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  • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered to be the first modern European novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that the language is often called la lengua de Cervantes. He was dubbed El Príncipe de los Ingenios. In 1569, Cervantes moved to Rome where he worked as chamber assistant of a wealthy priest. Cervantes then enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian corsairs. After 5 years of slavery he was released on ransom from his captors by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order. He subsequently returned to his family in Madrid. In 1585, Cervantes published a pastoral novel named La Galatea. Because of financial problems, he worked as a purveyor for the Spanish Armada, and later as a tax collector. In 1597, discrepancies in his accounts of three years previous landed him in the Crown Jail of Seville. In 1605, he was in Valladolid when the immediate success of the first part of his Don Quixote, published in Madrid, signaled his return to the literary world. In 1607, he settled in Madrid, where he lived and worked until his death. During the last 9 years of his life, Cervantes solidified his reputation as a writer; he published the Novelas ejemplares in 1613, the Journey to Parnassus in 1614, and in 1615, the Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses and the 2nd part of Don Quixote. Carlos Fuentes noted that, "Cervantes leaves the page open where the reader knows himself read and the author written." Wikipedia

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