When you come to Spain to study you most likely will run into them in the form of a statue or perhaps as a street name; Spain’s most famous writers and their main characters. The most famous character of them all can be found right in the city centre of Madrid, on the plaza España square. There you can picture-pose together with other tourists under the 3 metre high statue of Spain’s most famous knight and his servant; Don Quixote of la Mancha and Sancho Panza. These two main figures play the main lead in Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) most famous novel Don Quixote of La Mancha.
Cervantes wrote the novel around 1604 when he was doing jail time in Sevilla for unpaid debts. The first part of book was published in 1605 and was immediately an enormous success and in 1615 the second part came out. The story describes the adventures of a delusional knight and his servant Sancho Panza and is considered to be a comedy but was mainly written by Cervantes to criticize Spain’s society at the time, mocking Spanish nobility and the existent religious orders. Don Quixote is considered as one of the most influential work of literature of all times and is also the most translated book after the bible.
Another famous Spanish author who lived at the same time and who Cervantes admired and was jealous of because of his enormous productivity, was famous play writer and poet Félix Arturo Lope de Vega (1562-1635). Lope de Vega is considered to be one of the greatest Spanish writers that have ever lived, upstaged only by Cervantes. You can find his statue on the plaza de la Encarnación in Madrid where you can see him reading a book. It is said that Lope de Vega wrote more than 2000 theatre plays of which around 500 have survived. His most famous work is probably Fuente Ovejuna or The Sheep Well (1614), a play based on an actual historical incident that took place in the village of Fuenteovejuna.
Other famous Spanish writers who are also from Spain’s golden age were Tirso de Molina, Francisco de Quevedo and Pedro Calderon de la Barca. The first two authors also have their own metro stations in Madrid named after them. Another famous poet who also has his own metro station named after him is Antonio Machado (1875-1939). He is best known for his social realistic poetry and his most famous works are Soledades and Campos de Castilla, a collection of poems lyricizing the beauty of the Castilian countryside. Spain’s most philosophical writer is probably Miguel de Unamuno (1864–1936) who has his own statue in the city of Salamanca. Unamuno is best known for his novel Abel Sánchez, a modern re-creation of the biblical story of Cain and Abel.
The most famous Spanish writer, poet, and dramatist of all times though is Federico García Lorca (1898-1936). He is considered to be the most influential Spanish poet of the 20th century and his poetry continues to influence even current generations. His statue can be found in the city centre of Madrid, on the ever lively plaza Santa Ana square. His most famous poems describe mostly a vivid portrait of fascinating Spain in the 20th century with typical Spanish topics such as bullfighters, olive groves, whitewashed villages and gypsies who live and love freely and passionately according to their own rules.
Garcia Lorca was assassinated in 1936 in the Spanish civil war by nationalists and his death is still symbolized one of the biggest tragedies in Spain. Famous American jazz artist Ben Sidran wrote a song about this assassination as well on Garcia Lorca´s own piano in 1998. You can find the song on Grooveshark: http://grooveshark.com/s/On+Defeating+Death+Absent+Soul/4aNwEI?src=5