Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, (born Sept. 6, 1806, Madrid--died Aug. 2, 1880, Madrid), one of the most successful of the Spanish romantic dramatists, editor of standard editions of Spanish classics, and author of fanciful poetry in a traditional style.Hartzenbusch was the son of a German cabinetmaker. Early tribulations ended with the production of Los amantes de Teruel (1837), a vivid dramatization of a legend, followed by successes with comedias de magia ("comedies of magic")--e.g., Los polvos de la madre Celestina, 1840--and adaptations of Golden Age plays. He entered the Spanish Academy..
Ramon Gomez de la Serna, (born July 3, 1888, Madrid, Spain--died January 12, 1963, Buenos Aires, Argentina), Spanish writer whose greguerias, brief poetic statements characterized by a free association of words, ideas, and objects, had a significant influence on avant-garde literature in Europe and Latin America.Gomez de la Serna studied law but never practiced. He devoted his life to literature, publishing his first book in 1904. About 1910 he invented the gregueria (the word was accepted into the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy), which he defined as "humour plus metaphor"; e.g.,..
Armando Palacio Valdes, (born October 4, 1853, Entralgo, Spain--died February 3, 1938, Madrid), one of the most popular 19th-century Spanish novelists, distinguished by his optimism, his charming heroines, his realism, and his qualities of moderation and simplicity.After studying law at the University of Madrid, Palacio Valdes began his literary career as a critic but soon turned to the novel. His novels are largely autobiographical, particularly Riverita (1886), Maximina (1887), and La novela de un novelista (1921; "The Novel of a Novelist"). He had an early interest in science, and..
Pedro Antonio de Alarcon y Ariza, (born March 10, 1833, Guadix, Spain--died July 10, 1891, Valdemoro), writer remembered for his novel El sombrero de tres picos (1874; The Three-Cornered Hat).Alarcon had achieved a considerable reputation as a journalist and poet when his play El hijo prodigo ("The Prodigal Son") was hissed off the stage in 1857. The failure so exasperated him that he enlisted as a volunteer in the Moroccan campaign of 1859-60. The expedition provided the material for his eyewitness account Diario de un testigo de la guerra de Africa (1859; Diary of a Witness), a masterpiece..
Jose Zorrilla y Moral, (born Feb. 21, 1817, Valladolid, Spain--died Jan. 23, 1893, Madrid), poet and dramatist, the major figure of the nationalist wing of the Spanish Romantic movement. His work was enormously popular and is now regarded as quintessentially Spanish in style and tone.After studying law at Toledo and Valladolid, Zorilla y Moral left the university and went to Madrid to devote himself to literature. In 1837 he became an overnight success with his recitation of an elegy at the funeral of the poet Mariano Jose de Larra. He ran away from his wife and financial distress and was abroad..
Vicente Blasco Ibanez, (born Jan. 29, 1867, Valencia, Spain--died Jan. 28, 1928, Menton, Fr.), Spanish writer and politician, who achieved world renown for his novels dealing with World War I, the most famous of which, Los cuatro jinetes del Apocalipsis (1916; The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 1918), was used as the basis for two U.S. films. He was associated with the Generation of '98 (q.v.).At the age of 18, while studying law at Madrid and contributing articles to political journals, Blasco Ibanez wrote an antimonarchist poem for which he was sent to prison--the first of many such punishments..
Pio Baroja, (born December 28, 1872, San Sebastian, Spain--died October 30, 1956, Madrid), Basque writer who is considered to be the foremost Spanish novelist of his generation.After receiving his medical degree, Baroja practiced medicine for a short time in a village in northern Spain, later returning to Madrid to work in the family bakery. As a member of the Generation of '98 (q.v.), Baroja revolted against the stultification of Spanish life. His first two books, a collection of short stories, Vidas sombrias (1900; "Sombre Lives"), and a novel, La casa de Aizgorri (1900; The House of the Aizgorri,..
Francisco Gomez de Quevedo y Villegas, (born Sept. 17, 1580, Madrid, Spain--died Sept. 8, 1645, Villanueva de los Infantes), poet and master satirist of Spain's Golden Age, who, as a virtuoso of language, is unequaled in Spanish literature.Quevedo was born to a family of wealth and distinction. He studied at the universities of Alcala and Valladolid from 1596 to 1606, was versed in several languages, and by the age of 23 had distinguished himself as a poet and wit. His elder contemporaries, Miguel de Cervantes and Lope de Vega, both expressed their esteem for his poetry, but Quevedo was more interested..
Fernan Caballero, pseudonym of Cecilia Bohl von Faber, or Cecilia Bohl de Faber, (born December 24, 1796, Morges, Switzerland--died April 7, 1877, Sevilla, Spain), Spanish writer whose novels and stories depict the language, customs, and folklore of rural Andalusia.Her father was Johann Niklaus Bohl von Faber, a German businessman who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a well-known critic of Spanish literature. He moved the family in 1813 to Andalusia, which was the native region of his wife. In 1816 their daughter Cecilia married Antonio Planells, a Spanish infantry officer who..
Leopoldo Alas, in full Leopoldo Alas y Urena, byname Clarin, (born April 25, 1852, Zamora, Spain--died June 13, 1901, Oviedo), novelist, journalist, and the most influential literary critic in late 19th-century Spain. His biting and often-bellicose articles, sometimes called paliques ("chitchat"), and his advocacy of liberalism, anticlericalism, and literary naturalism not only made him Spain's most feared critical voice but also created many enemies who later obscured his fame.After studying law in Madrid, he went to the University of Oviedo in 1870, received his degree, and took..
Serafin Estebanez Calderon, Estebanez also spelled Estevanes, byname El Solitario, (born Dec. 27, 1799, Malaga, Spain--died Feb. 5, 1867, Madrid), one of the best-known costumbristas, Spanish writers who depicted in short articles the typical customs of the people. He moved to Madrid in 1830, where he published newspaper articles under the pseudonym El Solitario and pursued a career that combined Arabic studies, poetry, and the collecting of manuscripts. He was also influential in the government...
Antonio Garcia Gutierrez, (born July 5, 1813, Chiclana, Spain--died Aug. 26, 1884, Madrid), dramatist whose play El trovador (1836; "The Troubadour") was the most popular and successful drama of the Romantic period in Spain. It formed the basis for the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il trovatore (performed 1853).After studying medicine briefly, he walked to Madrid, hoping to gain success as a playwright, but, because he was penniless, he enlisted in the army and travelled extensively. His last years were spent in various governmental posts, and he died while director of the Museum..
Agustin de Rojas Villandrando, (born August 1572, Madrid--died 1618, Paredes de Nava, Spain), Spanish actor and author whose most important work, El viaje entretenido ("The Pleasant Voyage"), a picaresque novel in dialogue form, provides a valuable account of the Spanish theatre in the 16th century and of the life of the actors. He is also considered the cleverest writer of loas (laudatory dramatic prologues) of his era.Rojas served as a soldier in France, was captured and then was ransomed in an exchange of prisoners. Back in Spain, he joined a touring acting company that traveled throughout..
Alonso de Castillo Solorzano, (born 1584, Tordesillas, Spain--died 1648), Spanish novelist and playwright whose ingenuity expressed itself best in his short stories.His father served in the court of the Duke of Alba and the son with the Marques del Villar and two marqueses de los Velez. His stories are usually of adventure but treated with wit and sophistication. Many of his tales are strung together by an artifice or are arranged, in indirect imitation of the Decameron, within a framework. Examples are: Jornadas alegres (1626; "Gay Trips") and Noches de placer (1631; "Nights of Pleasure")...
Vicente Garcia de la Huerta, (born March 9, 1734, Zafra, Spain--died March 12, 1787, Madrid), playwright, poet, and critic whose Neoclassical tragedy Raquel (1778) was once considered the most distinguished tragic drama of 18th-century Spain.Garcia held a position in the Royal (later National) Library and was a political prisoner in Oran, where Raquel was performed. Although he was learned and translated Sophocles and Voltaire, his critical ability was not very sound. His 16-volume Teatro espanol (1785-86; "Spanish Theatre"), a collection of Spanish drama from the Golden Age (c. 1500-1650),..
Gabriel Miro, (born July 28, 1879, Alicante, Spain--died May 27, 1930, Madrid), Spanish writer distinguished for the finely wrought but difficult style and rich, imaginative vocabulary of his essays, stories, and novels.Miro studied law at the universities of Granada and Valencia and in 1922 became secretary of the Concursos Nacionales de Letras y Artes in Madrid. His many novels include Nuestro padre San Daniel (1921; Our Father, Saint Daniel) and El obispo leproso (1926; "The Leprous Bishop"), both of which are critical of religious customs. Among his nonfictional works are Figuras de..
Manuel Breton de los Herreros, (born Dec. 19, 1796, Quel, Spain--died Nov. 8, 1873, Madrid), Spanish poet and one of the most important and prolific comic playwrights of the 19th century in Spain.Breton began his education in Madrid, where his family moved in 1806, later serving in the army from 1812 to 1822. He held various governmental positions throughout his life and was director of the National Library from 1847. A la vejez, viruelas ("In Old Age, Chickenpox"), his first play, was produced in 1824 and brought him immediate success. Of the almost 180 plays he produced during his lifetime, including..
Jose de Cadalso y Vazquez, Cadalso also spelled Cadahlso, (born Oct. 8, 1741, Cadiz, Spain--died Feb. 27, 1782, Gibraltar), Spanish writer famous for his Cartas marruecas (1793; "Moroccan Letters"), in which a Moorish traveler in Spain makes penetrating criticisms of Spanish life. Educated in Madrid, Cadalso traveled widely and, although he hated war, enlisted in the army against the Portuguese during the Seven Years' War. His prose satire Los eruditos a la violeta (1772; "Wise Men Without Learning"), directed against the pseudo-learned, was his most popular work.Although influenced..
Vicente Espinel, in full Vicente Martinez Espinel, (baptized December 28, 1550, Ronda, Malaga, Spain--died February 4, 1624, Madrid), Spanish writer and musician remembered chiefly for his picaresque novel La vida del Escudero Marcos de Obregon (1618; "Life of Squire Marcos of Obregon"), upon which the French novelist Alain-Rene Lesage based parts of his Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (1715-35; The History of Gil Blas of Santillane).After his expulsion from the University of Salamanca in 1572, Espinel entered the army and led a roguish life very much like that of his character Marcos,..
Fernando de Rojas, (born c. 1465, La Puebla de Montalban, Castile--died April 1541, Talavera de la Reina, Spain), Spanish author whose single work is La Celestina, an extended prose drama in dialogue that marked an important stage in the development of prose fiction in Spain and in Europe.Of Jewish parentage, Rojas received a bachelor's degree in law from the University of Salamanca about 1490. He later moved to Talavera, married, practiced law, and served briefly as lord mayor. The first version of La Celestina appeared under the title Comedia de Calisto y Melibea (1499) and contained 16 acts...
Alberto Lista, in full Alberto Lista y Aragon, (born October 15, 1775, Triana, Spain--died October 5, 1848, Sevilla), Spanish poet and critic considered to be the foremost member of the second Sevillian school of late 18th-century writers who espoused the tenets of Neoclassicism.At age 20, Lista held the chair of mathematics at a college in Sevilla (Seville); later (1807) he assumed the chair of rhetoric and poetry at the University of Sevilla. After spending four years (1813-17) in France, he returned to Spain and founded the periodical El censor and the Free University of Madrid. He spent..
Gonzalo de Cespedes y Meneses, (born 1585?, Madrid, Spain--died 1638, Madrid), Spanish writer of histories and short stories.Cespedes is best known for his early work, the romance Poema tragico del espanol Gerardo, y desengano del amor lascivo (1615-17), translated (1622) by Leonard Digges as Gerardo the Unfortunate Spaniard, or a Pattern for Lascivious Lovers. It was drawn upon by John Fletcher for two plays, The Spanish Curate (1622; with Philip Massinger) and The Maid in the Mill (1623; with William Rowley).Cespedes ran into political difficulties upon the publication of his Historia..
Diego de Torres Villarroel, (born c. 1693, Salamanca, Spain--died June 19, 1770, Salamanca), mathematician and writer, famous in his own time as the great maker of almanacs that delighted the Spanish public, now remembered for his Vida, picaresque memoirs that are among the best sources for information on life in 18th-century Spain.The son of a bookseller, he ran away from home and school and began a remarkable career as a dancer, musician, bullfighter, poet, lock picker, and seller of patent medicines. Returning home to Salamanca, he discovered a book on solid geometry and became a changed..
Juan Pablo Forner, (born Feb. 17?, 1756, Merida, Spain--died March 17, 1797, Madrid), foremost literary polemicist of the 18th century in Spain. His brilliant wit was often admirably used against fads, affectations, and muddleheadedness but also often cruelly and spitefully against personalities.Forner was educated in Salamanca, studying widely in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, philosophy, and law. His brilliant wit and biting sarcasm are clearly seen in his early work Satira contra los abusos introducidos en la poesia castellana (1782; "Satire Against the Abuses Introduced into Castilian..
Damaso Alonso, (born Oct. 22, 1898, Madrid, Spain--died Jan. 24, 1990, Madrid), Spanish poet, literary critic, and scholar, a member of the group of poets called the Generation of 1927.Educated at the University of Madrid, Alonso taught at the Centre of Historical Studies, Madrid (1923-36), and was a professor at the University of Valencia (1933-39) and the University of Madrid (1939-68). He was also a lecturer or visiting professor at universities in Germany, Britain, and, frequently, the United States.His first volume of poems, Poemas puros (1921; "Pure Poems"), were imagist, emphasizing..
Pedro Salinas y Serrano, (born November 27, 1891, Madrid, Spain--died December 4, 1951, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.), Spanish poet, scholar, dramatist, and essayist who was one of the outstanding writers of the Generation of 1927, an influential group of poets that included Jorge Guillen and Federico Garcia Lorca.Salinas studied and lectured at the Sorbonne for three years (1914-17) and then returned to Spain as professor of Spanish at Sevilla (1918). He later taught at the University of Cambridge, and, after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (1936), he lived in the United States, lecturing..
Juan Benet Goitia, Goitia also spelled Goita, (born Oct. 7, 1927, Madrid, Spain--died Jan. 5, 1993, Madrid), Spanish writer noted for his intricate novels and experimental prose style.Benet lived with his family outside Spain during the Civil War (1936-39). After returning to Spain, he studied civil engineering and earned an advanced degree in 1954. He became a highway engineer in rural areas of Spain, working in Leon in northwestern Spain, Asturias, and the Basque provinces.In 1961 he published a volume of short stories, Nunca llegaras a nada ("You'll Never Amount to Anything"). He settled..
Angel Ganivet y Garcia, (born Dec. 13, 1865, Granada, Spain--died Nov. 29, 1898, Riga, Latvia, Russian Empire), Spanish essayist and novelist, considered a precursor of the Generation of '98 because of his concern for the spiritual regeneration of his country. Fluent in five languages, he served with the Spanish consular service in Antwerp, Helsinki, and Riga. An anguished and skeptical man facing an uncertain prognosis of a progressive disease, and disillusioned in love, he drowned himself in the Dvina River at age 33.Ganivet's most important work is the Idearium espanol (1897; Spain,..
Jose Maria de Pereda, (born Feb. 6, 1833, near Santander, Spain--died March 1, 1906, Santander), Spanish writer, the acknowledged leader of the modern Spanish regional novelists. Born of a family noted for its fervent Catholicism and its traditionalism, Pereda looked an authentic hidalgo. An older brother provided him with an income that allowed him to become a writer. His first literary effort was the Escenas montanesas (1864), starkly realistic sketches of the fisherfolk of Santander and the peasants of the Montana. There followed other sketches and early novels of pronounced controversial..
Ramon Maria del Valle-Inclan, (born Oct. 28, 1866, Villanueva de Arosa, Spain--died Jan. 5, 1936, Santiago de Compostela), Spanish novelist, dramatist, and poet who combined a sensuous use of language with bitter social satire.Valle-Inclan was raised in rural Galicia, and after attending law school and visiting Mexico City he settled in Madrid, where he became known for his colourful personality. He early came under French Symbolist influence, and his first notable works, the four novelettes known as the Sonatas (1902-05), feature a beautifully evocative prose and a tone of refined and..
Rosario de Acuna, in full Rosario De Acuna Y Villanueva De La Iglesia, pseudonym Remigio Andres Delafon, (born 1851, Madrid, Spain--died 1923, Gijon), Spanish playwright, essayist, and short-story writer known for her controversial liberal views.Little is known of Acuna's early life. One of Spain's few women playwrights, she was considered radical for her willingness to address such issues as religious fanaticism, atheism, illegitimacy, civil marriage (and the possibility of divorce, anathema in Roman Catholic Spain), and reform of the criminal justice system.Acuna is best known..
Mariano Jose de Larra, (born March 24, 1809, Madrid--died Feb. 13, 1837, Madrid), Spanish journalist and satirist who attacked contemporary society for its social habits, literary tastes, and political ineptitude.Larra's family was forced to move to France in 1814 owing to public resentment against his father for having collaborated with the French during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain. They returned in 1818, and Larra's father became the personal physician to the brother of Fernando VII. In 1828 Larra published his own newspaper, El duende satirico del dia, for which he wrote his first..
Rosa Chacel, in full Rosa Clotilde Cecilia Maria del Carmen Chacel Arimon, (born June 3, 1898, Valladolid, Spain--died July 27, 1994, Madrid), leading mid-20th-century Spanish woman novelist and an accomplished essayist and poet who, as a member of the Generation of 1927, balanced her dense narrative style with surrealist imagery and psychological insights.Chacel studied painting and sculpture in Madrid, but ill health forced her to quit school in 1918. In 1922 she and her husband, the painter Timoteo Perez Rubio, moved to Rome, where Chacel taught at the Spanish Academy and wrote her first..