Spanish Literature
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Spanish Literature

Spain is rich with talented writers, poets, playwrights... trust us, the list goes on. One such literary master is Miguel de Cervantes, the creator of the legendary Don Quijote, who has been used in all aspects of Spanish culture. Lope de Vega is another example of a Baroque master.

Poetry is a strong force within Spain with many examples proving the statement. What better example than the Generation of 27, featuring the exquisite work of Federico García Lorca, who had been frequently associated with surrealist experts Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel. If the Generation of 27 doesn't sound like the right group for you, then how about the Generation of 98? Whether you are a passionate connoisseur of the written word or a passing visitor there will be something that will spark your creativity in this section on Spanish literature.

Spanish Literature history

The history of Spanish literature can be traced back centuries and it is clear that over this time, Spanish literature has not only been influenced by the events happening within Spain and across the world, but has also influenced the world itself. Spain has produced some fantastic writers in all genres, many of whom were instrumental in the developments of some of the biggest literary movements. So why not read on and find out more about the history of Spanish literature.

Early Spanish Literature

One of the earliest told stories in Spain is that of 'El Cid' from the 12th century, which was an epic tale that was transmitted from generation to generation by oral repetition. The first written works though appeared in the 13th century when literature began to be cultivated in all of its genres: theatre, poetry and prose. However the real flourish for Spanish literature came with the Renaissance period where there was a lot of Italian influence in Spain. Many of the works produced during this time therefore had a heavy religious tone as well, such as the works of Fray Luis de Leon and San Juan de la Cruz.

Baroque & Enlightenment Literature

One of the most important times for Spanish literature was the Golden Age, in which Baroque literature was all the rage. During this time, countless literary works and productions were produced, among which we can find the ever famous Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. This book has come to represent the height of Spanish literature. However, we must also remember the likes of the playwright Lope de Vega and the poet Quevedo who were also writing during this period.

Following on from the Baroque period, the Enlightenment period represented a change from the old idea of authority as well as a break away from the valuation of feelings and emotions, preferring instead to value reason. During this time, prose and essays were the most cultivated genres, as poetry was seen as too old-fashioned.

Romanticist & Realist Literature

However all this focus on reason and logic couldn't last, and Enlightenment literature was soon overshadowed by Romanticism which preferred feelings and emotions. Romanticist literature was free and did not play by the rules that had governed previous literary movements. Eventually however, writers got bored of the movement, and turned instead to a more realistic approach; hence the birth of Realism in Spanish literature. Realist literature was designed to paint an accurate portrait of society, and avoided the over imaginative styles of Romanticism.

Modern Literature

The 20th and 21st centuries have been a great time of change for Spain, however Spanish literature has developed in a more stunted manner. There are no great literary movements during these years as each writer begins to develop their own individual style. The Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship gave rise to a number of generations of writers - Generation of '98, Generation of '14 and Generation of '27 - who helped to develop Spanish literature. Censorship was one of the major pressures on Spanish literature under Franco as it meant writers had to be much cleverer and more subtle in order to convey their true feelings.

In more recent times, Spanish literature again has seen very little in the way of literary movements. Many of the younger writers choose to write in very realistic styles, commenting and criticizing the modern society they live in. However, with the spread of globalization, many Spanish authors have had their works read by much larger international audiences, hence there are a number of Spanish language authors who have made it on to the lists of top authors in the world.