Spain: A Short History of Its Politics, Literature, and Art from Earliest Times to the Present

Spain: A Short History of Its Politics, Literature, and Art from Earliest Times to the Present

Spain: A Short History of Its Politics, Literature, and Art from Earliest Times to the Present

Spain: A Short History of Its Politics, Literature, and Art from Earliest Times to the Present

Excerpt

This is an honest book, Reader; it is intended for the ignorant and the indolent, for passengers in steamer chairs, bound on their first voyage to Vigo or Barcelona, for freshmen or sixth-formers that wish to learn, with the least expenditure of effort, whether or not Spanish literature is likely to be worth such attention as they can spare from football and social pleasures. There may be persons, too, not in either category, that have never opened Ticknor and wonder vaguely whether Spanish literature between Cervantes and Blasco Ibáñez is really as blank as it seems, or who recognize photographs of Las Meninas, of The Surrender of Breda, and of the Virgin Mary, high in the vault of heaven with her white foot on the crescent moon, and would like to know what happened in Spanish painting before Velásquez and Murillo and afterward, until Goya came along. Others still have learned from Washington Irving that the Moors built the Alhambra, but feel a little vague as to how or when Gothic cathedrals, of which returning travelers tell marvelous tales, were built and where. To the appetites of these classes I try to minister.

Spain is the product of various factors. The Iberians, whoever they were, contributed the original human stock; the Romans trained this stock and gave it their language and civilization; the Visigoths brought Teutonic usages; Arabs and Moors commu-

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