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Cervantes

Overview

The life of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, has always posed a puzzle to scholars: a tantalizing patchwork of myth, fact, and conjecture. We know that he was a soldier and later a tax collector; that he was maimed in battle at Lepanto and held prisoner of war by the Turks; that he was thrown in jail, and later excommunicated; that he vanished from view for years at a time; and that at the age of 57, in 1605, he published the masterpiece that was both the first modern novel and...
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Overview

The life of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, has always posed a puzzle to scholars: a tantalizing patchwork of myth, fact, and conjecture. We know that he was a soldier and later a tax collector; that he was maimed in battle at Lepanto and held prisoner of war by the Turks; that he was thrown in jail, and later excommunicated; that he vanished from view for years at a time; and that at the age of 57, in 1605, he published the masterpiece that was both the first modern novel and the first best seller.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Little is known about the life of the father of the modern novel. Like his contemporary Shakespeare, Cervantes fascinates because he is approached most closely through his writings. Here a professor at the University of Caen, in Normandy, offers a collage-like portrait, separating what is certain about Cervantes from the imagined and the plausible, placing him into his milieu, Spain's Golden Age, in the effort to discover ``that ever-present absentee whose unmistakable voice we always recognize among a thousand others.'' Unfortunately, much of the book is speculative, raising more questions than answers. Canavaggio mixes tenses, sometimes using the past, present and future in one paragraph; the prose, while exuberant, is rambling. This is an ambitious, adulatory biography. (Mar.)
Library Journal
To the well-known biographical details of Don Quixote's creator--soldier, hero of Lepanto, prisoner of war, inept gov ernment worker, unhappy husband-- Canavaggio's popularized treatment offers no new discoveries. The author, a Cervantine specialist, eschews scholarly apparatus, the most glaring violation of which is the failure to follow up textual references with appropriate footnotes. The English translation not only lacks the stylistic fluidity of the 1986 original, but also excludes the genealogical tables and maps as well. Libraries that already own Francisco Navarro y Ledesma's Cervantes: The Man and the Genius ( LJ 1/1/73; o.p.) or William Byron's Cervantes: A Biography ( LJ 9/15/78) may find themselves already sufficiently served.-- Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
Booknews
Renowned Cervantes scholar Canavaggio (U. of Caen, France) won the Prix Goncourt for biography in 1987 with the original French edition of this speculative inquiry into the life of the great Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. Translated from the French by J.R. Jones. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393028126
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/1990
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,063,019
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.81 (d)

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