Pathfinder Repository


Spanish Literature

This Pathfinder is no longer being actively maintained by ipl.


Because Spanish literature is such a broad area of study, spanning over several centuries of rich tradition, this Pathfinder is not intended as an exhaustive compilation of everything available on the subject on the Web and in print. Rather, its purpose is to provide some direction to anyone interested in learning about Spanish literature. Although this is the main focus of this guide, some resources on Spanish American literature have also been included.

General search strategies

Here we suggest some subjects and keywords that can be used in library databases and on the Internet to start your research on Spanish literature.

  1. Search keywords
    • Subjects, e.g., comedy, picaresque
    • Authors by name, e.g., Miguel de Cervantes, Francisco de Quevedo
    • Places, e.g., Spain, Mexico
    • Time periods, e.g., Golden Age, 20th century
  2. Call numbers
    1. Library of Congress — (LC). The Library of Congress Classification System (LC System) is used to organize books in many academic and university libraries throughout the United States and the world. Books on this topic can be found under “Spanish literature”, PQ.
      • Spanish literature —— (PQ6001-PQ8929)
      • Spanish literature—Collections —— (PQ6170-PQ6269)
      • Spanish literature—History and criticism —— (PQ6001-PQ6168)
    2. Dewey Decimal Classification — (DDC). Under the Dewey Decimal Classification, favored by most public libraries, books about Spanish literature are classified under “Spanish literature”, the assigned Dewey number being 860. Also check for related topics; for example “Romance literatures” (840).

Print resources

Books on Spanish literature would fill entire libraries. Begin your search by using general sources. Once a basic understanding of the topic has been achieved, then move on to sources that are more specialized.

Among the general reference sources stands out Historia critica de la literatura espanola (Critical History of the Spanish Literature, Francisco Rico, Editor, Editorial Critica, Barcelona, 1980, 9 vols.). Each volume is edited by a specialist in the field and includes essays by prestigious scholars. They include a bibliographical guide. It covers from the Middle Ages to 1990.

In English, a valuable general work is The Oxford Companion to Spanish Literature (Philip Ward, Editor, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978). Its emphasis is on biographies. Authors, titles, terms, institutions, and literary movements are covered. Although focused on the peninsular literature, Spanish literature of South America and the Philippines are also represented. Contains works written in Catalan, Basque, and Galician, as well as Castilian. Includes many bibliographic references for further information.

An important work is also A History of Spanish Literature (Guillermo Diaz-Plaja, translated and edited by Hugh A. Harter. New York University Press, New York, 1971). Abridged translation of the author’s 6-volume work in Spanish, this is an important book arranged by period. Each section is written by a specialist in the field and includes an extensive bibliography. Covers from the Middle Ages to the mid- 20th century, and includes Arabic, Catalan, Hebrew, and Latin literature of Spain and Spanish America and the Philippines.

For Hispanic literature, an excellent resource to look for in your local library is Hispanic Literature Criticism (Jelena O. Krstovic, Editor, Gale Research, Detroit, 1994). Reprints selected criticism on 71 Hispanic writers from the last century. Each entry includes a biographical essay that summarizes major works and the critical response to them, and a list of works in their original language, with English translation when relevant. Focus is on authors of the Americas, with only eleven from Spain and Portugal.

For Spanish American literature, two books will provide you with a good stating point. A Companion to Spanish American Literature (Stephen Hart, Tamesis, Rochester, NY, 1999) is a thorough introduction to the main works and writers of the Spanish American canon by a leading scholar. For a more scholarly treatment, see An Introduction to Spanish-American Literature (Jean Franco, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 3rd edition, 1995). Although first published in 1969, this edition has been updated, and the last chapters have been radically rewritten to include the latest developments in literature and criticism.

Finally, there are many scholarly articles contained in journals. The Hispanic Journal (semiannual, published by Indiana University Press), and Hispanic Review (quarterly, published by the University of Pennsylvania) offer a wide range of critical essays on language and literature, as well as book reviews.

Web resources

The Internet has also a great deal to offer to those interested in Spanish literature. From primary sources through essays on specific periods of Spanish literature to biographies of well and not so well know authors, there are many sites devoted to Spanish literature. These sites vary in their scholarship and accuracy, so judgment on the part of the user is critical.
The following resources have been divided into broad categories for easier browsing.

1. Spanish literature.. These sites include resources dealing specifically with Spanish and Spanish American literature.

  • Spanish literature (Center for the Liberal Arts, University of Virginia)
    A collection of links to authors, book reviews, libraries and online texts focusing on the content of Spanish and Latin American literature, language, and cultures.

  • Iberian Language and Literature Web
    Selected resources that include reference works, bibliographies, electronic texts and literary reviews.

  • Lanic
    An excellent source for Spanish American literature maintained by the University of Texas. Resources are arranged geographically by country, and include magazines and journals, biographies of authors, texts and newsgroups.

  • IPL
    Literature references. Excellent coverage of varied subjects that can be browsed by author, criticism, time period and others. The casual user can find materials of interest to academics and researchers as well as undergraduate and graduate students.

2. Primary sources. Links to collections of some of the most important texts for the study of Spanish literature.

3. Biographies.

  • Famous Hispanic Writers
    This is part of a larger project and provides information about the life and work of some Hispanic writers. In English.

  • Escritoras.com
    Excellent site that offers services devoted to the world of literature written by contemporary Spanish American women. It provides information about the writers, as well as interviews, chats, its own magazine and a search engine to browse the site. In Spanish.

  • Cervantes Project 2001
    This is an ambitious project to develop the first comprehensive bibliography of studies, editions, and translations of Cervantes’ works, as well as a digital archive of photographic images on Cervantes’ times and works suitable for teaching and research purposes. In English and Spanish.

This pathfinder was created by Javier Ascasibar