"a child born, after all, in prison"

   Before finding success with Don Quixote's publication Cervantes lived on the margins of polite society, variously employed and occasionally bankrupt.  It is unclear whether this line in the book's prologue, describing its conception, refers to one of his two imprisonments for supposed financial trickery, his spell inside wrongly suspected of involvement in a murder, or his rather more heroic period as a prisoner of war captured by Algerian corsairs.