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One of Spain's most famous writers, Miguel de Cervantes created one of the world's greatest literary masterpieces, Don Quixote, in the early 1600s.
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The title character soon gets lost in his own fantasy world, believing he is one of these knights, and convinces a poor peasant, Sancho Panza, to serve as his squire. In one scene, Don Quixote even fights a windmill, mistaking it for a beast. Quixote regains his senses before the novel ends.
The became the world's first best-seller, eventually being translated into more than 60 different languages. De Cervantes published the second part of the story in 1615.
Don Quixote did not make de Cervantes wealthy; at the time, authors did not receive royalties for their works. De Cervantes continued to write after the success of Don Quixote, but he failed to finish The Labors of Persiles and Segismunda before his death. De Cervantes died on April 23, 1616, in Madrid. He was buried on the grounds of a convent there, in an unmarked grave.
Since his passing, de Cervantes has been credited with writing the first modern novel. His work has inspired countless other authors, including Gustave Flaubert, Henry Fielding and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. And the story of Don Quixote has been retold in many ways, including in the popular musical The Man of La Mancha and in an artwork by Pablo Picasso.
De Cervantes married Catalina de Salazar y Palacios in 1584. The couple remained married until de Cervantes's death. They never had any children, but de Cervantes did have a daughter from a prior relationship, Isabel de Saavedra.
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