AP Spanish Literature and Culture Timeline

This timeline details the works of the 2013-2014 AP Spanish Literature reading list, as well as major literary periods and a few key historical moments in Hispanic history.

History of Spain and the Americas

Major Hispanic historical events

Moorish Control of Spain

711 - 1492

Marriage of Ferdinand and Isabela


The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabela brought about Christian unification in Spain

Christopher Columbus Arrives in the New World


Christianity becomes the Religion of Spain

1492 - 1502

Muslims and Jews forced to leave Iberian Peninsula

Treaty of Tordesillas


This treaty divided Latin America into 2 for the Spanish and the Portuguese.

Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs

1519 - 1521

Spanish Conquest of the Inca

1537 - 1572

Spain conquests the Incans with the help of conquistador Francisco Pizarro

Venezuela Begins Independence Movement in Latin America

1811 - 1898

Venezuela declares independence, and many Latin American countries follow suit.

Mexican-American War

1846 - 1848

US Construction of the Panama Canal

1904 - 1914

Spanish Civil War

17 July 1936 - 1 April 1939

The brutal Spanish civil war lasted almost 3 years and was fought between Nationalists and those loyal to the Spanish Republic.


Works on the 2013-2014 reading list, their authors, and a short summary.

Romance de la perdida de Alhama


Author: anonymous
The king of a Spanish town bears bad news that the town has fallen to the Moors. He condemns everyone for letting the tragedy happen, but a wise Arabic man tells the truth that the King did nothing to help the town either.

El Burlador de Sevilla


Author: Tirso de Molina
Prose (play)
This story outlines the crazy life of a certain Don Juan. Act I shows Juan pretending to be the King of Spain at night. He tricks the Queen into thinking this and narrowly escapes the guards. His uncle, Pedro, is angry but protects him. We move to Tisbea, who is liberated from love. Tisbea nurtures Juan after he nearly drowns, and because of his bravery, she falls in love with him. The King promises Juan's hand in marriage to a man's daughter. Juan is also warned for the 1st time that he will pay for his sins of seduction.
Act II- a lot of marital checks and balances take action, and Juan marries Isabela, the woman he apprehended in Act I.
Act III- Isabela, Aminta, and Tisbea all meet (the past is coming back to haunt Juan). Juan invites a statue to his home as a joke, but he is haunted and the statue shows up. The ghost tortures and kills Juan. The scene moves to everyone who has been wronged by him complaining to the king. News of his death arrives, and the 3 women are considered widows.

Hombres Necios


Author: Sor Juana
Sor Juana writes this emotional poem to accuse men of falsely accusing women for evils within the world. She uses a sharp and accusatory tone to show that women are not the only issue. Her main message is that men blame women for issues they are pigeonholed into by men themselves.

El Hijo


Author: Horacio Quiroga
The father, a widower, allows his son to go alone into the woods to hunt. The father is at unrest because the son is his whole life. At 10, he hears a shot, but hopes that it is just his son catching an animal. At 12:30, he sees the son reappear. But the son has died from a hunter's trap; it is an illusion of the father's to deal with the grief.

Peso Ancestral


Author: Alfonsina Storni
poem, 3 quatrains
The woman is told that her ancestors, including her father and grandfather, did not cry or complain; they were made of steel. As she is told this, the woman cries a venomous tear, for she cannot bear the burden of her pained ancestors.

San Manuel Bueno, mártir


Author: Miguel de Unamuno
Angela tells the story. She is a devout Catholic from a small Spanish town that boasts a very religious man, Manuel. Lazaro, Angela's brother, is less of a believer. They both leave the town, but are drawn back because of Manuel. Lazaro feigns conversion to Christianity and becomes a disciple of Manuel. Manuel admits that he does not believe in life after death, but that the faith is a comfort to people's problems in life. Manuel becomes ill, urges the townspeople to remain faithful, and dies. Lazaro dies shortly after. Even Angela is left with her faith shaken. The story deals with themes of faith, reasoning, and judgement.

La Casa de Bernarda Alba


Author: Federico García Lorca
Prose, play
Bernarda is a tyrannical old woman whose husband just died. She forces her several daughters into mandatory mourning in the home. However, Adela, one of the daughters, continues her courtship with a man named Pepe. Pepe sneaks around with several of Adela's sisters. All of the sisters long for sexual and familiar freedom away from the repression of their mother. Anguistias announces her engagement to Pepe, and she and Adela quarrel. Bernarda goes and shoots Pepe, and, in her grief, Adela hangs herself. Bernarda demands that Adela be burried a virgin, despite her obvious interaction wtih Pepe. The story communicates the over-importance of purity of children in the eyes of the mother and the pain surrounding the search for love.

No oyes ladrar los perros


Author: Juan Rulfo
A father carries his son through a mountainous region for medical attention through the night, for the son has been shot while robbing a house. Both the father and the son show increasing weakness and impatience for each other when they do not make a very strong effort to continue the journey. They are tired. The father tells the son that he only helps him in the name of his dead wife, the mother of the son. The father no longer recognizes the son as his son because he has sinned so much. They arrive in the village at dawn, with the father carrying the body of the dead son.

...y no se lo tragó la tierra


Author: Tomás Rivera
This book is 14 short stories about a young chicano migrant boy. In "and the earth did not devour him," the boy curses God for his hardships. He struggles with religion because even after cursing God, his family members have improved health and life gets better. This is the most significant work in the book about his faith, besides "A Silvery Night." In that story, the boy calls the devil and puts on a devil's mask. The devil doesn't come, and the boy realizes that there is no devil. He is disillusioned with his faith.

Chac Mool


Author: Carlos Fuentes
prose, epistolary (diary)
Filiberto has an average life and an interest in indigenous art. He buys a Chac Mool statue to put in his home, and the Chac Mool is mystical. It begins to take human form, sleeping in a bed and using gross lotion. However, Chac is very old and feels the weakening effects of age as he humanizes. He scares Filiberto, and Filiberto tries to swim to escape. He drowns (where the story begins). The narrator is a friend reading Filiberto's diary. He finishes reading and meets an ugly yellow man who reeks of lotion (Chac Mool has humanized).

Literary Periods

Time frames of major literary periods you should know.

The Beginnings of Spanish Literature

1099 - 1400

This was the pre-Renaissance of Spanish literature. Spain was greatly influenced by Italy, hence religious undertones in many works. Most works were passed down through oral story-telling. Lazarillo de Tormes was written during this time, which set off a wave of popularity for the picaresque novel.

Mesteres de Clerecía y Juglaría

1300 - 1400

The clerecía consists of the oral poems told by trained poets and clerics. These poems were carefully crafted to represent a set rhyme scheme and rhythm. Popular themes included saints and Christianity. The juglaría is the poems written by minstrels; they do not follow a set form, use assonance instead of rhyme, and were recited to uneducated audiences.


1300 - 1600

Much conflict between Spain and Italy during this time spurred new ideas in literature. There were two schools of poetic thought: Salmantine was concise and realistic, and Sevillan was complex and grandiloquent. Much of the literature of the time had to do with Christianity (ordered by the Crown to reaffirm the faith of the country) and romantic thought. Christian apologetics was an important thought in prose. The picaresque novel was popular. Carpe Diem became an important theme.


1600 - 1700

Baroque writing is characterized by pessimism, disillusionment, and worry about passing time. Don Quixote is the most important work of the period.


1700 - 1800

The Enlightenment was characterized by a few key thoughts:
Anti-Baroquism fought the ideas of Baroque writing; it focused more on simplicity and satire.
Neo-Classicism was experienced by Spain alongside Italy and France. It was influenced by Greek classics.
Pre-Romanticism began to seek new unhappiness with the tyranny of reason and authority.


1800 - 1850

Romanticism focused on rebellion against authority but also a return to the Catholic religion. The thought of costumbrismo prominently focused on the lives of common people. Romanticism was replaced by realism.


1850 - 1900

Realism focused on familiar conflicts such as marital woes. It was often in defense of a literary thesis of the author. Characters often were psychological studies.

Generation of '98

1898 - 1938

This period was filled with criticism for the Spanish literary establishment and its conformity. The group of writers and philosophers were young Spanish people born in the 1870s who lived during the Spanish Civil War. They brought back old and lost Spanish words, and they showed support for old Spanish regionalism instead of the Spanish country being supported again by the Restoration movement.


1900 - 1970

Modernism rejected the ideals of realism. Art was now created for art's sake, and everything was heavily embellished and ornate. Characters were grandiose. Symbolism was frequently used.

Generation of '27

1923 - 1927

This generation of avant-garde poets rose over a 4 year period and had their first meeting in 1927. They used a wide variety of styles, but the majority tried to incorporate both traditional Spanish lore and sophisticated European thought into their works.

El Boom

1960 - 1967

The Boom was a major time period in Latin American literary history. Mixing of languages, crossing of styles, and pushing of traditional Latin American societal norms was frequent. The Boom introduced Latin American literature to the world stage as a serious category.