and helped to deliver them from many superstitions and absurd prejudices. The study of the ancient classics and the department of learned research in the domain of national histories and litera tures had an eminent representative in Gregorio Mayans y Siscar (1699-1781), who worthily carried on the great traditions of the Renaissance; besides publishing good editions of old Spanish authors. Something of the old picaresque novel came to life again in the Fray Gerundio of the Jesuit Isla, a biographical romance which is also and above all a satire on the follies of the preachers of the day. One or two poets can be named. At the head of the new school is Melendez Valdes, and with him are associated Diego Gonzalez Jose Iglesias de la Casa known by his letrillas, Cienfuegos, and some others.
Among the verse writers of the 18th century who produced odes and didactic poetry it is only necessary to mention Leandro Fernandez de Moratin and Quintana. The poverty in lyric poetry is even exceeded by that of the stage. The only dramatist who was really successful in composing on the French pattern some pleasant comedies, is Leandro Fernandez de Moratin. There was one writer of talent, Ram6n de la Cruz; nothing helps us bet ter to an acquaintance with the curious Spanish society of the reign of Charles IV. than the interludes of this genial and light hearted author.
The first decidedly romantic poet of the generation which flour ished about 1830 was the duke of Rivas whose drama of Don Alvaro 6 la fuerza del sino inspired Verdi's opera La Forza del Destino. Espronceda is a cosmopolitan romantic of the school of Byron. An exclusively lyric poet, he did not live long, but what he has left is often exquisite. Zorrilla has a more unequal talent;
nevertheless, among hasty performances, his Don Juan Tenorio, a fantastic version of the legend treated by Tirso de Molina, Cal deron, Moliere, Zamora, Shadwell and Byron, is a curious specimen of Spanish romanticism. The play by Garcia Gutierrez, entitled El Trovador, inspired Verdi's well-known opera.
Breton de los Herreros is the last of the dramatists who pre served the feeling of the ancient comedic. Marianc Jose de Larra, a prose writer of the highest talent, must be placed beside Es pronceda, with whom he has several features in common. Caustic in temper, he was specially successful in the political pamphlet, the article d'actualite, in which he ridicules the oddities of his contemporaries. Also, we have Mesonero Romanos, whose Escenas matritenses (1842), give pleasure by the curious details they fur nish with regard to the contemporary society of Madrid. Este banez Calderon in his Escenas andaluzas (1847) sought to revive the manner of the picaresque writers. Agustin Duran published highly esteemed collections of old Castilian literature.