Spanish literature, the body of literary works produced in Spain. Such works fall into three major language divisions: Castilian, Catalan, and Galician. This article provides a brief historical account of each of these three literatures and examines the emergence of major genres.
Although literature in the vernacular was not written until the medieval period, Spain had previously made significant contributions to literature. Lucan, Martial, Quintilian, and Prudentius, as well as Seneca the Younger and Seneca the Elder, are among writers in Latin who lived in, or were born in, Spain before the modern Romance languages emerged. Women were also writing in Spain during the Roman period: Serena, believed to have been a poet; Pola Argentaria, the wife of Lucan, whom she is thought to have assisted in writing his Pharsalia; and the poet and Stoic philosopher Teofila. For works written in Latin during this period, see Latin literature: Ancient Latin literature. Later, the writings of Spanish Muslims and Jews formed important branches of Arabic literature and Hebrew literature. The literature of the former Spanish colonies in the Americas is treated separately under Latin American literature.