Spanish 421

SPAN 421: Survey of Spanish American Literature II: Postmodernism to Contemporary Period

Prerequisites: Spanish 300 and Spanish 320 or equivalent

Credit Hours: (3)

A study of the literature of the countries of Spanish America from Vanguardismo to Contemporary period. 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. Postmodemism (1910-)

            1. Rafael Arévalo Martínez
            2. Horacio Quiroga
            3. Ramón López Velarde
            4. Gabriela Mistral
            5. Alfonsina Stomi
            6. César Vallejo
            7. Vicente Huidobro
            8. Juana de Ibarbourou
            9. Nicolás Guillén
            10. Luis Pales Matos
            11. Alejo Carpentier
            12. Pablo Neruda
            13. Juan Rulfo

II. Contemporary Writers (1960-)

            1. Julio Cortázar
            2. Octavio Paz
            3. Emilio Carballido
            4. Rosario Castellanos
            5. Carlos Fuentes
            6. Gabriel GarcIa Márquez
            7. Elena Poniatowska
            8. Luisa Valenzuela
            9. Rosaiio Ferré
            10. Isabel Allende
            11. Laura Esquivel
            12. José Donoso
            13. José Lezama Lima
            14. Severo Sarduy
            15. Guillermo Cabrera Infante
            16. Mario Vargas Liosa
            17. Miguel Angel Asturias


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course traces the development of Spanish American literature from Postmodenism to the present. 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 MLA 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 Postmodernism to the present.
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 welt 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 421 fulfills part of this requirement for majors.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews
September 2005 Reviewed Philip Sweet