“En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un hidalgo de los de lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, rocín flaco y galgo corredor.”
Thus begins the most famous and widely read fiction novel in the world, “Don Quijote de la Mancha”, written by the Spanish Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The original title is “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha” and it was published in two parts, one in 1605 and the second part was not published until 10 years later in 1615.
Although it is currently not known exactly, it is believed that more than 400 million copies have been sold worldwide. Despite the fact that the first edition had only about 1,500 copies.
The book is translated into more than 50 languages, second only to The Bible. The first copy in English was sold at auction for $ 1.5 million in 1989.
Cervantes is thought to have devised, and even began to write, Don Quixote while in prison. But it is not known in which prison, since the writer was imprisoned up to four times: two for his suspicious activities as a collector, one as a prisoner of war in Algiers and another for the discrediting of his family.
Although he is known worldwide as “the one-armed of Lepanto”, the truth is that Cervantes did not lack a hand. At the Battle of Lepanto, in which an army of the Ottoman Empire fought against a Catholic coalition called the Holy League, he was shot several times in the chest and in the hand. After several months in the hospital, the wounds on his chest were able to heal, but not that of his hand, rendering it useless for life.
Although Sancho Panza has always been recreated as an obese person, both in images and in movies, in the book he is not described that way.
Thomas Albert Lathrop went so far as to affirm, in “Don Quixote’s Contradictions Explained” (University of Delaware), that in this masterpiece of world literature when something is said, sooner or later it is contradicted. In other words, Don Quixote is plagued with errors and inaccuracies, but it is thought that they are included on purpose, since in the other Cervantine works errors are not appreciated.
Miguel de Cervantes, despite being one of the best writers in world literature, did not have an easy life. He was poor for much of his life, as Don Quixote became successful after his death. He lived through wars, slavery and was several times in jail.
Despite all this, the most important work of this Spanish genius has left famous phrases for history:
– “The year that is abundant with poetry, it is usually hungry.”
-“Ingratitude is the daughter of pride”
– “O memory, mortal enemy of my rest! ”
– “He who retires does not flee”