The Spanish literary tradition

The first written texts dating from the tenth century Castilian Its authors were young monks who learned Latin. As today make some students to understand the meaning of certain foreign words, the monk-students wrote between the lines and in the margins of Latin religious texts the words and phrases in the language they spoke daily. Thus they unconsciously recorded the first elements of Castilian, a language that a thousand years later would be spoken by millions of people worldwide.

From the beginning, the Castilian was used for composing epic poems, recited by minstrels. The minstrels were in the Middle Ages people living playing music and reciting verses earned. But most of these poems transmitted orally, is lost. Fortunately it has come to us a work of great literary value, «Song of the Cid». This poem was written by an unknown author in the mid-twelfth century or early thirteenth. His poems narrate the exploits of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, called the Cid. It was a historical figure who fought heroically against the Moors.

King Alfonso X the Wise was the creator of Castilian prose to write in Spanish historical, legal and scientific works. Under his direction came the «First General Chronicle of Spain». But he also wrote several poems in Galician religious grounds that (along with Provencal) was considered typical of the troubadours.

Popular sentiment generated another kind of poetry that was called the ballads. Lyrical verses were simple and energetic subway singing the exploits of the nobility, the sentences of prisoners and love stories. The romances have been respected and beloved by the Spaniards of all time.

The discovery of America and the period of international expansion of Spain coincides with the flowering of Spanish literature. This period is known as the Golden Age (XVI-XVII). The most outstanding works of this period are «Don Quixote» by Cervantes, the poetry of Francisco de Quevedo and Luis de Gongora, and plays. Lope de Vega writes the classic comedies; Tirso de Molina created the myth of Don Juan, then recovered by many writers; Calderon de la Barca is the creator of the philosophical and allegorical theater. These works gave the Spanish a great reputation worldwide.

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