Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish writer best known for his work Don Quixote, which is considered one of the high points of world literature. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists of all time and the greatest writer to ever write in the Spanish language. His works have influenced other works of art like music and paintings.
Federico García Lorca was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theater director. He was a prominent member of the Generation of '27, a group of poets who essentially worked with avant-garde forms of art and poetry. He was homosexual and had a love affair with sculptor Emilio Aladrén. He mysteriously disappeared at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.
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.
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.
Miguel de Unamuno was a Spanish essayist, poet, playwright, novelist, and philosopher. His most famous novel was Abel Sánchez: The History of a Passion, a modern retelling of the Biblical Cain and Abel story. He was a significant figure in the Spanish literary and intellectual circles and served as rector of the University of Salamanca.
Spanish Baroque dramatist Lope de Vega was one of the most significant figures of the Spanish Golden Age. He had initially aspired to be a priest but abandoned his plans after falling in love with a married woman. He is best remembered for works such as The Dog in the Manger.
Spanish Romantic poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer was orphaned at age 11. Inspired by his painter brother Valeriano, he embarked on a literary career, writing for El Contemporáneo in Madrid. His Rimas (Rhymes) and Leyendas (Legends) gained popularity only after his death at 34 due to tuberculosis.
Camilo José Cela was a Spanish novelist, essayist, story writer, and poet. One of the most respected Spanish writers of his generation, Camilo José Cela received a number of prestigious awards, including the 1987 Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. In 1989, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1994, he was honored with the Premio Planeta de Novela.
A prominent figure of the Hebrew school of poetry and a Neoplatonic philosopher, Solomon ibn Gabirol lived during the Jewish Golden Age of Spain. His works include elegies, religious and secular poems, proverbs, and philosophical treatises. Legends claim that he was either murdered by another poet or by a horseman.
Joaquín Sabina had begun writing lyrics at age 14. The legendary Spanish singer and songwriter mostly sings on heartbreak and love. Apart from releasing triple-platinum tracks such as Vinagre y Rosas, he has also penned books on poetry. He once went on a 4-year hiatus after a stroke.
Spanish nobleman, politician and writer Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas, KOS of the Baroque era is counted among the most prominent writers of Spain's Golden Age. Quevedo adhered to the conceptismo style compared to his lifelong rival, Luis de Góngora’s culteranismo style. His notable works include the picaresque novel El Buscón and the satirical prose Los Sueños.
A leading member of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of '98, Antonio Machado was a legendary poet and playwright. He was educated at the Sorbonne and had also taught French. A proponent of eternal poetry, he penned masterpieces such as Soledades and Campos de Castilla.
Nobel Prize-winning Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez mostly dealt with erotic themes in his works. He was also once hospitalized for depression. A master of lyrical poetry, he later deviated to free verse. He is best known for poetic masterpieces such as Distant Gardens and his prose Platero and I.
Spanish Jewish poet, physician, and philosopher Judah Halevi is remembered for his significant contributions to the development of Hebrew poetry. Best known for Sefer ha-Kuzari and his poems in Dīwān, he was greatly influenced by Arabian literature. His travels eventually took him to Egypt, where he died.
One of the most significant Baroque playwrights of the Spanish Golden Age, Pedro Calderon de la Barca had penned iconic dramas such as Life Is a Dream and many religious plays and operas, too. Many of his works reflected the issues of a dysfunctional family, probably inspired by his own life.
Miguel Hernández was a 20th-century Spanish-language poet and playwright. He was associated with the Generation of '27 and the Generation of '36 movements. He had a difficult childhood and was mostly self-taught. He became a prominent literary figure at a young age. His poems are counted among the finest pieces of Spanish poetry of the 20th century.
Ibn Jubayr was an Arab geographer, traveler, and poet from al-Andalus. In the years preceding the Third Crusade, he made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca from 1183 to 1185, which he wrote about in great detail in his chronicles. He was a member of an Arab family of the Kinanah tribe and also traveled to Damascus, Mosul, Acre, and Baghdad.
Spanish Baroque dramatist, poet and Roman Catholic monk Tirso de Molina is best known for writing the play The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest which first introduced the legendary fictional character of Don Juan. Other notable works of Molina includes the comedy sitcom Don Gil of the green tights and the trilogy of The Santa Juana.
Rafael Alberti, part of the Spanish poets’ group called the Generation of 1927, redefined Spanish literature. The Cervantes Prize-winning poet had also been a Communist Party member but was expelled later and launched the politically motivated magazine Octubre. He had also fought in the Spanish Civil War.
Spanish Baroque poet Luis de Góngora created his own style known as Gongorismo. Born to a judge, he initially used his father’s library to gain knowledge. His works such as Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea and Soledades were criticized by many for their complex style and obscurity.
Legendary Galician poet Rosalía de Castro was a significant figure of the Galician Romantic movement and mostly wrote on themes such as nostalgia and melancholy. She had also written quite a few novels but remains best known for her poetry collections such as Cantares Gallegos and Follas novas.
Spanish-born French author and playwright Fernando Arrabal is best known for his absurdist plays. While he initially studied law, he later switched to drama. He has written and directed films such as Viva la Muerte, and his characters are often murderers or prostitutes amid cruel and pornographic themes.
Considered the most politically influential Jew in Muslim Spain, Samuel ibn Naghrillah was also an eminent Talmudic scholar, poet, grammarian, philologist and soldier. Beginning his life as a merchant in Córdoba, he later moved to Granada, where his linguistic and calligraphic skills caught the attention of the vizier; he was appointed first as assistant vizier and on latter on as the vizier.
Vicente Aleixandre was a Spanish poet. He was part of the Generation of '27 and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977. His early poetry was marked by surrealism and many of his poems have melancholic undertones. He is considered one of the greatest poets of Spanish literature. He was bisexual but never admitted to it publicly.
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.
Remembered as the "Spanish Lord Byron," Romantic poet José de Espronceda y Delgado became famous for his affair with Teresa Mancha. Initially imprisoned in a monastery for his revolutionary activities, he fled Spain and later lived in England and France. El estudiante de Salamanca remains one of his notable works.
Spanish poet and critic Luis Cernuda was a qualified lawyer and later became a significant member of the Generation of '27. After gaining prominence with poem collections such as Los placeres prohibidos, he also taught at universities in Britain and the U.S., and eventually settled in Mexico. He was openly homosexual.
Distinguished Castilian poet and soldier Jorge Manrique, noted for his lyric poetry, is best known for his work the Coplas a la muerte de mi padre (Verses on the death of Don Rodrigo Manrique, his Father). He joined Castilian military service at an early age and eventually reached the rank of captain. Manrique was a supporter of Queen of Castile Isabel I.
A nationalist poet and playwright, José Zorrilla was a major figure of the Spanish Romantic movement. Though he initially studied law, he later switched to literature. He is remembered for his verse legend collection Cantos del trovador and his iconic play Don Juan Tenorio.
Renowned Spanish author and poet Manuel Vázquez Montalbán was a regular columnist for El Pais. A gastronome, he displayed his knowledge of cooking in the Detective Pepe Carvalho series and in Contra los Gourmets. He was a football lover, too, and often wrote essays on topics such as sports and music.
A respected diamond merchant, moral philosopher and poet, Joseph de la Vega spent most of his life in Amsterdam, occupying important positions in several literary academies. Author of seven published works, most significant of which is Confusion of Confusions, a book based on Amsterdam Stock Exchange, he is also credited with writing more than 200 letters to different European statesman.
Juan del Encina is largely regarded as one of the pioneers of Spanish drama. He had been the court poet/dramatist for the Duke of Alba. Some of his best-known works were compiled in Cancionero. His églogas often dealt with mythological themes that were previously found in the Italian works.
Spanish journalist, playwright, and satirical author Mariano José de Larra had his own newspapers and also worked as a drama critic for La revista Española as Figaro. Part of the costumbrismo movement, he penned the play Macías. He later took his own life after being rejected by a woman he loved.
Fourteenth-century Castilian poet Juan Ruiz was also known as the Archpriest of Hita. He is remembered for crafting what later became the most significant long poem in Spanish literature, The Book of Good Love, written mostly in the cuaderna vía form. He is also termed by many as the Castilian Chaucer.
Alonso de Ercilla had penned the most popular Castilian Renaissance epic poem ever, La Araucana. He claimed to have fought as a soldier in Chile, against the Araucanians, where he is said to have begun writing his epic. The poem also showed his skills in the complex octava real stanza.
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.
Spanish botanist José Celestino Mutis had initially studied medicine and served as the royal physician of Ferdinand VI. While working in South America later, he studied the medicinal properties of plants. He also built a massive botanical garden and penned a treatise that contained over 6,000 illustrations of plants.
Theodulf of Orléans had been the bishop of Orléans during the reign of Charlemagne and had later become his chief theological advisor. His iconic works, such as Ad Carolum regem, were inspired by Charlemagne. A prominent figure of the Carolingian Renaissance, he also built many churches.
An influential Jesuit missionary in the Portuguese colony of Brazil, José de Anchieta worked with the indigenous population, converting many of them into Catholic faith. He also wrote Arte de grammtica da lingoa mais usada na costa do Brasil, providing orthography to the local Tupi language and is known to co-found the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Moses ibn Ezra, or Abū Hārūn Mūsā, was one of the best Spanish Jewish poets and a pioneer of secular verse. He had fallen in love with his niece, but she had been married off to someone else, inspiring him to write poetry which spoke of love and old age.
Neoclassical poet and dramatist Leandro Fernández de Moratín, the son of poet and playwright Nicolás Fernández de Moratín, was one of the most significant figures of the Spanish Enlightenment. He was best known for his works such as The New Comedy and The Maiden’s Consent and mostly lived in France.
Known as the man behind the formation of the Romeros guitar quartet, Celedonio Romero had begun playing the guitar at age 5. Apart from being a guitarist, he was a composer and poet, too. He later settled in the US with his family. He eventually lost his battle with lung cancer.
Spanish Jewish rabbi, translator, and poet Yehuda Alharizi was one of the greatest scholars of 13th-century Spain. Fluent in multiple languages, such as French, Greek, and Latin, he also traveled widely across the world. His works include Tahkemoni and translations of Arabic works such as Guide to the Perplexed into Hebrew.