Miguel de Cervantes: International Man of Action

Portrait of Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra from a copper engraving from Johann Heinrich Lips.

Portrait of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra from a copper engraving by Johann Heinrich Lips.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is one of the most famous authors ever to grace our fair orb. His masterpiece, Don Quixote, should place in any respectable list of the greatest novels written, is the first modern European novel (if you believe Wikipedia) and is to the Spanish language what Shakespeare is to English. The image of the title character waging war on windmills is an enduring one and the word quixotic has entered our lexicon, though I challenge you to use in in everyday life. The book has inspired artwork, a ballet, musicals, numerous films and the Donkey Hodie puppet character from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Cervantes’ work is renowned, but the exploits of his life have gone mostly untold outside of Spain. This post is about his life, not his life’s work.

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