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CERVERA

hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha was published at Tarragona in 1614. On the assumption that Fernandez de Avellaneda is a pseudonym, this spurious sequel has been ascribed to the king’s confessor, Luis de Aliaga, to Cervantes’ old enemy, Blanco de Paz, to his old friend, Bartolomé Leonardo de Argensola, to the three great dramatists, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina and Ruiz de Alarcón, to Alonso Fernandez, to Juan José Martí, to Alfonso Lamberto, to Luis de Granada, and probably to others. Some of these attributions are manifestly absurd—for example, Luis de Granada died seventeen years before the first part of Don Quixote was published—and all of them are improbable conjectures; if Avellaneda be not the real name of the author, his identity is still undiscovered. His book is not devoid of literary talent and robust humour, and possibly he began it under the impression that Cervantes was no more likely to finish Don Quixote than to finish the Galatea. He should, however, have abandoned his project on reading the announcement in the preface to the Novelas exemplares; what he actually did was to disgrace himself by writing an insolent preface taunting Cervantes with his physical defects, his moral infirmities, his age, loneliness and experiences in jail. He was too intelligent to imagine that his continuation could hold its own against the authentic sequel, and malignantly avowed his intention of being first in the field and so spoiling Cervantes’ market. It is quite possible that Don Quixote might have been left incomplete but for this insulting intrusion; Cervantes was a leisurely writer and was, as he states, engaged on El Engaño à los ojos, Las Semanas del Jardín and El Famoso Bernardo, none of which have been preserved. Avellaneda forced him to concentrate his attention on his masterpiece, and the authentic second part of Don Quixote appeared towards the end of 1615. No book more signally contradicts the maxim, quoted by the Bachelor Carrasco, that “no second part was ever good.” It is true that the last fourteen chapters are damaged by undignified denunciations of Avellaneda; but, apart from this, the second part of Don Quixote is an improvement on the first. The humour is more subtle and mature; the style is of more even excellence; and the characters of the bachelor and of the physician, Pedro Recio de Agüero, are presented with a more vivid effect than any of the secondary characters in the first part. Cervantes had clearly profited by the criticism of those who objected to “the countless cudgellings inflicted on Señor Don Quixote,” and to the irrelevant interpolation of extraneous stories in the text. Don Quixote moves through the second part with unruffled dignity; Sancho Panza loses something of his rustic cunning, but he gains in wit, sense and manners. The original conception is unchanged in essentials, but it is more logically developed, and there is a notable progress in construction. Cervantes had grown to love his knight and squire, and he understood his own creations better than at the outset; more completely master of his craft, he wrote his sequel with the unfaltering confidence of a renowned artist bent on sustaining his reputation.

The first part of Don Quixote had been reprinted at Madrid in 1608; it had been produced at Brussels in 1607 and 1611, and at Milan in 1610; it had been translated into English in 1612 and into French in 1614. Cervantes was celebrated in and out of Spain, but his celebrity had not brought him wealth. The members of the French special embassy, sent to Madrid in February 1615, under the Commandeur de Sillery, heard with amazement that the author of the Galatea, the Novelas exemplares and Don Quixote was “old, a soldier, a gentleman and poor.” But his trials were almost at an end. Though failing in health, he worked assiduously at Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda, which, as he had jocosely prophesied in the preface to the second part of Don Quixote, would be “either the worst or the best book ever written in our tongue.” It is the most carefully written of his prose works, and the least animated or attractive of them; signs of fatigue and of waning powers are unmistakably visible. Cervantes was not destined to see it in print. He was attacked by dropsy, and, on the 18th of April 1616, received the sacrament of extreme unction; next day he wrote the dedication of Persiles y Sigismunda to the count de Lemos—the most moving and gallant of farewells. He died at Madrid in the Calle del León on the 23rd of April; he was borne from his house “with his face uncovered,” according to the rule of the Tertiaries of St Francis, and on the 24th of April was buried in the church attached to the convent of the Trinitarian nuns in the Calle de Cantarranas. There he rests—the story of his remains being removed in 1633 to the Calle del Humilladero has no foundation in fact—but the exact position of his grave is unknown. Early in 1617 Persiles y Sigismunda was published, and passed through eight editions within two years; but the interest in it soon died away, and it was not reprinted between 1625 and 1719. Cervantes’ wife died without issue on the 31st of October 1626; his natural daughter, who survived both the child of her first marriage and her second husband, died on the 20th of September 1652. Cervantes is represented solely by his works. The Novelas exemplares alone would give him the foremost place among Spanish novelists; Don Quixote entitles him to rank with the greatest writers of all time: “children turn its leaves, young people read it, grown men understand it, old folk praise it.” It has outlived all changes of literary taste, and is even more popular to-day than it was three centuries ago.

Bibliography.—Leopold Rius, Bibliografía crítica de las obras de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Madrid, 1895–1905, 3 vols.); Obras completas (Madrid, 1863–1864, 12 vols.), edited by Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch; Complete Works (Glasgow, 1901–1906, 8 vols. in progress), edited by James Fitzmaurice-Kelly; Don Quijote (Madrid, 1833–1839, 6 vols.), edited by Diego Clemencíu; Don Quixote (London, 1899–1900, 2 vols.), edited by James Fitzmaurice-Kelly and John Ormsby; Don Quijote (Madrid, 1905–1906, 2 vols. in progress), edited by Clemente Cortejón; Rinconete y Cortadillo (Sevilla, 1905), edited by Francisco Rodriguez Marín; Epístola á Mateo Vázquez (Madrid, 1905), edited by E[milio] C[otarelo]; Julián Apráiz, Estudio histórico-crítico sobre las Novelas ejemplares de Cervantes (Madrid, 1901); Francisco A. de Icaza, Las Novelas ejemplares de Cervantes (Madrid, 1901); Francisco Rodríguez Marín, El Loaysa de “El Celoso Extremeño” (Sevilla, 1901); Narciso Díaz de Escovar, Apuntes escénicos cervantinos (Madrid, 1905); Manuel José García, Estudio crítico acerca del entremés “El Vizcaino fingido” (Madrid, 1905); Alfred Morel-Fatio, L’Espagne de Don Quichotte in Études sur l’Espagne (Paris, 1895, 2me série); Julio Puyol y Alonso, Estado social que refleja “El Quijote” (Madrid, 1905); James Fitzmaurice-Kelly, Cervantes in England (London, 1905); Raymond Foulché-Delbose, Étude sur “La tia fingida,” in the Revue hispanique (Paris, 1899), vol. vi. pp. 256-306; Benedetto Croce, Due illustrazioni al “Viage del Parnaso,” in the Homenaje á Menéndez y Pelayo (Madrid, 1899), vol. i. pp. 161–193; Paul Groussac, Une Énigme littéraire: le Don Quichotte d’Avellaneda (Paris, 1903); Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha (Barcelona, [1905]), edited by Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo; Julio Cejador y Franca, La Lengua de Cervantes (Madrid, 1905, &c.); Martin Fernández de Navarrete, Vida de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Madrid, 1819); Cristóbal Perez Pastor, Documentos Cervantinos hasta ahora inéditos (Madrid, 1897–1902, 2 vols.); Emilio Cotardo y Mori, Efemérides Cervantinas (Madrid, 1905); Francisco Rodríguez Marín, Cervantes estudió en Sevilla, 1564–1565 (Seville, 1905).  (J. F.-K.) 


CERVERA, PASCUAL CERVERA Y TOPETE (1839–1909), Spanish admiral, was born at Medina Sidonia on the 18th of February 1839. He showed an early inclination for the sea, and his family sent him to the naval cadet school at the age of twelve. As a sub-lieutenant he took part in the naval operations on the coast of Morocco during the campaign of 1859–60. Then he was for some time engaged in operations in the Sulu Islands and the Philippines. Afterwards he was on the West Indian station during the early part of the first Cuban War (1868–78), returning to Spain in 1873 to serve on the Basque coast against the Carlists. He distinguished himself in defending the Carraca arsenal near Cadiz against the Federals in 1873. He won each step in his promotion up to flag-rank through his steadiness and brilliant conduct in action, and was awarded the crosses of the Orders of Military and Naval Merit, Isabella the Catholic, and St Hermengilde, besides several medals. Cervera had a great reputation for decision, unbending temper and honesty, before he was placed at the head of the Bilbao building-yards. This post he resigned after a few months in order to become minister of marine in 1892, in a cabinet presided over by Sagasta. He withdrew from the cabinet when he found that his colleagues, from political motives, declined to support him in making reforms and,