Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605) is one of the classic texts of Western literature and the foundation of European fiction. Yet Cervantes himself remains an enigmatic figure. The Cambridge Companion to Cervantes, first published in 2002, offers a comprehensive treatment of Cervantes' life and work, including his lesser known writing. The essays, by some of the most outstanding scholars in the field, cover the historical and political context of Cervantes' writing, his place in Renaissance culture, and the role of his masterpiece, Don Quixote, in the formation of the modern novel. They draw on contemporary critical perspectives to shed new light on Cervantes' work, including the 'Exemplary Novels', the plays and dramatic interludes, and the long romances, Galatea and Persiles. The volume provides useful supporting material for students; suggestions for further reading, a detailed chronology, a complete list of his published writings, an overview of translations and editions, and a guide to electronic resources.