Gregorio Mayáns y Siscar finished writing the first biography of Cervantes in 1737, including a study of Don Quixote. It was published the following year. Its few pages attest to the scarcity of historical data and the abundance of literary references on Miguel de Cervantes. The first biographies of Cervantes, all designed to preface the luxurious standard 18th-century editions of Don Quixote, followed the same pattern.
Gregorio Mayáns y Siscar’s first biography of Cervantes was published in the luxury edition of Don Quixote printed in London in 1738, under the auspices of Lord Carteret. This is one of the 25 copies printed by Mayans to send to Lord Carteret and is the basis of the text that was printed in London according to one of his customs: not to trust manuscripts and typesetters’ interpretations of his handwriting.
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