Spanish Language and Literature

Spanish literature generally refers to literature (Spanish poetry, prose, and drama) written in the Spanish language within the territory that presently constitutes the state of Spain. Its development coincides and frequently intersects with that of other literary traditions from regions within the same territory, particularly Catalan literature, Galician intersects as well with Latin, Jewish, and Arabic literary traditions of the Iberian peninsula. The literature of Spanish America is an important branch of Spanish literature, with its own particular characteristics dating back to the earliest years of Spain’s conquest of the Americas (see Latin American literature).

The Roman conquest and occupation of the Iberian peninsula beginning in the 3rd century BC brought a Latin culture to Spanish territories. The arrival of Muslim invaders in 711 CE brought the cultures of the Middle and Far East. In Medieval Spanish literature, the earliest recorded examples of a vernacular Romance-based literature mix Muslim, Jewish, and Christian culture. One of the notable works is the epic poem Cantar de Mio Cid, written in 1140. Spanish prose gained popularity in the mid-thirteenth century. Lyric poetry in the Middle Ages includes popular poems and the courtly poetry of the nobles. During the 15th century the pre-Renaissance occurred and literary production increased greatly. In the Renaissance important topics were poetry, religious literature, and prose. In the Baroque era of the 17th century important works were the prose of Francisco de Quevedo and Baltasar Gracián. A notable author was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, famous for his masterpiece Don Quixote de la Mancha.

In the Enlightenment era of the 18th century, notable works include the prose of Fray Benito Jerónimo Feijoo, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, and José Cadalso; the lyric of Juan Meléndez Valdés, Tomás de Iriarte and Félix María Samaniego), and the theater, with Leandro Fernández de Moratín, Ramón de la Cruz and Vicente García de la Huerta. In Romanticism (beginning of the 19th century) important topics are: the poetry of José de Espronceda and other poets; prose; the theater, with Ángel de Saavedra (Duke of Rivas), José Zorrilla, and other authors. In Realism (end of the 19th century), which is mixed with Naturalism, important topics are the novel, with Juan Valera, José María de Pereda, Benito Pérez Galdós, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Leopoldo Alas (Clarín), Armando Palacio Valdés, and Vicente Blasco Ibáñez; poetry, with Ramón de Campoamor, Gaspar Núñez de Arce, and other poets; the theater, with José Echegaray, Manuel Tamayo y Baus, and other dramatists; and the literary critics, emphasizing Menéndez Pelayo.

In Modernism several currents appear: Parnasianism, Symbolism, Futurism, and Creationism. The destruction of Spain's fleet in Cuba by the U.S. in 1898 provoked a crisis in Spain. A group of younger writers, among them Miguel de Unamuno, Pío Baroja, and José Martínez Ruiz (Azorín), made changes to literature's form and content. By the year 1914—the year of the outbreak of the First World War and of the publication of the first major work of the generation's leading voice, José Ortega y Gasset—a number of slightly younger writers had established their own place within the Spanish cultural field. Leading voices include the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, the academics and essayists Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Gregorio Marañon, Manuel Azaña, Eugeni d'Ors, and Ortega y Gasset, and the novelists Gabriel Miró, Ramón Pérez de Ayala, and Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Around 1920 a younger group of writers—mostly poets—began publishing works that from their beginnings revealed the extent to which younger artists were absorbing the literary experimentation of the writers of 1898 and 1914. Poets were closely tied to formal academia. Novelists such as Benjamín Jarnés, Rosa Chacel, Francisco Ayala, and Ramón J. Sender were equally experimental and academic.

The Spanish Civil War had a devastating impact on Spanish writing. Among the handful of civil war poets and writers, Miguel Hernández stands out. During the early dictatorship (1939–1955), literature followed dictator Francisco Franco's reactionary vision of a second Spanish golden age. By the mid-1950s, just as with the novel, a new generation which had only experienced the Spanish civil war in childhood was coming of age. By the early 1960s, Spanish authors moved towards a restless literary experimentation. When Franco died in 1975, the important work of establishing democracy had an immediate impact on Spanish letters. Over the next several years a wealth of young new writers, among them Juan José Millás, Rosa Montero, Javier Marías, Luis Mateo Díez, José María Merino, Félix de Azúa, Cristina Fernández Cubas, Enrique Vila-Matas, Carme Riera, and later Antonio Muñoz Molina and Almudena Grandes, would begin carving out a prominent place for themselves within the Spanish cultural field.

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Matching Spanish Language and Literature Colleges

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Four or more years; Public; $37,161 average out-state tuition; $9,273 average in-state tuition

Florida International University

Four or more years; Public; $16,529 average out-state tuition; $4,721 average in-state tuition

Weber State University

Four or more years; Public; $15,745 average out-state tuition; $5,329 average in-state tuition

University of California-Davis

Four or more years; Public; $41,196 average out-state tuition; $11,442 average in-state tuition

University of Arizona

Four or more years; Public; $33,739 average out-state tuition; $10,990 average in-state tuition

San Joaquin Delta College

At least 2 but less than 4 years; Public; $9,072 average out-state tuition; $1,288 average in-state tuition

University of Virginia-Main Campus

Four or more years; Public; $50,518 average out-state tuition; $16,547 average in-state tuition

Scholarships for Spanish Language and Literature Majors

Bullet name award deadline Link
 

Beinecke Scholarship - Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College

$34,000 Varies See Details
 

Beinecke Scholarship - Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College

award

$34,000

deadline

Varies
See Details
 

Latino Studies Scholars Program

University of Notre Dame

$25,000 January 01, 2025 See Details
 

Latino Studies Scholars Program

University of Notre Dame

award

$25,000

deadline

January 01, 2025
See Details
 

Nancy Shaw McKee Scholarship

Clarion University of Pennsylvania, College of Arts and Sciences

Up to $22,030 Varies See Details
 

Nancy Shaw McKee Scholarship

Clarion University of Pennsylvania, College of Arts and Sciences

award

Up to $22,030

deadline

Varies
See Details
 

U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship

U.S. Department of Education

Up to $20,000 Varies See Details
 

U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship

U.S. Department of Education

award

Up to $20,000

deadline

Varies
See Details
 

Myrna Lee Sprengler Memorial Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

$2,500 Varies See Details
 

Myrna Lee Sprengler Memorial Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

award

$2,500

deadline

Varies
See Details
 

William and Effa McMeans Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

$2,000 Varies See Details
 

William and Effa McMeans Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

award

$2,000

deadline

Varies
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Edward Prichett Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Up to $2,000 Varies See Details
 

Edward Prichett Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

award

Up to $2,000

deadline

Varies
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Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association Scholarship

U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association

Up to $3,000 June 30, 2024 See Details
 

Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association Scholarship

U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association

award

Up to $3,000

deadline

June 30, 2024
See Details
 

United Methodist Scholarship

Paine College

$1,500 Varies See Details
 

United Methodist Scholarship

Paine College

award

$1,500

deadline

Varies
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Barbara Bishop Morgan Memorial Scholarship

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

$1,500 Varies See Details
 

Barbara Bishop Morgan Memorial Scholarship

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

award

$1,500

deadline

Varies
See Details