Benito Jeronimo Feijoo y Montenegro, (born Oct. 8, 1676, Casdemiro, Spain--died Sept. 26, 1764, Oviedo), teacher and essayist, a leading 18th-century Spanish stylist.A member of the Benedictine order, he taught philosophy and theology at the University of Oviedo. His essays publicized and encouraged the spread of the new scientific knowledge and exalted reason. His two principal works, Teatro critico universal (1726-39) and Cartas eruditas y curiosas (1742-60), deal with an encyclopaedic variety of subjects: natural science, education, law, medicine, philology, and popular beliefs..
Ramon de Campoamor y Campoosorio, (born Sept. 24, 1817, Navia, Spain--died Feb. 12, 1901, Madrid), Spanish poet whose value lies in his expression of contemporary social attitudes.After studying Latin and philosophy, he went to Madrid, in 1838, to pursue a degree in medicine but turned to literature instead. Although his two early books, Ternezas y floras (1840; "Endearments and Flowers") and Ayes del alma (1842; "Laments of the Soul"), show the influence of the Spanish Romantic poet Jose y Moral Zorrilla, he broke away from Romanticism with his book Doloras (1845), simple verses of worldly..
Leandro Fernandez de Moratin, (born March 10, 1760, Madrid, Spain--died July 21, 1828, Paris, France), dramatist and poet, the most influential Neoclassic literary figure of the Spanish Enlightenment.The son of the poet and playwright Nicolas Fernandez de Moratin, he was an apologist of the French Encyclopaedists, a translator of Moliere and William Shakespeare, and a satirist of contemporary society. The two predominant themes of his plays are dramatic criticism, as seen in La comedia nueva (1792; "The New Comedy"), in which he satirizes the absurd characters and plots of the popular..
Buenaventura Carles Aribau, (born Nov. 4, 1798, Barcelona, Spain--died Sept. 17, 1862, Barcelona), economist and author whose poem Oda a la patria (1832; "Ode to the Fatherland") marked the renaissance of Catalan literature in the 19th century in Spain.After working in Madrid at the banking establishment of Gaspar Remisa (1830-41), Aribau became the director of the treasury and financial secretary to the royal household. Animated by a deep patriotism, Aribau's work is marked by the early Romanticist concern with history. He was one of the editors of El Europeo and El vapor, two of the most..
Mateo Aleman, (baptized September 28, 1547, Sevilla, Spain--died c. 1614, Mexico), Spanish novelist, a master stylist best known for his early, highly popular picaresque novel, Guzman de Alfarache.Descended from Jews who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism, Aleman expressed many aspects of the experiences and feelings of the New Christians in 16th-century Spain. His most important literary work, Guzman de Alfarache (1599; a second part, 1604; Eng. trans., The Spanish Rogue, 1622, 1924), which brought him fame throughout Europe but little profit, is one of the earliest picaresque..
Ana Maria Matute, (born July 26, 1925, Barcelona, Spain--died June 25, 2014, Barcelona), Spanish novelist known for her sympathetic treatment of the lives of children and adolescents, their feelings of betrayal and isolation, and their rites of passage. She often interjected such elements as myth, fairy tale, the supernatural, and fantasy into her works.Matute's education suffered because of childhood illnesses, the family's frequent moves between Barcelona and Madrid, and the disruptions of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), which left her family largely housebound in Barcelona. She..
Benito Perez Galdos, (born May 10, 1843, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain--died January 4, 1920, Madrid), writer who was regarded as the greatest Spanish novelist since Miguel de Cervantes. His enormous output of short novels chronicling the history and society of 19th-century Spain earned him comparison with Honore de Balzac and Charles Dickens.Born into a middle-class family, Perez Galdos went to Madrid in 1862 to study law but soon abandoned his studies and took up journalism. After the success of his first novel, La fontana de oro (1870; "The Fountain of Gold"), he began a series of novels..
Pedro Calderon de la Barca, (born January 17, 1600, Madrid, Spain--died May 25, 1681, Madrid), dramatist and poet who succeeded Lope de Vega as the greatest Spanish playwright of the Golden Age. Among his best-known secular dramas are El medico de su honra (1635; The Surgeon of His Honour), La vida es sueno (1635; Life Is a Dream), El alcalde de Zalamea (c. 1640; The Mayor of Zalamea), and La hija del aire (1653; "The Daughter of the Air"), sometimes considered his masterpiece. He also wrote operas and plays with religious or mythological themes.Early lifeCalderon's father, a fairly well-to-do..
Manuel Vazquez Montalban, Spanish author (born July 27, 1939, Barcelona, Spain--died Oct. 18, 2003, Bangkok, Thai.), created the complex Spanish detective Pepe Carvalho in a series of 22 novels that were translated into 24 languages. Vazquez Montalban's astonishingly prolific output also included poetry, essays, socialistic political commentary, and plays. He received many literary awards, among them the Planeta Prize for Los mares del sur (1979; Southern Seas, 1986) and both Spain's National Literature Award and the European Literature Award for Galindez (1990; Eng. trans., 1992)...
Francisco Umbral, (Francisco Perez Martinez), Spanish writer (born May 11, 1935, Madrid, Spain--died Aug. 28, 2007, Madrid), was known for his incisive wit and use of both classical language and contemporary slang in work that included magazine essays, newspaper columns, and more than 80 books. Umbral was almost entirely self-educated. He began his career in 1958 as a journalist for the Valladolid newspaper El Norte de Castilla. He went on to write columns for, among others, El Pais, Diario 16, and, from 1989, El Mundo, for which he produced "Los placers y los dias," a column of acerbic social..
Gines Perez de Hita, (born 1544, Mula, Murcia, Spain--died 1619), Spanish writer, author of Historia de los vandos de los Zegries y Abencerrages (1595-1619; "History of the Zegries and Abencerrages Factions"), usually referred to as Guerras civiles de Granada ("The Civil Wars of Granada"). The book is considered the first Spanish historical novel and the last important collection of Moorish border ballads, the latter punctuating the book's narrative.Perez de Hita fought in the suppression of the revolt of the Moors in the Alpujarras mountains (1568-71), an event that is reflected in the..
Jose Francisco de Isla, in full Jose Francisco De Isla De La Torre Y Rojo, byname El Padre Isla, (born March 24, 1703, Vidanes, Spain--died Nov. 2, 1781, Bologna, Papal States), Spanish satirist and preacher noted for his novel known as Fray Gerundio.Isla showed intellectual promise early and entered the Jesuit order as a novice in 1719, studying at the University of Salamanca. He was named professor of sacred literature in 1727 and taught this subject in various Spanish schools until 1754, when he retired to Villagarcia to begin work on his masterpiece, Historia del famoso predicador Fray Gerundio..
Luis Velez de Guevara, (born July 1579, Ecija, Spain--died Nov. 10, 1644, Madrid), Spanish poet, playwright, and novelist who ranks high among the followers of Lope de Vega and displays a gift for creating character. His fantastic satirical novel, El diablo cojuelo (1641; "The Crippled Devil"), became well-known from its adaptation by the French dramatist Alain Lesage as Le Diable boiteux (1707; The Devil upon Two Sticks).After soldiering in Italy, Velez held various posts in noble and royal households, becoming a favourite of Philip IV of Spain. He was a remarkably successful playwright,..
Gomez Manrique, (born c. 1412, Amusco, Castile [now in Spain]--died c. 1490, Toledo), soldier, politician, diplomat and poet, chiefly famous as one of the earliest Spanish dramatists whose name is known. He fought with the leagues of nobles against King Henry IV of Castile and in support of the claims to the crown of the king's half sister Isabella.As a poet, Manrique is remembered for songs (some of which he wrote for Juana of Portugal, queen of Henry IV, before rising in opposition to the king), as well as elegies, satires such as the Razonamiento de un rocin a un paje ("Advice of a Horse to a Page"),..
Manuel Machado, in full Manuel Machado y Ruiz, (born August 29, 1874, Sevilla, Spain--died January 19, 1947, Madrid), Spanish poet and playwright, brother of Antonio Machado. The son of an Andalusian folklorist, he is best known for his popular poetry inspired by traditional folklore, as in Cante hondo (1912; "Singing from the Depths"). He collaborated with his brother on several verse plays, including Desdichas de fortuna o Julianillo Valcarcel (1926; "Miseries of Fortune; or, Julianillo Valcarcel") and La Lola se va a los puertos (1930; "La Lola Is Seen in Doorways").During his youth Machado..
Benjamin Jarnes, in full Benjamin Jarnes Y Millan, (born Oct. 7, 1888, Codo, Spain--died Aug. 11, 1949, Madrid), Spanish novelist and biographer.In 1910 Jarnes joined the army and began studies at the Zaragoza Normal School. In 1920 he resigned from the army and settled in Madrid. His first novel was Mosen Pedro (1924), but his reputation was established by his second, El profesor inutil (1926; "The Useless Professor"), a series of episodes with little narrative action that point out a professor's ineptitude and inability to tell reality from unreality. Similar motifs occur in El convidado..
Miguel Hernandez, (born Oct. 30, 1910, Orihuela, Spain--died March 28, 1942, Alicante), Spanish poet and dramatist who combined traditional lyric forms with 20th-century subjectivity.A goatherd in his youth, Hernandez joined the Spanish Communist Party in 1936 and fought in the Civil War (1936-39). Condemned to death by the Nationalists after the war, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after international protests. He died in prison soon afterward, at the age of 31. Hernandez's predominant themes are love--particularly of a sorrowful nature--war, death, and social injustice...
Fernan Perez de Guzman, (born c. 1378--died c. 1460), Spanish poet, moralist, and historian, author of the first important work of history and historiography in Spanish. His historical portraits of his contemporaries earned him the title of the "Spanish Plutarch."A member of a distinguished family, Perez de Guzman devoted himself to letters after being imprisoned by Alvaro de Luna, a counselor to King John II of Castile. Although his poetry went through many editions, it is not as a poet that he is chiefly remembered. His fame rests on his Mar de historias (1512; "Sea of Histories"), a collection..
Gonzalo de Berceo, (born c. 1198, Berceo, Spain--died c. 1264), the first author of verse in Castilian Spanish whose name is known.Berceo was a secular priest associated with the Monastery of San Millan de Cogolla in the Rioja, where he served as an administrator and notary. His works combined classical rhetorical style, popular poetic form, and the exhortative style of the sermon.Berceo's subjects were religious topics--the lives of the saints, the Mass, and the miracles of the saints and the Virgin. He wrote in Castilian, a dialect which was then considered inferior to Galician-Portuguese,..
Jose Maria Gironella, (born December 31, 1917, Darnius, Gerona, Spain--died January 3, 2003, Arenys de Mar), Spanish author best remembered for his long historical novel Los cipreses creen en Dios (1953; The Cypresses Believe in God), in which the conflicts within a family portrayed in the novel symbolize the dissension that overtook the people of Spain during the years preceding the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. The book, which won the National Prize for Literature, was the first explanation of the origins of that war that was well received by the Spaniards themselves.Gironella's formal..
Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, original name Gustavo Adolfo Dominguez Bastida, (born February 17, 1836, Sevilla, Spain--died December 22, 1870, Madrid), poet and author of the late Romantic period who is considered one of the first modern Spanish poets.Orphaned by age 11, Becquer was strongly influenced by his painter brother, Valeriano. He moved to Madrid in 1854 in pursuit of a literary career, and from 1861 to 1868 he contributed to the newspaper El Contemporaneo and other periodicals. Troubled by an unhappy marriage and financial difficulties, Becquer received acclaim only after his death..
Concha Alos, (born May 24, 1922, Valencia, Spain--died August 1, 2011, Barcelona), Spanish novelist and short-story writer, best known for her neorealistic, often existential works deploring social injustice, especially the institutionally sanctioned victimization of women.Alos and her family fled to Murcia during the Spanish Civil War. After her mother's death, Alos cared for her father and helped support her family. She married and moved with her husband to Palma, Majorca, where she taught for a few years and began to write. The marriage did not last, and in 1960 Alos settled in Barcelona,..
Michel del Castillo, in full Michel-Xavier Janicot del Castillo, (born August 2, 1933, Madrid, Spain), Spanish-born novelist writing in French, who became famous at 24 for a short novel, Tanguy (1957; A Child of Our Time). Though written as fiction, it is the story of his experiences as a political refugee and a prisoner in concentration camps, and, like The Diary of Anne Frank, it has the poignancy of a child's witness to harrowing historical events.Del Castillo fled Spain for France as a boy in 1939 with the exodus of refugees at the end of the Spanish Civil War. Shortly after, he was sent to Nazi..
Ramon Perez de Ayala, (born Aug. 9, 1880, Oviedo, Spain--died Aug. 5, 1962, Madrid), Spanish novelist, poet, and critic who excelled in philosophical satire and the novel of ideas.Perez de Ayala studied law at Oviedo University and philosophy and literature at the University of Madrid. During World War I he covered France, Italy, England, South America, and the United States as a correspondent for the Buenos Aires periodical La prensa. He was Spanish ambassador to England (1931-36) and voluntarily exiled himself to South America because of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). He was elected to..