European Countries

Spain Literature From the 1970s to the Early 21st Century

In poetry, the 1970s open with the anthology Nueve novísimos poetas españoles (1970) by JM Castellet, which offers a panorama of the revolt of young people against ‘committed poetry’. Among the most important poets: P. Gimferrer, F. de Azúa, LM Panero, promoters of a strongly aesthetic and intellectual lyric. In fiction, which reveals a strong influence of Hispano-American literature, among those who began publishing in the early 1960s and who gave the best of their production in the following decades, we should mention G. Torrente Ballester, A. Cunqueiro, called the Galician Borges, and J. Benet, creator of a Faulknerian narrative world of great complexity. Among the narrators, alongside the aforementioned Martín Gaite, Matute and E. Soriano, already established in the 1950s, M. Mayoral, L. Ortiz, Spain Puértolas stand out. Overall, the literary production of the last decades of the twentieth century is characterized in Spain by a series of experiences that it would be difficult to put together in a unitary framework.

● According to, in the years 1980-1990, poetry with a colloquial tone and a realist setting, which brought man back to the fore and did not shy away from traditional forms, documented in the work of M. d’Ors, F. Ortiz, LA de Cuenca, L. García Montero and F. Benítez Reyes, finds new shades and accents in the more abstract and metaphysical direction, open to reflection and meditative tones, typical of authors such as C. Marzal and J. Riechmann, or in the hard realism of R. Wolfe. On another side, the neo-purist lyric of R. Romojaro, A. Sánchez Robayna and J. Navarro, which has its roots in the symbolism and tradition of pure poetry, joins the more markedly experimental trends, in the wake of the poetry of the years 1970, by JM Bonet, A. Trapiello and B. Andreu. Particularly fruitful, in the last years of the 20th century, is also the refined erotic poetry of writers such as A. Rossetti and J. Castro. But it is above all in the line of the poem de la experiencia that the innovations of greatest interest are perceived: this realistic and figurative lyric deals with everyday and universal themes, but always from the point of view of the single individual, and is alien to any ideological setting. Among the exponents of this trend: A. García; A. Paniagua; L. Plana; L. Muñoz; A. Tesán; C. Pardo.

● In the field of fiction, one of the most fruitful strands is that which unites reflection on the process of writing with the attempt to order the chaotic experience of reality: A. Muñoz Molina, Á. Pombo, the writer Martín Gaite, J. Marías (Negra espalda del tiempo, 1998; Tu rostro mañana, 3 vol., 2002-07). The rediscovery of the traditional novel also explains, in particular, the success of the novela negra, in which the structure of the detective story is happily combined with sociological analysis: Buenos Aires, 1997) and numerous novels appear in its wake that attempt to emulate its success. These detective stories often cross over into novels that are not strictly attributable to the category of ‘mystery’, but rather open to socio-political investigation and reflection on current events (Galíndez, 1990, by Vázquez Montalbán; Plenilunio, 1997, by Muñoz Molina ; La piel del tambor, 1995, by A. Pérez Reverte). Another revaluated genre is the action and adventure novel, sometimes with a historical background (think of the novels by Pérez Reverte El Capitán Alatriste, 1996, and Limpieza de sangre, 1997). But perhaps the most significant trait of fiction from the last twenty years of the 20th century. onwards it is to be found in the disruptive presence of intimate existential stories, sometimes with a psychoanalytic slant, which invade novels and short stories: Corazón tan blanco (1992) and Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí (1994) by Marías; Donde las mujeres (1996) by Pombo; La mirada del alma (1997) by LM Díez. The female presence is relevant in this line, with works in which, alongside a marked intimist vein, feminist problems or issues felt to be peculiar to the female universe find space (E. Tusquets; R. Montero; the aforementioned Martín Gaite; P. Díaz-Mas; M. Soriano; A. Grandes ; L. Castro). A change of course seems, however, to characterize the works of younger writers, where, under the guise of a recovery of realism attentive to the desperation and rebellion of the young world, a vein of marked experimentalism emerges (A. Cerezales; D. Múgica ; JA Mañas).

● Finally, with regard to experimental innovations, some theatrical groups had great importance, born between the years 1960 and 1970, especially in Catalonia, often dedicated to street theater, which favored the plastic, sound and gestural element over the word: among these the most famous is undoubtedly La Fura dels Baus.

● For an overview of the most important Spanish-American Castilian ➔ literatures, literature.

Spain Literature From the 1970s to the Early 21st Century