Meaning of literary currents

What is Literary Currents:

Literary currents are understood to be the sets of literary works that are created during a certain period and share a series of common characteristics such as style, themes, aesthetics and ideologies.

In the literary currents, the various authors also stand out, since they expose a series of realities and social, political and cultural criticisms that respond to a place and moment in the history of humanity.

Authors are also grouped in literary currents who, together, recognize among themselves a series of opinions and feelings shared and expressed through writing.

Even, as has been seen in some cases, there are movements that have written their own manifestos in order to establish the principles of a particular literary trend.

It is worth mentioning, on the other hand, that literary currents coincide, in turn, with other artistic expressions, as well as painting or music, in which various movements can also be found that are distinguished by reflecting a particular period.

See also:

  • Literature.
  • The 7 characteristics that define literature.

Timeline of literary currents

Below are the main literary currents according to their chronological order.

Greek literature

Greek literature spans from the 4th century BC. until IV AD In this period the most important literary works of Western culture were produced, recounting religious stories of gods, demigods and fantastic feats.

Among them we can mention The Iliad, from Homer, The Aeneid, by Virgilio, among others.

See also:

  • Greek literature.

Middle Ages

It comprises from the 5th century AD. until the 14th century AD, whose literary works relate the exploits of knights and the various confrontations and wars after the conquests and losses of territories, especially during the crusades. It reflects a dark age. Among the most prominent authors is Dante Alighieri with his work The Divine Comedy.

See also Medieval literature.


The Renaissance occurred during the 15th century and the end of the 16th century. It is characterized by placing the man as a central theme, as well as, by representing, idealizing and capturing reality.

Notable authors include Garcilaso de la Vega, Nicolás Maquiavelo and William Shakespeare.


This literary trend developed in the seventeenth century, and during a time of general crisis that was reflected in artistic representations. It is characterized because the literary works contain a muddled language, the central themes are death, religion or metaphysics, it presents paradoxes and contrasts.

Among the authors that stand out are Francisco de Quevedo, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Luis de Góngora, among others.


This current covers the eighteenth century, known as "The century of lights." It was a time in which the taste for ancient spiritual, intellectual and artistic customs and aesthetics was rescued, just as the Greeks did. During neoclassicism, symmetry and careful literary elaboration prevailed.

The authors representing this current were Voltaire, Rousseau, Moliere, among others.


Romanticism was a current that emerged in Germany between the 18th and 19th centuries. It was characterized by the predominance of feeling over reason, originality and fantasy, admiration for nature, as well as by the exaltation of the "I". Among its main exponents are Víctor Hugo, Edgar Allan Poe, among others.

See also Romanticism.


It was a literary trend that emerged in the second half of the 19th century in France. It is characterized by demonstrating the plausibility and being based on the observation and description of reality, therefore it reacted to romanticism.

Among the most prominent authors we can mention Leon Tolstoi, Gustave Flaubert, Fedor Dostoevsky, among others.

See also:

  • Literary realism.
  • Realism.


It emerged in America at the end of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century and does not imitate any previous current. It was characterized by exposing a large number of symbols and images, using inelegant language, rejecting everyday life and the search for perfection.

Among the authors of this current we can mention Rubén Darío, Amado Nervo, José Martí, among others.


The avant-garde literary trend emerged between the processes of the First World War and the Second World War in the 20th century, in Europe and later in America. This current is characterized by containing images of great feeling and originality.

The literary works and artists of this current are the result of a critical historical moment that awakened the search for the spirit of freedom, as well as rejected previous rhetorical formulas.

The avant-garde explores and exposes the irrational. Among its authors we can mention Gabriel García Márquez, César Vallejo, André Bretón, Frank Kafka, among others.

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