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BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF CERVANTES
ON the 9th of October, 1547. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the youngest child of Rodrigo de Cervantes and Leonora de Cortinas, was baptized in the church of St.
Mary Major (Santa María la Mayor), in the city of Alcalá de Henares, The exact date of his birth is uncertain, but it is not improbable that he was born on the 29th of September preceding, and that he was christened Miguel, after St. Michael, to whom that day is dedicated.
Both his parents were descended from illustrious houses; his father was a member of a Castilian family, which had for years been renowned both in Spain and in the colonies, and which a century before Miguel’s birth had formed an alliance with the Saavedra’s.
The ancient glories of the family had, however, well nigh departed, when, in the small city of Alcalá de Henares, the child was born of comparatively poor parents, who was destined, as well by his dauntless heroism as by his surpassing literary genius,
to eclipse the ancient fame of his race, and achieve a reputation so illustrious that the proudest cities of his fatherland jealously contended for the honorable reputation of being his birthplace.
The university of his native town, founded some half-century earlier by Cardinal Ximenes, probably afforded Miguel de Cervantes opportunities for study in his youth,
of which he availed himself, and though he later enjoyed some years’ study at the famous University of Salamanca, he seems to have ever cherished genial memories of the town where he spent his boyhood, which he speaks of more than once in his writings as “Famoso Henares.”
At a very early age, Cervantes exhibited a thirst for knowledge and a remarkable taste for poetry and dramatic compositions.
The story told in “Don Quixote” of the pieces of paper picked up, and found to be inscribed with an Arabic version of the life of the Don, is no doubt founded on the habit to which he was himself addicted when a youth, of collecting even stray scraps of paper, in the hope of obtaining some information from them.
His taste for the drama and poetry was fostered by the opportunities which he had of being present at the performance of the comedies which Lope de Rueda inaugurated, about the middle of the sixteenth century, in the principal towns and cities of Castile.
Cervantes first appeared in print as the author of six poems of very little merit, contributed by him to a volume published in 1569, in commemoration of the splendid obsequies of Isabella de Valois, wife of Philip II., which had been celebrated towards the close of the preceding year.
In this volume his friend and instructor. Juan Lopez de Hoyos, an accomplished ecclesiastic, makes mention of Miguel Cervantes as his “dear and beloved pupil,” and speaks of his poems in such terms of praise as do more credit, however, to his kindly feelings for his disciple than to the soundness of his literary taste.
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The history of Don Quixote Book PDF Free Download