Famous Spanish Essayists

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 1 
Jose Marti
(Cuban Nationalist, Poet and Philosopher)
Jose Marti
4
Birthdate: January 28, 1853
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba
Died: May 19, 1895

Son of Spanish immigrants, Jose Marti spent his childhood in a strife-torn Cuba and attended high school on financial aid. Marti’s poems, essays, and articles were laced with his patriotic vigor to free Cuba from the Spanish rule. He died battling on the field at Dos Ríos.

 2 
George Santayana
(Regarded as One of the Most Important Thinkers of the First Half of the 20th Century)
George Santayana
4
Birthdate: December 16, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 26, 1952

One of George Santayana’s initial works, The Sense of Beauty, spoke about aesthetics, an oft-repeated topic in his later works. The Spanish-born American philosopher and Harvard professor is remembered for his quote “Only the dead have seen the end of war,” which has often been misattributed to Plato.

 3 
José Ortega y Gasset
(Spanish Philosopher and Essayist)
José Ortega y Gasset
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: October 18, 1955

Philosopher and humanist José Ortega y Gasset was a major figure of the 20th-century Spanish literary renaissance. Apart from introducing concepts such as ratiovitalism, he also believed in the philosophy "I am I and my circumstance." Invertebrate Spain and The Revolt of the Masses remain his best works.

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 4 
Emilia Pardo Bazán
(Writer Known for Introducing Naturalism Into Spanish Literature)
Emilia Pardo Bazán
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1851
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: A Coruña, Spain
Died: May 12, 1921

Spanish countess and novelist Emilia Pardo Bazán had initially gained fame with the essay The Critical Issue. She was an advocate of naturalism and free will. Known for novels such as The House of Ulloa, she also taught Romance literature and was divorced by her husband because of her literary success.

 5 
Juan Donoso Cortés
(Spanish Author, Politician, Diplomat, and Catholic Political Theologian)
Juan Donoso Cortés
2
Birthdate: May 6, 1809
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Valle de la Serena, Spain
Died: May 3, 1853

Juan Donoso Cortés was a Spanish author, politician, diplomat, and Catholic political theologian. He is credited with influencing many intellects, including Carl Schmitt, Juan Vázquez de Mella y Fanjul, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, and Miguel Antonio Caro Tobar. Considered a counter-revolutionary author, Juan Donoso Cortés' works have been translated into English.

 6 
María Zambrano
(Spanish Philosopher and Essayist)
María Zambrano
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vélez-Málaga, Spain
Died: February 6, 1991

María Zambrano was a Spanish philosopher and essayist. She was part of the Generation of '36, a group of writers and artists who were active during the Spanish Civil War. María Zambrano's work achieved popularity in the late-20th century and she was honored with several prestigious awards such as the Miguel de Cervantes Prize and the Prince of Asturias Award.

 7 
Juan Goytisolo
(Spanish Poet & Novelist Who was Considered Spain's Greatest Living Writer at the Beginning of the 21st Century)
Juan Goytisolo
2
Birthdate: January 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: June 4, 2017

Spanish poet, short-story writer, essayist, and novelist Juan Goytisolo was regarded as the greatest living writer of Spain at the beginning of the 21st century. A critique of Francoist Spain, works of Goytisolo, which includes the novels Marks of Identity, Count Julian, and Juan the Landless, were banned in Spain until after Francisco Franco’s death.

 8 
Federica Montseny
(Spanish Intellectual & Anarchist Who Served as One of Western Europe's First Female Ministers)
Federica Montseny
2
Birthdate: February 12, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: January 14, 1994

Federica Montseny was a Spanish intellectual and anarchist. She is best remembered for her service as the Minister of Health and Social Policy from 4 November 1936 to 17 May 1937. One of Western Europe's first female ministers, Federica Montseny was also known as an essayist and novelist. 

 9 
José Martínez Ruiz
(Spanish Novelist, Essayist and Literary Critic)
José Martínez Ruiz
2
Birthdate: June 8, 1873
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Monòver, Spain
Died: March 2, 1967

José Martínez Ruiz, better known as Azorin, was a prominent Spanish literary critic. He was also credited with naming his group of Spanish writers the Generation of ’98. Though educated in law, he later became a journalist and penned works such as An Hour of Spain, 1560–1590.

 10 
Pedro Salinas
(Spanish Poet, Scholar, Dramatist, and Essayist)
Pedro Salinas
2
Birthdate: November 27, 1891
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: December 4, 1951

Part of the Generation of '27, renowned Spanish poet Pedro Salinas y Serrano had also been a professor at the Johns Hopkins University. Educated at the Sorbonne, he also taught Spanish at Seville and later joined Cambridge, too. He is also known for his research on Rubén Darío and Jorge Manrique.

 11 
Ramiro de Maeztu
(Most Prominent Defender of Spanish Dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera)
Ramiro de Maeztu
2
Birthdate: May 4, 1875
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Died: October 29, 1936

Part of the Spanish Generation of ’98, essayist Ramiro de Maeztu was the son of a Cuban father and a British mother. His fluency in English helped him become the London correspondent of various Spanish newspapers. He later launched the Acción Española movement but was shot dead by Republicans.

 12 
Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro
(Spanish Essayist Known for Encouraging Scientific and Empirical Thought in an Effort to Debunk Myths and Superstitions)
Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro
2
Birthdate: October 8, 1676
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Casdemiro, Spain
Died: September 26, 1764

Eighteenth-century Spanish essayist Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro was a monk of the Benedictine order and also taught theology and philosophy at the University of Oviedo. He later wrote on a variety of subjects such as medicine, philology, and law, in Teatro crítico universal and Cartas eruditas y curiosas.

 13 
Ramón J. Sender
(Spanish Essayist, Novelist, and Journalist)
Ramón J. Sender
1
Birthdate: February 3, 1901
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chalamera, Spain
Died: January 16, 1982

Ramón J. Sender was a Spanish essayist, novelist, and journalist. He is best remembered for his contribution to a Republican literary magazine called El Mono Azul during the Spanish Civil War. Many of Ramón J. Sender's works, such as Siete domingos rojos and Mr Witt en el cantón, were translated into English by Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell.

 14 
Carmen Martín Gaite
(Spanish Author Known for Her Short Novel 'The Nightmarish El Balneario' (The Spa))
Carmen Martín Gaite
2
Birthdate: December 8, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Salamanca, Spain
Died: July 22, 2000

Carmen Martín Gaite graduated with romance philology when it was rare for women to attend universities. The Premio Nadal-winning author is best remembered for her iconic works such as Entre visillos and El balneario. She was also one of only two female Spanish Royal Academy members back in her time.

 15 
Francisco Umbral
(Journalist)
Francisco Umbral
1
Birthdate: May 11, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: August 28, 2007
 16 
José Cadalso
(Spanish Military Officer and Writer Best Known for His ‘Cartas Marruecas’, an Epistolary Novel)
José Cadalso
1
Birthdate: October 8, 1741
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: February 26, 1782

José Cadalso was a colonel of the Royal Spanish Army in the 18th century. He was also a well-known author, playwright, poet, and essayist. As an army man, he traveled through Italy, Germany, England, France, and Portugal and studied the literature of these countries. He is credited to have made massive contributions to Spanish Enlightenment literature. 

 17 
Rafael Sanchez Ferlosio
(Italian-Born Spanish Author Known for His Iconic Novel 'El Jarama')
Rafael Sanchez Ferlosio
1
Birthdate: December 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: April 1, 2019

Born in Italy, to Spanish author and Falange leader Rafael Sánchez Mazas, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio proved himself to be a gifted author in his own right. After the release of his iconic novel El Jarama, he went on a 2-decade hiatus. He won honors such as the Cervantes Award and the Nadal Award.

 18 
Eugeni d'Ors
(Spanish Writer, Essayist and Philosopher)
Eugeni d'Ors
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: September 25, 1954

Spanish philosopher and author Eugenio d'Ors y Rovira initially studied law but later worked as a journalist and gained fame with the column Glossari. Over the years, he gained excellence as an essayist and a caricaturist, too. He penned works such as The Secret of Philosophy.

 19 
Eugeni d'Ors
(Writer)
Eugeni d'Ors
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: September 25, 1954
 20 
Juan Benet
(Novelist)
Juan Benet
1
Birthdate: October 7, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: January 5, 1993
Ramón Pérez de Ayala
1
Birthdate: August 9, 1880
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oviedo, Spain
Died: August 5, 1962
 22 
Julio Caro Baroja
(Anthropologist)
Julio Caro Baroja
1
Birthdate: November 13, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: August 18, 1995
Diego de Saavedra Fajardo
1
Birthdate: May 6, 1584
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Spain
Died: August 24, 1648
José María Valverde
0
Birthdate: January 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Valencia de Alcántara, Spain
Died: June 6, 1996
José Ángel Valente
0
Birthdate: April 25, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ourense, Spain
Died: July 18, 2000
 26 
Rafael Barrett
0
Birthdate: January 7, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Torrelavega, Spain
Died: December 17, 1910
 27 
Rosario de Acuña
(Spanish Author Who Wrote Poems, Dramas, Essays, and Short Stories)
Rosario de Acuña
0
Birthdate: 1851 AD
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: May 5, 1923

Rosario de Acuña was a Spanish author best remembered for writing poetry, short stories, essays, and dramas. Regarded as a bold freethinker and a controversial writer, Rosario de Acuña created quite a stir with her controversial dramas and poems. She is known to have voiced her opinion on many sensitive subjects, such as religion, civil marriage, and illegitimate births.

 28 
Rafael Calvo Serer
0
Birthdate: October 6, 1916
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Valencia, Spain
Died: April 19, 1988
Buenaventura Carles Aribau
0
Birthdate: November 4, 1798
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: September 27, 1862
 30 
Benjamin Jarnés
(Spanish Writer and Soldier Who is Best Known for His Novel 'El profesor inútil')
Benjamin Jarnés
0
Birthdate: October 7, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Codo, Spain
Died: August 11, 1949

Benjamin Jarnés was a Spanish writer and soldier. He is best remembered for his 1926 novel El profesor inútil, which achieved popularity and was translated into English as The Useless Professor. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, Benjamin Jarnés fought on the Republican side. After the war, he fled to Mexico and focused on writing biographies.