In the 18th cent. French neoclassicism exerted a powerful—and inhibiting—influence on Spanish literature. The Poética of Ignacio de Luzán reflected the academic principles of the epoch. An important essayist was Benito Gerónimo Feyjóo y Montenegro, a Benedictine who helped to usher the Enlightenment into Spain.
Three authors stood out as notable exceptions in the midst of a general decline in literary creativity: Leandro Fernández de Moratín, a writer of plays in the neoclassic vein; Ramón de la Cruz, author of popular playlets called sainetes; and the poet Juan Meléndez Valdés. While Manuel Quintana's patriotic verse was neoclassical in form, it anticipated romanticism in its emotion.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.