Are you interested in the literature of Spain? Would you like to broaden your understanding of the culture of Spain through reading Spanish literature? Here we’ve traced the history of Spanish literature for you.
The history of literature in the Spanish language is a relatively short one; however, when the Muslims ruled Spain literature flourished in the Arabic and Hebrew languages. It was only after the Christian conquest of Spain that literature in the Spanish language began to develop.
Literature in Spain first started to develop seriously under the rule of King Alfonso X of Spain who championed and encouraged the development of literature in Spain. Perhaps the most famous and enduring example of literature to come out of Spain is the story of El Cid which was written around this time.
Poetic Literature in Spain
Possibly the most celebrated name in poetic literature in Spain arises in the 16th century. This was a time of great cultural development in Spain and Europe and saw advances in Spanish art. Luis de Gongora was a famous master poet whose literature was popular in Spain around the time he lived. His literature is said to be very sensuous with much of his playful words alluding to physical pleasures.
Theatrical Literature in Spain
Theatrical literature developed greatly in Spain during the 16th century. The most famous Spanish playwright of the middle ages in Spain was Lope de Vega whose literature was prolific and is still read in Spain today. His vast corpus of literature is said to number around 800; however, of these, only 300 still survive today. Among the themes explored in his literature was the contemporary political situation in Spain.
Narrative Literature in Spain
The novel was a relatively under developed part of literature in Spain until quite recently. Towards the end of the 19th century a master of literature by the name of Benito Perez lived and worked. He is widely regarded to this day to be the best novelist that ever lived in the history of Spain. Much of his literature focuses on providing critiques of Society in Spain through following the lives of the protagonists in his novels.
Modern Literature in Spain
Literature in Spain suffered greatly during the 20th century. The dearth in 20th century Spanish literature can be attributed largely to the Spanish civil war followed by four decades of dictatorship in Spain under the rule of General Franco. One leading light in the world of literature in Spain was Camilo Jose Cela who won a Nobel Prize for literature for his novels and died in 2002.