In a former article we had already told you about how useful it is to watch Spanish movies to learn Spanish. Another way of learning Spanish is reading books from The most famous Spanish writers!
In order to give you a little inside into the Spanish literature, we have asked around among our OnSpain colleagues “Who is the most important author in Spain?” Have a look at the outcome:
- Number one: Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
According to the OnSpain members, Cervantes is probably THE most important Spanish writer. His impact on the Spanish language is so big that it is often referred to as “la lengua de Cervantes” (language of Cervantes). He lived and worked during a period known as the “Siglo de Oro” (Golden Century) (1550 till 1680) which was a time of prosperity: In 1492, the Spanish kings successfully completed the Reconquista, Columbus discovered America and within the following decades, Spain became one of the most important political and economical forces in Europe. New literary genres developed and all in all it was a time of cultural renovation.
Cervantes´ most important novel is “Don Quijote de la Mancha”, the first classic model of the modern novel. It is about a noble man whose big passion is reading chivalric novels until he himself sets out to revive chivalry, accompanied by a simple farmer whom he employs as his squire. The book appeared in two volumes, 1605 and 1615, and is a parody of the in medieval times so famous chivalric story which would always have the same plot: a princess or at least wealthy girl gets kidnapped and a noble man, totally in love with that girl, goes out and lives a lot of adventures until he finally gets his girl back.
- Number two: Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936)
Unamuno was part of a group of writers known as the “Generación del 98”. That name derives from the fact that in 1898 Spain lost the war against the United Nations of America and had to give away many of its colonies such as Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba and Filipinas. Furthermore, this time was characterized by a very unstable political situation and a society full of deep doubts about life.
These doubts are described very well in Unamuno’s most famous work “Niebla” (Fog). It talks about a wealthy, intellectual but quite depressed young man called Augusto who does not seem to find a direction in his life. He falls in love with a girl who does not love him back and after a lot of hurly-burly he decides to commit suicide. But before killing himself, he meets the author Unamuno himself and an interesting and strange discussion starts in which Unamuno tells Augusto that he cannot kill himself as he is only an invented character. And Augusto is of the opinion that also Unamuno might be only a character in God’s dreams….
- Number three: Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)
Lorca was part of a group of writers known as the “Generación del 27” whose members all admired the author Luis de Góngora whose 300th birthday was in 1927. His writing style is known as “Culteranismo”, characterized by “dark” topics and the use of difficult rhetoric.
Lorca himself grew up in the Spanish countryside and therefore he often wrote about the position and the repression of the women in the rural population in the 1930th in Spain. His most famous novel is “La casa de Bernada Alba” which talks about a mother of five daughters whose husband dies and who therefore becomes the “ruler of the household”. As it was common at that time, Bernarda decides to inclose her family in the house to mourn for 8 years. For her, the most important thing is what the population of the village thinks about her and her family. The happiness of her daughters does not matter. So the house bit by bit turns into a prison and Bernarda into a real tyrant.
Lorca was always very critical of the Spanish society. This fact and the fact that Lorca was homosexual, made him unpopular in the right wing and he was murdered in 1936, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil war.
The OnSpain team hopes that you agree on our choice. If you should do a Spanish course with us, do not hesitate to ask us for books from these authors. Our library service is available from Monday till Friday from 9am till 5pm.
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