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Home » Language Resources » Spanish Literature » History of Spanish Literature » The Golden Age » Poetry: Góngora y Quevedo

History of Spanish literature

Literature in Spain: Poetry in the Golden Age

Poetry in the Golden Age

In the Baroque period the Spanish language matured, as poetry became one of the highest renowned arts. All of the artistic innovations that had been introduced in the Renaissance were modified and became much more elaborate. Poetry divided into two sectors, “culteranismo” and “conceptismo”. These two divisions became enemies because of the different ways that the poetry was interpreted.

Culteranismo is an artistic tendency that is based on the search for the reader´s astonishment through the use of hyperbaton (deliberately changing the word order of a sentence for emphasis or effect) and dark words. They used mythological themes and a large amount of neologisms (words that only have meaning for the person that uses them), which made the text difficult to understand. One word was often replaced by a longer explanation. The founder and main representative of this trend was Luis de Góngora y Argote.

Conceptismo: This trend gave importance to the association of new elements that are not related, in order to surprise the reader. They included new resources such as the “Germanías” which were words that came from the margins of society. Compound and comparative sentences were created. Conceptismo had its base in the poetry of the previous era. For Baltasar Gracián it was “the act of understanding that expresses the correspondence between objects”. Its origins are in Petrarchanism which was introduced by Ausias March and Garcilaso. This movement was the base of culteranismo also, since the idea of “concept” was very important during the Baroque period.

Within the poetry of the Baroque era the following themes existed:

Alongside these themes there was love and pastoral poetry, themes that had been inherited from the songbooks of the Renaissance.