Spanish literature

views updated Jun 27 2018

Spanish literature One of the major early works is the epic poem Cantar de Mío Cid (c.1140). Major figures of the 14th and 15th centuries include the poet Juan Ruiz (c.1283–1350). The most important work of fiction of the 15th century was the novel La Celestina (1499). French and Italian influences predominate until the 16th century, when a truly Spanish literature emerged. The late 16th and 17th centuries are known as the ‘Golden Age’. Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605–15) is a masterpiece of European literature. Other major figures include Luis de Góngora y Argote, Lope de Vega Carpio, and Pedro Calderón de la Barca. The 18th century witnessed a decline in Spanish writing, saved by the rise of Romanticism. Costumbrismo (sketches of Spanish life and customs) flourished in the 19th century. In the early 20th century, the writers of the Generation of '98 re-examined Spanish traditions. The Spanish Civil War (1936–39) drove many Spanish writers into hiding, and its reverberations can be seen in the grim realism of much of the work that followed. Modernism exerted an influence on formal technique and narrative style; surrealism also inspired the ‘Generation of 1927’ group of poets. Probably the most important Spanish writer of the 20th century was Federico García Lorca.