SPANISH LITERATURE: THE HYPOCHONDRIAC KILLER AND BRAVEHEART
“A good book is an event in my life”, is a famous quote from 19th-century French writer Stendhal. Spanish books are heroic and sublime, frank and fierce. Today, writers have become the mouthpiece of the Spanish era. According to the great scientist of the Northern Renaissance, Erasmus of Rotterdam, even in the 16th century “science and scholarship in Spain attained marvellous prosperity. It was used as a model for all European scientists”. Spanish was the language of international communication under Charles V. Literary Spanish hit a genuinely high level.
Spanish literature through the ages
The oldest known work of Spanish literature, the epic poem “The Song of My Lord” was written about a real man, about his battles and his daily life. It is thought that the anonymous poem was written, in the year 1140. This epic represents realism, nothing was exaggerated and the detail is clear. Thus, it can be said that patriotism was a typical theme for Spanish literature from the 13th century or earlier still in the 12th century. All of the early period is characterized by elevated feeling, “knight’s brave heart” and the people’s spirit.
The heroic epic talks more eloquently and authentically about the history of the country than any historical document. The Golden Age of Spanish culture spans the entire 16th and half of the 17th century.
The Spain of this period is the birthplace of the leading prose genre of modern European literature – the novel. The genre of the novel derives from “Don Quixote” by Cervantes. Juan Boskan led an Italian trend in Spanish poetry. Dramatic poetry reaches a high level in the 16th century. During the Baroque period of the 17th century, the most important topics were the prose of Francisco de Quevedo and Baltasar Gracian. Enlightened thinkers of the 18th century sought to apply systematic thinking to all forms of human activity. Early Romanticism appeared with the singular figure of Manuel Jose Quintana. There are various themes relating to romanticist works e.g. oneself, passionate love, legendary and historic themes, religion, social demands, nature, and satire.
Realism in the end of the 19th century was mixed with Naturalism. The intellectual movement was in Modernism. It expresses a pessimistic judgement about Spain. After the First World War, the Spanish literature entered the period of Modernism and Surrealism associated with the philosophy of Hegel and Freud’s ‘Theory of the Unconscious. Researchers believe that Lorca was the 20th century link between and Spain the foundations of the Avant – garde movement.
A new stage as a challenge to the past
There is a branch of the Cervantes Institute in Russia, whose task is to advance the development of cultural relations between Spain and Russia. Spanish literature can now be described as “post-modernism with a splash of realism”. Spanish writer and military journalist Arturo Perez-Reverte in his works occasionally permits amusing hoaxes with reference to his own works. War was a relevant feature in literature at all times. The genre science fiction is weak in modern Spanish literature. Spanish philosopher and journalist Juan Jacinto Muñoz Renhel, is the author of many titles which have been translated into English, French Russian, and German. His latest novel, “The Hypochondriac Killer” became a best seller in many countries around the world. Novelist and playwright Eduardo Mendoza is considered one of the greatest Spanish writers of our time. His novels are constantly filmed and read. The first novel by the Catalan anthropologist Alberto Sanchez Pinol “In the Heady Silence” about human fear has become a publishing phenomenon – this work has been translated into 22 languages in 24 countries. Currently, Spanish literature returns to the pedestal of the world literary stage.
1. “Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Lord Polonius: What is the matter, my lord?
Hamlet: Between whom?
Lord Polonius: I mean the matter that you read, my lord.”
– William Shakespeare, Hamlet