Andalusia Literature and philosophy

Andalusia plays a significant role in the history of Spanish-language literature, although not all of the important literature associated with Andalusia was written in Spanish. Before 1492, there was the literature written in Andalusian Arabic. Hispano-Arabic authors native to the region include Ibn Hazm, Ibn Zaydún, Ibn Tufail, Al-Mu’tamid, Ibn al-Khatib, Ibn al-Yayyab, and Ibn Zamrak or Andalusian Hebrew poets as Solomon ibn Gabirol. Ibn Quzman, of the 12th century, crafted poems in the colloquial Andalusian language.

In 1492 Antonio de Nebrija published his celebrated Gramática de la lengua castellana (“Grammar of the Castilian language”), the first such work for a modern European language. In 1528 Francisco Delicado wrote La lozana andaluza, a novel in the orbit of La Celestina, and in 1599 the Sevillian Mateo Alemán wrote the first part of Guzmán de Alfarache, the first picaresque novel with a known author.

The prominent humanist literary school of Seville included such writers as Juan de Mal Lara, Fernando de Herrera, Gutierre de Cetina, Luis Barahona de Soto, Juan de la Cueva, Gonzalo Argote de Molina, and Rodrigo Caro. The Córdoban Luis de Góngora was the greatest exponent of the culteranismo of Baroque poetry in the Siglo de Oro; indeed, the style is often referred to as Góngorismo.

Literary Romanticism in Spain had one of its great centers in Andalusia, with such authors as Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd Duke of Rivas, José Cadalso and Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. Costumbrismo andaluz existed in literature as much as in visual art, with notable examples being the Escenas andaluzas of Serafín Estébanez Calderón and the works of Pedro Antonio de Alarcón.

Andalusian authors Ángel Ganivet, Manuel Gómez-Moreno, Manuel and Antonio Machado, and Francisco Villaespesa are all generally counted in the Generation of ’98. Also of this generation were the Quintero brothers, dramatists who faithfully captured Andalusian dialects and idiosyncrasies. Also of note, 1956 Nobel Prize-winning poet Juan Ramón Jiménez was a native of Moguer, near Huelva.

A large portion of the avant-garde Generation of ’27 who gathered at the Ateneo de Sevilla on the 300th anniversary of Góngora’s death were Andalusians: Federico García Lorca, Luis Cernuda, Rafael Alberti, Manuel Altolaguirre, Emilio Prados, and 1977 Nobel laureate Vicente Aleixandre.

Certain Andalusian fictional characters have become universal archetypes: Prosper Mérimée’s gypsy Carmen, P. D. Eastman’s Perro, Pierre Beaumarchais’s Fígaro, and Tirso de Molina’s Don Juan.

As in most regions of Spain, the principal form of popular verse is the romance, although there are also strophes specific to Andalusia, such as the soleá or the soleariya. Ballads, lullabies, street vendor’s cries, nursery rhymes, and work songs are plentiful.

Among the philosophers native to the region can be counted Seneca, Avicebron, Maimonides, Averroes, Fernán Pérez de Oliva, Sebastián Fox Morcillo, Ángel Ganivet, Francisco Giner de los Ríos and María Zambrano.

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