Welcome to my website. This website was founded primarily to share information about the Galician poet and translator Xosé María Díaz Castro. But it has grown into a website that encompasses other Spanish poets who have made waves not only in their native Spain but across the world.
This is largely because you cannot talk of Díaz Castro without talking of Galician literature. And you cannot speak of Galician literature without speaking of the Spanish literature it has influenced, and has been influenced by. Then there is the other relevant area of interest which deals with translations of Spanish works and translations in general.
Since Díaz Castro was a translator himself, who brought the works of many English, German and French-speaking poets and philosophers to us in Spanish, this website is in the spirit of that accessibility which the poet created for his readers. On this website, I want to bring the treasure trove of Spanish literature to readers who are just discovering great modern and historical works, as well as those who don’t know where to start.
An Overview of Galician Literature
Spanish prose and poetry in historical and contemporary works are rich in the variety of genre they belong to. Spain alone has many different streams of literature. For example, there is Galician literature, which was ahead of the Castilian tradition during the Medieval period but declined in use as Castilian slowly became the language of literature. That is, until a brave woman named Rosalia de Castro put her foot down and decided to write in Galician.
The love of country and freedom that Galicians share has also been evident in other Galician poets like Francisco Anon y Paz. Eduardo Pondal y Abente wrote poems of Celtic mythology and nature, a link that the Galicians share with their cousins across the Atlantic in Ireland. Another Galician poet, Valentín Lamas Carvajal, spoke for and as the Galician peasant in his works.
Modern prose writers like Aurelio Ribalta and Heraclio Perez Placer have written noteworthy short stories. Rosalia de Castro has also written novels that have great literary merit.
Also flourishing in the Middle Ages was Catalan culture, dominated by influences from the Provencal region of France. Catalan lies in the north, sharing borders with Italy and France. There, the Catalan language developed independently of Spanish. Many people do not know that Catalan is not a dialect of Spanish, but a language that developed on its own from Latin.
In the early Middle Ages, troubadours sang songs that slowly began to lose their Provencal influence. French romance themes like the Arthurian Cycle offered a rich source of material. The troubadours also used the noves imades meter, singing in rhymed couplets with lines of eight syllables.
In the 15th century, a lot of great poets composed in Catalan, both in Spain and in Barcelona. The royals were patrons of Catalan poetry. One of the greats was the Valencian Ausias March, whose cants d’amor and cants de mort (“Songs of love” and “songs of death”) are some of the finest to come out of Catalan. These verses went on to influence Castilian poets when it became the lingua franca of Spain. But Catalan survived against odds, and today we can read the works of Josep Maria Espinàs, Salvador Espriu and Joan Oliver, better known as Pere Quart.
Castilian literature needs not introduction. The Castillian language has had the longest continuous run, from the heroic poetry of the Middle Ages to the contemporary novels of today. People in Madrid, Salamanca and Castile still are proud of their accent and believe Castillian Spanish is the proper form to speak in. This is standard Spanish, according to the Real Academia Espanola.
But there is a whole host of literature to be read and discovered in other dialects that do not deserve to be overshadowed by historical Castillian literature. Today, we also have bestselling Spanish novelists like Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Whether you call it Nocilla or La Luz Nueva, the response to pop culture and social fragmentation by the contemporary Spanish writer group mostly born between 1960 and 1976 provides a fascinating picture of Spain and the rest of the world today.
There is also the Novela Negra or crime novels, historic novels, experimental novels by Jorge Márquez, Aliocha Coll and others, and “intimate novels” waiting to be explored.
That is the reason for this blog’s existence. I hope that with my great interest, the dedication of poets and translators like Xosé María Díaz Castro, a lot of Spain’s regional identities will be preserved in their literature and give rise to new talents.