Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy


Spanish Reading Lists

The Spanish Prelims (Preliminary Examinations), for which you study in your first year at Oxford consists of two language papers and two literature papers, as outlined below:

Paper I

a) translation of a passage of modern English into Spanish (called a ‘prose').

b) a set of grammatical sentences in English for translation, designed to test your knowledge of grammar.

Tuition for this paper is organised centrally and you will be taught mainly by native speakers in classes with students from other Colleges.

Paper II

a) two translations into English of similar length but different registers.

This paper is taught by me weekly to the students of my two Colleges (Lincoln and Jesus) together. As well as learning translation skills, we continue to work on Spanish grammar and vocabulary in these classes.

Paper III

This paper involves the study of four works of prose fiction written by authors from several Spanish-speaking countries. You will have centrally-organized lectures on these texts as well as tutorials taught by me. This Paper III material will be examined by a three-hour written paper in which candidates must answer three essay questions on three separate texts.

The texts to be studied are:

  • Miguel de Cervantes, ‘Rinconete y Cortadillo’ from Vol. 1 of Novelas ejemplares (ed. H. Sieber, Madrid: Cátedra).
  • Ana María Matute, Primera memoria (Destino), or, alternatively, the novel can be found in the trilogy Los mercaderes (Destino).
  • Nellie Campobello, Cartucho (ed. Josebe Martínez, Cátedra).
  •  Alejo Carpentier, El reino de este mundo (Austral).

Paper IV

This paper consists of two plays, two poetic anthologies and one collection of poems, selected to introduce you to literature from the medieval period to modern times. It is taught, like paper III, in tutorials in College, and through lectures. This Paper IV material will normally be examined by a three-hour written paper in which you must answer three commentary questions, taking one from each of the three periods (medieval, Golden Age, and modern), with a choice of passages in each case (passages will be ‘paired’).

The texts to be studied are:

  • El romancero viejo, ed. M. Díaz Roig (Madrid: Cátedra). Poems 1,3, 5,6,7, 8, 9,14, 18, 38, 40, 44, 50, 52, 54, 66, 68, 72, 76, 86, 94, 97 and 97a, 99, 110, 111, 117, 121, 125, 127, 128.
  • Golden Age sonnets, please see the separate PDF for the thirty sonnets that are prescribed.
  • Pedro Calderón de la Barca, El médico du su honra (ed. D. W. Cruickshank, Madrid: Castalia).
  • Federico García Lorca, Doña Rosita la soltera (ed. Mario Hernández Sánchez, Madrid: Alianza).
  • César Vallejo, Los heraldos negros (ed. René de Costa, Madrid: Cátedra).

For language work, the following are essential:

A good bilingual dictionary, preferably the Oxford Spanish Dictionary (4th ed., 2008), and Butt and Benjamin, A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish.

It is important that you read at least the texts for Paper IV before coming to Oxford to keep up with the workload, as we will make a start on this paper in the first term.

Do not hesitate to contact me, if you have any queries. You can reach me preferably by email ( or by phone (01865 279777).

Dr Daniela Omlor, Fellow in Spanish

Prefer to work from a paper copy? Download a printable version here.