Whenever you look for best sellers and known books, you will find yourself in the presence of Don Quixote. This book transcended language, and it is today a must-read (and you will not regret reading it).
Now, was the book as popular as it is now? Pretty much, but if we want to know if the author, Miguel de Cervantes, could get the earnings he deserved for such a masterpiece, we need to know a bit about history.
However, regardless of the outcome, he is an excellent example for those who want to write novels and earn the revenues worth the investment and time they put into it. Want to know more? Just keep reading!
Who Was Miguel de Cervantes?
To know a book, you must know the author behind it first.
Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish writer born on September 29, 1547, and died on April 22, 1616.
This author is worldwide known as the best and greatest writer in Spanish and one of the best in all languages.
He wrote a lot and his most famous work is undoubtedly Don Quixote which is why you will notice all the mentions in history about this novel in particular.
Miguel de Cervantes was and continues to be considered one of the world’s pre-eminent novelists thanks to his work with Don Quixote.
But what he this successful before the novel was published? On the contrary, Cervantes and his family went through many difficulties.
His father, Rodrigo de Cervantes, was a man who carried a debt most of the time and did not have a fixed work to rely on.
Leonor de Cortinas was Miguel de Cervantes’ mother. Although there is not much information about it, we know she died in October 1593, had seven children, and was educated despite the time they were living.
Most of Cervantes’ early years focus on his father and the struggle of his mother to support all the family by herself after Rodrigo was imprisoned from 1553 to 1554 for being in debt.
The entire family (including Miguel’s siblings) lived in Córdoba till 1556, and there are no registers until 1564 when they are known for living in Sevilla.
Miguel de Cervantes presumptively attended the Jesuit college in Seville. However, this is only a supposition.
In 1566, due to his father’s debts again, they had to move to Madrid.
Between 1566 and 1580, Cervantes fought in the Spanish wars of succession, and later, he enlisted as a privateer to fight against pirates.
He fought many battles until 1575 when Barbary pirates captured him for five years until he was ransomed and returned.
Over these 14 years, he offered military service and was captured; there is only information and records of his fights and victories, but not much about his interests or extra details.
It was in Madrid in 1585 when Cervantes was able to publish his first book, La Galatea. This book was published without a name, and it had very few editions (only two). It’s about the adventures of an Andalusian shepherd who falls in love with Leonor.
From Galatea to Don Quixote
Or not exactly.
Although he attributed himself as the author of over 20 plays and many other novels, Miguel de Cervantes spent 20 years without publishing more of his work besides Galatea and a few poems.
All this was until Don Quixote was published.
Cervantes wrote it in two parts: the first part being published in 1605.
But what is the novel about? Why was it such a success?
Don Quixote revolves around the adventures of an old, delusional gentleman called Alonso Quixano, who reads too many books about chivalry and knights and loses his mind. He is also introduced with the surname Don Quixote de la Mancha.
He wants to live his life as a knight-errant with all honor that entails.
The story follows his journey in which he meets many different people, such as the impoverished man who is not above begging and his servant Sancho Panza.
Don Quixote also meets Dulcinea del Toboso, a woman he idolizes for her beauty and purity even though she barely knows Don’s existence.
The second part was published in 1615. It begins where the first part leaves off.
Don Quixote is still living in his delusion that he is a knight-errant, with Sancho Panza as his squire, and they are going on adventures together.
The second book revolves around Don’s quest for Dulcinea when an evil Duke
abducts her and returns to the focus of Quixano having lost his mind and makes sure to provide an excellent conclusion for this.
Nowadays, the novel is published as a single work, which means you do not have to look for both parts when deciding to read it for the first time or after a long time.
If you ask us, it is worth your time a hundred percent, and if you are interested in being just as successful as the author, you shouldn’t wait any longer to give it a try.
Since Miguel de Cervantes published the novel Don Quixote in 1605, it has been translated into more than sixty languages and printed in more than two hundred editions.
One of the most influential works, and it remains one of the best-known novels worldwide. The text is written as a parody: “it is not just about life but about how to live.”
Is Don Quixote Successful in Numbers?
Don’t get surprised by what we will say, but Don Quixote is the world’s best-selling book of all time.
It has sold over 500 million copies, and although the receipts of sales since its publication are not saved, it is easy to determine this number of copies based on the most recent years.
This is why many believe it has sold over 600 million copies, and to this date, the number continues to increase.
But what about the author? Did he earn his part?
This is a challenging topic for us since Cervantes was never appropriately paid for his work.
The first part of Don Quixote was written while he was in prison, and when it was published, he didn’t get any royalties for the work or very close to none.
Many believe that his prison keeper took advantage of that situation and claimed Cervantes’ manuscript as his own in order to sell copies. This allowed him to earn more money than Cervantes himself did from this publication, but luckily, things changed after the second part was published.
There are no apparent records about Cervantes’ earnings with the novel since we are going back to 1605-1615.
Then, why do we believe he was never paid? Because he always lived in difficulties, with economic problems and debts, and it is hard to determine this with the proofs found so far.
Besides, the 17th century was harsh for writers. Editorials usually denied royalties to writers, and they had a hard time living off their work.
It is such a shame considering how popular the book was right in 1605 and 1615 and between those years, and the fact it is now the best-selling novel of all times.
Don Quixote on The Big Screen
There are MANY films based on this unforgettable story.
“Don Quixote,” a 1947 film, was the first adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ famous book.
This movie was one of the first to be filmed in color, and it is considered a masterpiece by some critics.
The film has been praised for its faithfulness to the original text and for having maintained an appropriate balance between comedy and tragedy, which are two usual features found in the novel.
However, to this date, there are over ten different films based on the novel, being “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” the most recent one (2018), which has a focus on comedy and adventure more than the tragedy itself.
Most of the movies from the book are called “Don Quixote” with some variations for those animated, and some musicals written from it.
Why Was (And Is) Don Quixote A Big Hit?
We are not dealing with a very recent book, and many reviews people can give you online or in-person.
Going back to 1605 to know what people thought about the novel in specific is a bit hard, and, at the same time, we can already guess that they loved the comedy and tragedy in the book.
But to understand why Don Quixote became popular, it is more a matter of literature and literary trends.
The text is written in a creative style, and it was created to make fun of what people often think about novels.
Cervantes’ goal was to make readers rethink their concept about literature, focusing on how they should read books instead of just taking them for granted as something that shouldn’t be thought over.
If we had to use technical words, we could say Cervantes satirized this literature and chivalric novels model.
And believe it or not, Miguel just wanted to ridicule chivalric novels. Hard to believe, right?
This is why he significantly impacted the world with the character he created (Quixote) and the story of madness due to all the chivalric novels and books our main character read.
Don Quixote is the first modern novel, and it exerted a crucial influence on the later European narrative.
Fun & Interesting Facts About Don Quixote
- Cervantes named the main character after his wife’s uncle, and the complete characterization is based on him!
- He loved to play with words, and he had a good sense of humor. This is why the novel brings many comedy moments.
- The main character of the book was an inspiration for Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso.
- The book has been translated into sixty languages.
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