Spanish 420

SPAN 420: Survey of Spanish American Lit. I: Colonial Period to Vanguardismo

Prerequisites: Spanish 300 and Spanish 320 or equivalent

Credit Hours: (3)

A study of the literature of the countries of Spanish America from the Colonial Period to Vanguardismo. Historical and cultural background emphasized; most important works are read and discussed in class. Taught in Spanish.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course will begin with a general introduction to the different literary periods which correspond to successive stages of historical and cultural development in Spanish America. Each period will then be studied in depth, considering how historical, sociological, and political events, as well as Native-American, European, African and Oriental traditions have contributed to the development of Spanish American literature. A comprehensive discussion of the historical and cultural background of each period is followed by an analysis of representative works of selected authors. The order of coverage of the topics is as follows:

I. The Colonial Period: From Discovery to Independence (1492-1824).

            1. Christopher Columbus
            2. Fray Bartolomé de las Casas
            3. Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo
            4. Hernán Cortés
            5. Bernal Díaz del Castillo
            6. El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega
            7. Alonso de Ercilla
            8. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
            9. Enlightenment and Revolt (1750-1824)

II. Romanticism (1830-1860): In Search of Cultural and Political Emancipation.

            1. Esteban EcheverrIa
            2. Jorge Isaacs
            3. Juan Zorrilla de San MartIn
            4. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
            5. José Hernández

III. Realism and Naturalism (1860-).

            1. Roberto J. Payró
            2. Javier de Viana
            3. Baldomero Lillo

IV. Modernism (1898-1910): Spanish America’s Original Contributions to World Literature.

            1. Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera
            2. José Marti
            3. Julián del Casal
            4. José Asunción Silva
            5. Ruben Darlo
            6. José Enrique Rodó
            7. Julio Herrera Y Reissig
            8. José Santos Chocano
            9. Emique Gonzalez Martinez


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course traces the development of Spanish American literature from the Colonial Period to Modernism. Literary, historical and journalistic readings are combined with films, slides, and videos to provide students with the tools for an in-depth analysis of selected works of literature. This course will be conducted entirely in Spanish and requires active class participation. Although one third of the contact hours would have to be categorized as lecture,’ about two thirds of class time is devoted to open discussion of selected topics either in groups of three or in a general class setting. Students should be able to express and support opinion, and to discuss concrete and abstract topics in Spanish. In addition, students are required to give an oral report on one of the topics discussed in class and to write one ten-page term paper or two to three shorter papers in Spanish dealing with either one of the literary movements or with the work of one of the authors studied in class. Each student will also be required to conduct research exercises using Infotrack, foreign newspapers and journals listed in the World Wide Web and the MLA bibliographical data system. Students are expected to share their favorite “hangouts,” to provide the instructor with Xerox copies of all the on-line readings used to write the assigned reports, and to provide their class mates with a detailed outline of their oral communications. All the assignments are to be typed, double-spaced with one inch margins on all four sides, and size 12 font. Documentation for all written assignments must follow the 1985 M Style Manual.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. Students should show that they have developed the skills needed to locate and organize information about Spanish American literature from the library, the mass media, the World Wide Web, and the MLA data system.
2. Students will be able to read, understand and analyze outstanding literary works in Spanish America from the Colonial Period to Modernism.
3. Students will develop critical methods for analyzing a literary text and for writing a research paper.
4. Students will be able to discuss concrete and abstract topics in Spanish.
5. Students will be able to give supported opinions or hypotheses in Spanish.
6. Students will develop stronger synthesizing skills for reading and writing about belletristic texts.


Assessment Measures

Active class participation, written assignments, and oral or written reports will count 30% of the final grade. Individual initiative as well as regular class attendance will figure prominently in the class participation component of the final grade. Students are expected to read carefully the day’s assignments and come to class well prepared for a thorough discussion of the readings. Three hourly exams will count 45%, and the comprehensive final exam, with emphasis on the last part of the course, will count 25%.


Other Course Information

Foreign Language majors with an option in Spanish are required to include at least two 400-level courses into their program of studies. Spanish 420 fulfills part of this requirement for majors.


Review and Approval

September 2001 Reviewed Bernadine Banning