Apr 03 Hail, Knight of the Woeful Countenance! Hail, who? Ah yes, Miguel de Cervantes, of course…Resources for your Spanish Classroom
April 22, 2012 marks the 396th anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes’s death. He was 68 years old when he passed away.
As with any good story, there is controversy over this date and some say it was actually April 23. This is a good thing because it coincides with the death of William Shakespeare, El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, and Josep Pla (and it is also the birth of other famous writers, such as Vladimir Nabokov and Manuel Mejía Vallejo). And taking advantage of these events, UNESCO established April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day in 1995. It is meant to promote reading, publishing, and respect for copyrighted material.
Of course, some naysayers point out that Cervantes died on April 23 of the Gregorian calendar used in Spain, while Shakespeare died on April 23 of the Julian calendar used in England, which means that Cervantes actually died 10 days earlier than Shakespeare… (details, details…)
Most students of Spanish know what Miguel de Cervantes wrote. Most have read parts of Don Quixote and maybe pieces of some of his other works. Some of us remember the comic event when Don Quixote was knighted Caballero de la triste figura (Knight of the Woeful Countenance). A few of us have even read his complete works in unabridged form (yes, that is a confession).
"Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different."
- Stephen King
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