The literature of the Enlightenment in Spain (18th century)

The literature of the Enlightenment in Spain (18th century)

What period of literature are you referring to? : The literature of the Enlightenment in Spain (18th century)

The 18th century is known as the Age of Enlightenment because it rejects everything that is imposed on it and only admits what comes through the light of reason, which is the rule that governs all human manifestations and will be valued. as the only means of knowledge. The empirical method, which is based on experience, is preferred, and there is a special interest in progress, modernity and practicality

The motto of the Enlightenment is: sapere aude , “dare to know.”

In this period Spain was very disconnected from Europe and the ideas of the Enlightenment arrived here later, mainly in two ways:
– The dissemination of French books translated into Spanish (through the Bourbon monarchy that had just settled in the country);
– The appearance of newspapers , where the illustrated express their ideas and opinions.

What literary genres were cultivated?

Literary works aspire to be useful. The literary genres that can best achieve this goal are the essay, also called didactic prose , and the theater, because of its power to reach a large number of people.

The artistic movement that characterizes this era is neoclassicism, whose fundamental pillar is that it is written to educate and not to entertain.



Main works and most representative authors

As we mentioned, the authors who cultivated didactic prose and theater were the most notable of this period:

  • Benito Jerónimo Feijóo: Universal Critical Theater and Curious and Erudite Letters
  • Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos: Praise of Carlos III , Memory for the arrangement of the police of public entertainment and entertainment and on its origin in Spain  and Report on the agrarian law file 
  • José Cadalso: Gloomy Nights and Moroccan Letters
  • Leandro Fernández de Moratín: The prude , The yes of the girls and The new comedy or the coffee The literature of the Enlightenment in Spain (18th century)

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