During the time that I have held the Taylorian Teachership of Spanish at Oxford, I have frequently received letters asking what there is to read in Spanish besides Cervantes and Calderon and what editions should be used. The present volume is intended to answer these questions, and to show the position occupied by the great writers in the general scheme of the literature of their country. The various divisions of the great subject have been exhaustively treated up to their several dates by Nicolas Antonio, Ticknor, Amador de los Rios, Schack and Wolf, to whose books I beg to acknowledge my many obligations, hoping at the same time that the present general sketch may be useful to the general reader, and to the beginner, and may serve as an introduction to more extensive works.
I am aware that a few short extracts, however well chosen can give no adequate idea of the manner of a great writer or of the merits of a great book, and that translations, even by the most skilful hands, are wont to reproduce the defects rather than the beauties of their original. The extracts here printed are intended to relieve the monotony of a long list of short notices of authors, and to illustrate the development of the language and progress of literary method; they are, as far as possible, characteristically Spanish in subject and, it is hoped, of sufficient interest to induce readers to refer to the books from which they are taken
Chapter 1 Introduction, Chapter 2 Formation of the Spanish Language and beginning of Spanish Literature, Chapter 3 Chronicles and Romance of Chivalry, Chapter 4 The Ballads, Chapter 5 Catalan Literature, Chapter 6 Origin of the Drama, Chapter 7 Poetry of the Fifteenth Century - Foreign Influences, Chapter 8 The Novel, Chapter 9 Mystic and Religious Writers, Chapter 10 History, Chapter 11 Religious and Secular Poets of the Golden Age - Culteranismo, Chapter 12 Didactic Works and Collection and Proverbs, Chapter 13 Cervantes, Chapter 14 Lope De Vega, Chapter 15 Quevedo, Chapter 16 Calderon, Chapter 17 Other Dramatists of the Golden Age, Chapter 18 Epic and Narrative Poetry in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Chapter 19 From the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century to the War of Independence, Chapter 20 The First half of the Nineteenth Century, Chapter 21 Contemporary Literature, Alphabetical Index of Authors and Editions recommended for a course of Spanish Reading, Alphabetical List of a few of the Principal Authorities on Spanish Literature, Index
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