Hispanic Literature

Spanish LiteratureWhen people talk about Spanish literature it means that they are tackling poetry, prose and drama that are written in the Spanish language. The development of Spanish literature coexists with other literary traditions from various areas in the same territory such as the Catalan literature and Galician literature.

During the early years, it has intersected with literary traditions of the Iberian peninsula including Latin, Jewish and Arabic. The literary tradition of Spanish America is an important part of Spanish literature in general. It has its own characteristic and form that dates back to the early years of Spanish conquest to the Americas.


The Spanish Renaissance started with the unification of Spain by the Catholic Monarchs and covered the reigning period of both Carlos I and Felipe II. The beginning of the Renaissance of Spain is said to have started in the year 1492. However, an exact date couldn’t be established due to multiple circumstances that took place.

The poetry during this period is classified into two different schools – Salmantine and Sevillian. The characteristics of Salmantine poetry include concise use of language, simply expressed ideas, realistic themes and short verses. The latter school, on the other hand, is characterized by extremely polished verses, focus on mediation rather than feelings, composed of long and complex verses, observation of nature and life and filled with adjectives and other rhetorical language.

Famous literary figures during this time include Garcilaso de la Vega, Juan Boscan and Cristobal de Castillejo.


This literary period took place in the middle of the Golden Age where Spain was governed by Philip II, Philip III and Philip IV. There were many religious, political, internal and international problems that occurred during this period which determined the characteristics of Baroque literature. This period is characterized by pessimism, disappointment, escapism, satire, stoicism and many more.

The famous literary figures during this time are Miguel de Cervantes, Francisco de Quevedo and Baltasar Gracian.


This is one of the shortest yet intense literary periods in Spain. It arrived late and was thought of as a complex and confusing time because of the great contradictions that range from rebellion and revolutionary ideas. Some viewed the period as a mere restoration of the ideological, patriotic and religious values of the 18th century that was suppressed by the rationalists.

Characteristics of romanticism include rejection of Neoclassicism, subjectivism, flight from the world and attraction of the nocturnal and mysterious. Literary works during this time were written with a fury of emotions – the writers formed verses from what they felt or thought. Literary critics found the writers’ works as a lyricism of great power that are vulgar and misleading.

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