into the Spanish Navy

Miguel de Cervantes led a very adventurous life. After studies with the humanist Juan López de Hoyos in Madrid, he moved in 1569 to escape from the Spanish justice initially to Rome. There he appeared as a valet in the service of Cardinal Giulio Acquaviva. In the same year he went into a stationed in Naples unity of the Spanish Navy. As a member of Infantería de Marina 1571 he took part in the Battle of Lepanto, in the Juan de Austria fought against the Turks. He received three gunshot wounds, two in the chest, one in the left hand remained permanently disfigured, so he got the nickname el manco de Lepanto ( the one-handed from Lepanto ). In a nod to his success with the Don Quixote he wrote later in history Viaje del Parnaso that he had " the ability to move his left hand, lost for the glory of his right ."

Slave in Algiers

After another few years in the Spanish Navy Cervantes was captured by Algerian corsairs in June 1575 and taken as a slave to Algiers. Only after five years and four unsuccessful escape attempts, he was ransomed in 1580 by the Trinitarian order and returned to Spain on September 19. 1580-82 he took again a soldier part in the military expeditions of Spain to Portugal and the Azores.

Husband and writer

In his first, remained without attention play Los tratos de Argel he recorded his experiences from captivity. He was deeply in debt, and finally tried to establish himself as a writer and as to earn some money. 1584 published his first novel, La primera parte de la Galatea ( was the first translation into German under the title The Galatea First part by Felix Schnurr man already 1588). In the same year he married the 18 years younger Catalina de Salazar y Palacios, daughter of a wealthy farmer. This compound had no children, but he had made ​​an affair with actress Ana Franca de Rojas, a daughter, Isabel de Saavedra. End of the 80s he separated from his wife.

In May 1590 he applied in writing for the vacant post of governor become the Central American province of Soconusco; However, his request was refused. After that he worked as a " commissioner of the Navy Supply Management" and spent 3 months for alleged misappropriation of state funds 1597/98 in the prison of Seville in custody. A second prison stay in 1602 is not clearly established.

There he began working on his most important work ingenioso El Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha ( The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha ), whose first part appeared in 1605. He published the second part of 1615th emerged between the two parts in 1613 Cervantes ' Novelas ejemplares, translated into German as Exemplary stories. In 1616 he completed the novel Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismundo ( Ed. Madrid 1617). Don Quixote brought him indeed the longed-for success, but he lost the money thus gained again, and died April 23, 1616 in Madrid impoverished. He was buried in the monastery of the Barefoot Trinitarierinnen.


Don Quixote

Novelas ejemplares

1613 Novelas ejemplares were published. It is a collection of twelve short stories. The collection was a great success and was told since they were first published numerous editions and was translated into numerous languages. Cervantes sees itself as the first that applies the genre of the novel in Spanish literature. In his preface, he points out that, in contrast to his other novels in Spain spread ' Novelas ' only translations and imitations of foreign originals were. The exemplarity of his short stories is given in two ways. Firstly, it is the exemplarity in a moral sense and on the other, a exemplarity in relation to the literary form will be accepted. However, the Cervantes points out in his preface that he was doing not so much to preach a certain morality, as to make the reader his unfilled hours interesting. Entertainment and moral instruction found in the exemplary novels at the same time its expression. In the literature, the 12 novels are often divided into two groups:

Various influences are assigned to the Novelas ejemplares. For example, the theater of the Golden Age (especially in the dialogue management ), the humanist dialogue, Knight and pastoral romance, and the picaresque novel. However, the influence of his Italian predecessor, especially of Giovanni Boccaccio, is controversial, even if he could learn in terms of narrative technique and representation of reality from Boccaccio, Bandello and Cinthio.


  • La primera parte de la Galatea, pastoral romance, Alcalá 1585 (German Galatea, Berlin 1787)
  • El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, Roman, Madrid in 1605 and 1615 (English Don Quixote of La Mancha, Carl Hanser Verlag, 2008)
  • Novelas ejemplares, short story cycle, Madrid 1613 (German Moral stories, Leipzig 1779), in: La gitanilla ( The Gypsy Girl ) German extract in Adalbert wedge Ed.: The Prophecy. Gypsy stories. Series: Gold 's Yellow # TB in 1622. Munich 1965. Pp. 5f. ( An Anthology, first Kurt Desch, ibid 1964)
  • As Drama: Pius Alexander Wolff, Preciosa. Romantic drama, music by Carl Maria von Weber, 1821
  • El gallardo español ( The dashing Spaniard ), Comedy
  • La casa de los zelos y Selva de Ardenia ( The House of jealousy and the forests of Ardenia ) Comedy
  • Los Baños de Argel ( The prisons of Algiers )
  • El rufián dichoso ( The happiness -like pimp )
  • La gran sultana Doña Catalina de Oviedo ( The Großsultanin Catherine of Oviedo)
  • El laberinto de amor ( The Love Maze)
  • La entretenida ( The exuberant woman room)
  • Pedro de Urdemalas (Peter ne'er-do ), Verskomödie in three acts
  • El juez de los divorcios ( The divorce court )
  • El rufián viudo, llamado Trampagos ( The widowed crooks )
  • La elección de los alcaldes de Daganzo ( Judges choice of Daganzo )
  • La guarda cuydadosa ( The Watchful items )
  • El vizcayno fingido ( The wrong Biscayan )
  • El retablo de las maravillas (The Miracle Theatre)
  • La Cueva de Salamanca ( The Cave of Salamanca), dramatic interlude
  • El viejo zeloso ( The Jealous Old )

Reception and awards

According to Cervantes, the cultural institute Instituto Cervantes and the Cervantespreis, the most important literary award in the Spanish-speaking world, was named. Several theater bearing his name. The 10 -, 20 - and 50 - cent coins of the Spanish euro coins bear a Cervantes figure.