Early Spanish Literature

We continue to expand our collection of early Spanish literature, with a particular focus on the Siglo de Oro (Spanish Golden Age). This period spans two centuries from the publication of Antonio de Nebrija’s Grammar of the Castilian Language in 1492 to the death of the playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca in 1681. 

Presently, our holdings encompass significant early editions of works by esteemed authors such as Miguel de Cervantes, Francisco de Quevedo, Luis de Góngora, Lope de Vega, and Pedro Calderón de la Barca. The collection also includes a substantial number of Spanish comedias sueltas: single plays primarily published in pamphlet-like booklets in quarto format.

A cornerstone of this collection is the Edward Glaser Collection. Glaser’s collection excels in various areas, including biblical commentaries, Spanish Renaissance drama, Judaica, the Spanish Inquisition, poets and poetics from the 16th through the 19th centuries, moralistic literature, early editions of the Portuguese poet Luís de Camões, the Spanish novelist Mateo Alemán, and classical works translated into Spanish. 

The Early Spanish Literature Collection is housed in the Special Collections Research Center.

History of the collection

Edward Glaser (1918-1972), a renowned professor of early Spanish literature at Harvard and the University of Michigan, amassed an exceptional collection of Spanish and Portuguese works, mostly spanning from the 15th to the 17th centuries. We acquired Glaser's personal library of early imprints after his passing.

Materials in the collection

Drawing of a knight's helmet on top of book surrounded by an ornate frame.

Illustration on the title page of Obras de Garcilasso de la Vega con Anotaciones de Fernando de Herrera. Published by Alonso de la Barrera, Seville, 1580. Former owner, Edward Glase.


Pablo Alvarez

Curator, Special Collections Research Center