German / Spanish fifth meeting: From Goethe to Lorca

This week’s meeting was completely different to all the ones we had before. This time we decided to settle in a cozy café and talk about German and Spanish literature, which, as a humanities student seemed like a perfect plan to get to know German and Spanish culture.

German literature was our first stop, starting from a list of some of the most important german authors and their books. We read some interesting facts about their life, the novels and poems they wrote and specially about what made their work important to the moment’s culture. It was great talking with a German speaker about important pieces of their literature, such as Kafka’s The Trial, which Christina recommended, as well as putting in common different things we knew about these authors, such as the television adaptation of Berlin Alexanderplatz, which I knew from my Barcelona classes.

By the end of the german part of the meeting Christina read some German and even Russian poetry, which she later translated so that we could learn the vocabulary. Even though we did not know many of it, it was great hearing the poems, since they sounded musical and had a great message.

For the Spanish part of the meeting, Eider and I showed some of the most relevant Spanish authors, which are vital not only to discover Spanish literature but also to understand how the country is nowadays. This was specially relevant talking about Lorca or Machado, two authors who had a tragic life in Spain due to the politics of the country, situation that could relate to the actual state of the country. We also showed Goya, a painter who dedicated part of his career to show the violent situation of Spain in the nineteenth and eighteenth century.

Lorca poem, Pequeño vals vienés, sung by Sílvia Pérez Cruz


Goya’s painting Saturn Devouring His Son

Christina later tried reading a Lorca poem, Romance Sonámbulo, and together we translated it. It was awesome showing what it meant as well as refreshing Christina’s Spanish vocabulary. For example, the poem used the word verde, green, a lot, so that she could have a great way of remembering it.

I strongly believe that these meetings really help us as learners, because not only are they useful to get used to new words but also to get motivated for learning the language. The mere idea of reading Goethe or Lorca in their original language is really appealing and pushes you further when trying to learn the language. Furthermore, as a humanities student, it is really interesting to share cultural views on our countries through our most important authors. I hope therefore that we can do something similar as soon as possible.


Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh,
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Above all sumits
Above all summits
it is calm.
In all the tree-tops
you feel
scarcely a breath;
The birds in the forest are silent,
just wait, soon
you will rest as well.


Todo pasa y todo queda,
pero lo nuestro es pasar,
pasar haciendo caminos,
caminos sobre el mar.

Antonio  Machado

All goes, and all remains,
but our task is to go,
to go creating roads
roads through the sea.

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