Spanish Literature and Spanish Writers

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Spanish Writers, Their Works and Spanish Literature
  • José Anconina
  • 10 Feb, 2024
  • 8 Mins Read

Spanish literature includes works written in Spanish on the territory of the Kingdom of Spain. The diverse language, religion, and ethnic structure of Spain make Spanish literature special. Spanish literature has a rich and diverse tradition that spans centuries, encompassing a wide range of genres, styles, and themes. 

Why Should You Read Spanish Literary Classics in Spanish?

To improve your Spanish Language skills, you should read the classics of Spanish literature in Spanish language. These exercises will strengthen your communication skills. You will learn new words, grammar, and expressions and get to know the Spanish language and culture better. If you are interested in learning Spanish or getting to know Spanish culture better, you should read Spanish literary classics.

What are the Periods of Spanish Literature?

Spanish literature developed and spread between the 3rd and 4th centuries. The most important work that emerged in this period is the Etymologiae of Saint Isidore of Seville, who is known as the last scholar of the ancient world.

Realistic works were produced between the beginning of the 13th century and the end of the 15th century under the influence of the Andalusian Period. Cantar de Mio Cid, one of the most important works of the period, is an epic poem about the wars, conquests, and daily life of a man named Cid who lived in the 11th century.

Poetry, religious literature, and prose gained importance in the Renaissance Period covering the 15th and 16th centuries. In this period, in which simple expressions were used using a natural language, works were given on the themes of love, pastoralism, mythology, enjoying life, and praising rural life. Juan de la Cruz’s Ascent of Mount Carmel(Subida del Monte Carmelo) is among the important literary works of the period.

Baroque influences were seen in Spanish literature in the 17th century. The most important book of the period is Don Quixote, written by Miguel de Cervantes.

With the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century, anti-barocism, neoclassicism, and pre-romantic movements began to be effective, and romanticism began to be effective in the following years. Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer and Rosalía de Castro are important representatives of the romance movement.

At the end of the 19th century, realism gained importance. At the beginning of the 20th century, Spanish literary figures produced works under the influence of Parnassianism, symbolism, futurism, and creationism.

In the 20th century, literature affected by the Spanish Civil War was influenced by the existentialism movement and produced their works under the influence of the national tradition. Many currents, such as realism and experimentalism, have influenced modern Spanish literature. Suso de Toro, Félix de Azúa, Eduardo Mendoza Garriga, José Ángel Valente, and Miguel Delibes are important representatives of 20th-century Spanish literature.

What Are Important Books From Spanish Literature?

One of the most important books of Spanish literature is Don Quixote. This book, written by Cervantes, contributed to the development of Western literature and was accepted as one of the most important works of the West. 

The most important works of Spanish literature are described below.

  • The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shadow of the Wind (La sombra del viento) is a 2001 novel by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This novel, which contains a story within a story, is in the genres of mystery, crime, and romance. It tells the story of Daniel Sempere, who goes to a library called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and chooses for him the book Shadow of the Wind, authored by Julián Carax. 

Although this book, which is in the Gothic literature genre, has a multi-layered structure, it is an important book for Spanish literature because it is very understandable and gripping, has been translated into many different languages, and is one of the best-selling books of all time.

  • A Heart So White – Javier Marias

The A Heart So White (Corazón tan blanco) is a 1992 book by Spanish author Javier Marías. In the book, the main character, Juan, who is the narrator, tells his efforts to reveal the truth about his father’s former marriages. A Heart So White received the International Dublin Literary Award in 1997.

  • The House of Bernarda Alba – Federico García Lorca

The House of Bernarda Alba (La casa de Bernarda Alba) is Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca’s play, written in 1936 and staged in 1945. It is the last game in the Village Tragedy Trilogy. In the story, which is told as a custom event in a small Spanish village in Bernarda Alba’s House, the reflection of the chaos in the society in the house is given. The story of Bernarda, whose second wife has passed away, and her family and servants are the subject.

It is an important work for Spanish literature because it focuses entirely on women, touches on women’s problems, reveals the reality of the Spanish Civil War, and gives historical features in a realistic way.




What are the Spanish-themed works in World Literature?

Works on Spain in world literature are listed below.

  • The Queen’s Vow: A Novel by Isabella of Castile
  • Winter in Madrid
  • Until the Curtain Falls
  • Camino de Santiago in 20 Days
  • Alberto’s Lost Birthday
  • Spain in the heart
  • Late Dinner
  • With High Fever
  • Spain, Long Live Death
  • No return
  • Shadows, Shells, and Spain
  • Granada: The Light of Andalusia
  • Road to Santiago
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls


  • Spain – Nikos Kazantzakis

Spain, Long Live Death is a travel-type book by the Greek Nikos Kazantzakis, published in 1937. Kazancakis, who went to Spain in the late 1920s as a foreign news correspondent for the newspaper Eleftheros Logos, observed Spain’s crisis days at that time. He was in Spain before the Civil War and during the business war, and later, he quoted his observations in the book Spain, Long Live Death.

Spain’s Long Live Death is important because of its features of presenting the Civil War times from different perspectives, being fluent and intriguing despite the weight of its subject, and introducing Spain.

  • Spain in Our Hearts – Pablo Neruda

Spain in our Heart (España en el corazón) is a poetry book by Chilean writer Pablo Neruda, published in 1937. Pablo Neruda, who was consul in Madrid in 1936, revealed the inner face of the Spanish Civil War in this book.

While the poems in Spain in the Heart describe the Civil War, it is an important book in that it evokes feelings such as pain, hatred, fear, and suspicion on the one hand, and the other hand, it reveals the feelings of social love and unity.

  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a 1940 novel by American author Ernest Hemingway. The Spanish Civil War is told through the eyes of Robert Jordan, the protagonist of the novel, and the meaninglessness of the war is questioned. Hemingway was in Spain as a newspaper reporter during the Spanish Civil War and drew on his own experiences in his novel.

It is an important novel because it conveys the facts of the Spanish Civil War to the reader in a fictional way, highlights the brutal interior of the war, and the emotions it evokes in the reader.

Who are the Most Important Writers of Spanish Literature?

Spanish literature has a long history. Spanish literature, influenced by the invasions in Spain, the wars of Spain’s rulers, the civil wars within the country, and many different religious cultures, has many writers and poets who have enriched themselves throughout its history. 

Joan Baptista Aguilar, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Fernando de Rojas, Camilo José Cela, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Miguel de Cervantes, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Rosa Montero are important writers of Spanish literature. The Spaniards, especially the pioneers of Western literature, have made writers and poets famous and get the values they deserve. 

The Spaniards considered the works of writers who aroused national feelings and revealed the importance of national unity and solidarity. The Spaniards have turned the houses of important writers such as Lope de Vega, Cervantes, and Jacint Verdaguer into museums.

Who is Carlos Ruiz Zafon?

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a writer born on September 25, 1964, in Barcelona, Spain. Ruiz Zafón passed away on June 19, 2020, at the age of 55, in Los Angeles, USA.

He won the Edebé literary award for adult fiction with his first novel, El príncipe de la niebla, published in 1993. A writer of young adult novels, fiction novels, and short stories, Ruiz Zafón’s most important book, The Shadow of the Wind(El sombra del viento). El juego del ángel (Angel’s Play), Marina, El prisionero del cielo (Prisoner of Heaven) are other important works of the author.

Who is Rosa Montero?

Rosa Montero Gayo is a journalist and contemporary fiction writer born on January 3, 1951, in Madrid, Spain. Being the first female journalist to receive the Manuel del Arco award in 1978 for her journalism work, Montero published her first book, Crónica Del Desamor (Diary of the Enemy), in 1979. She won the 1980 National Journalism Award for her articles and literary reports. Montero has produced works in journalism, children’s stories, interview collections, and novels. Te trataré como una reina (I Will Treat You Like a Queen), La Loca de la Casa (The Lunatic of the House), and Historia del Rey Transparente (The Tale of the Transparent King) are among the author’s important works.

How Has Spanish Culture Influenced Spanish Literature?

Spanish literature has been influenced by the change and development of Spanish culture. The events in Spain affected the culture, and the reflection of these effects can be seen in Spanish literature. Spanish literature has helped to emerge and spread nationalist sentiments in Spanish culture. The structure of Spain, with various linguistic, religious, and ethnic characteristics, has also helped the development of Spanish literature in a wide variety. It was thanks to Spanish literature that the cultural diversity of Spain was introduced and accepted in different cultural structures within Spain.

What are the Literature Museums to See in Spain?

The important libraries and literary museums in Spain are listed below.

  • Biblioteca Pública de Lleida (Lleida Public Library)
  • Biblioteca de Cádiz (Cádiz Library)
  • Biblioteca Valenciana Nicolau Primitiu (Library of Nicolau Primitiu Valencia)
  • Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library of Spain)
  • Biblioteca de Catalunya (Catalonian Library)
  • Biblioteca de Málaga (Málaga Library)
  • Casa Museu Verdaguer (Verdaguer House-Museum)
  • Casa-Museo de Lope de Vega (Lope de Vega’s House-Museum)
  • Museo Fundación Rafael Alberti (Rafael Alberti Foundation Museum)
  • Museo de la Palabra

What Are The Most Popular Spanish Newspapers?

The most popular Spanish newspapers are listed below.

  • El Pais
  • El Mundo
  • A B C
  • La Razon
  • AS
  • marca
  • Diario de Seville
  • El Correo
  • La Vanguardia
  • Mundo Deportivo
  • La Verdad
  • El Periódico de Catalunya
José Anconina

Jose has been a Spanish Tutor at since 2023. She studied Spanish Language Teaching at university and has an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. In her free time, she likes book reading.
Jose aims to enrich his students' learning experiences by providing them with knowledge about Spanish culture and traditions.

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