A Spanish Canon

In my investigations into canons, wading through some tedious articles about how canons themselves were the product of c18th English literary disputes (exactly the same literary disputes we saw earlier – Voltaire on Shakespeare – raw talent vs polished perfection), we came across what we’d been looking for anyway: – a list of stuff: – I append it here below, a Spanish canon, derived from the reading lists of 56-Ph.D granting Spanish courses at US universities: – all those appearing on at least 50% of courses listed, both Spanish Spanish and Latin-American Spanish (this is novelists only: – we have no interest in Spanish poetry or theatre, as those of any language in truth) / (the B denotes Bloomian recognition of same): By author: Spain

  1. Cervantes, Miguel de – B
  2. Galdos, Benito Perez – B
  3. Cela, Camilo Jose – B
  4. Unamuno, Miguel de – B
  5. Clarin (Leopoldo Alas) – B
  6. Quevedo, Francisco – B
  7. Baroja, Pio
  8. Martin-Santos, Luis
  9. Ercilla, Alonso de
  10. Pardo Bazan, Emilia
  11. Valle-Inclan, Ramon del
  12. Goytisolo, Juan – B
  13. Valera, Juan
  14. Montemayor, Jorge de
  15. Aleman, Mateo
  16. Gracian, Baltasar
  17. Rodriguez de Montalvo, Garcia
  18. San Pedro, Diego de
  19. Sanchez Ferlosio, Rafael
  20. Azorin (Jose Martinez Ruiz)
  21. Delibes, Miguel

Latin- American

  1. Garcia Marquez, Gabriel – B
  2. Carpentier, Alejo – B
  3. Fuentes, Carlos – B
  4. Vargas Llosa, Mario – B
  5. Rulfo, Juan
  6. Azuela, Mariano
  7. Gallegos, Romulo
  8. Asturias, Miguel Angel – B
  9. Guiraldes, Ricardo
  10. Cortazar, Julio – B
  11. Echeverria, Esteban
  12. Fernandez de Lizardi, Jose
  13. Isaacs, Jorge
  14. Rivera, Jose
  15. Puig, Manuel
  16. Arguedas, Jose Maria
  17. Cabrera Infante, Guillermo – B

(Yes, and I really mean novelists – hence no Borges – or Quiroga). By novels: Spain 17th

  1. Don Quijote de la Mancha – Cervantes – B
  2. El Buscon – Quevedo
  3. Guzman de Alfarache – Aleman
  4. El Criticon – Gracian


  1. La Regenta – Clarin – B
  2. Pepita Jimenez – Valera
  3. Los pazos de Ulloa – Bardo-Pazan
  4. Fortunata y Jacinta – Perez Galdos – B
  5. Misericordia – Perez Galdos


  1. Niebla – Unamuno
  2. Tiempo de silencio – Martin-Santos
  3. El arbol de la ciencia – Baroja
  4. La colmena – Cela – B
  5. La familia/Pascual Duarte – Cela
  6. San Manuel bueno, martir – Unamuno
  7. El Jarama – Sanchez Ferlosio
  8. Senas de identidad – Goytisolo
  9. Tirano Banderas – Valle-Inclan

Latin- America 19th

  1. El matadero – Echeverria
  2. Maria – Isaacs
  3. El periquillo sarnient – Lizardi


  1. Cien anos de soledad – Garcia Marquez – B
  2. Pedro Paramo – Rulfo
  3. La muerte de Artemio Cruz – Fuentes
  4. Los de abajo – Azuela
  5. Dona Barbara – Gallegos
  6. Don Segundo Sombra – Guiraldes
  7. El senor Presidente- Asturias
  8. La Voragine – Rivera
  9. Rayuela – Cortazar – B
  10. Los pasos perdidos – Carpentier – B
  11. Los rios profundos – Arguedas
  12. Tres tristes tigres – Cabrera Infante – B

So, at least Bloom has often heard of their more famous writers – but we can’t be surprised: Spanish literature is unknown to your average Anglo-Saxon reader beyond Cervantes (Bloom gives us a grand total of 3 novels from c20th); and Latin American literature is similarly unknown pre-1950s. Let’s face it, you’d have a hard time finding a lot of these novels in English: – even Unamuno’s Niebla (the great Spanish work of the c20th, according to this list / probably one of the greatest works by anyone in c20th), seems to have had one edition published in English in the last 30 years – by the University of Illinois. (I recommend the Bollingen Series edition, since it comes packaged with 2 other novels). Never fear though – Obooki will be “reviewing” some Quevedo, Cela, Perez Galdos, Unamuno, Baroja (we are reading at the moment), Pardo-Bazan, Valle-Inclan, Goytisolo (we did a Goytisolo already somewhere), Sanchez Ferlosio, Azorin, Delibes, Carpentier, Azuela (we’ve read it, but not written anything yet), Gallegos, Asturias, Cortazar, Rivera, Arguedas, and Cabrera Infante (along with sundry others, either on the list we might come by, or not) – just as soon as we can get around to it.


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