Would we still remember Miguel de Cervantes, 400 years later, if his literary career had ended at this point? A pastoral novel, a chivalric novel, several plays and hundreds of poems is a paltry record for an author in a period known as the Golden Age. It was the snippets of life he published eight years after the triumph of the first Don Quixote that raised him above other writers of the day and laid the foundations for Miguel de Cervantes the legend.
It took Miguel de Cervantes eight years to publish his next work following the success of the first part of Don Quixote. This is one of many mysteries surrounding Cervantes’s life. Would it not have been more usual to have taken advantage of how well the Ingenious Gentleman had sold to bring out a sequel soon afterwards? Would it not have been logical for Cervantes to have done so bearing in mind that the adventures recounted in the second part begin only a month after the character arrives back in his village? Cervantes returned to the printing press with a singular work: a collection of “novellas” without a narrative framework, beginning with La gitanilla (trans. The Little Gypsy Girl), one of his most fascinating and surprising works.
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