Literature in Spanish: The Spanish Language Canon


This seminar will focus on the study of literary works originated all over the Spanish-speaking world, paying attention not only to narrative works but also to the development of the poetic canon and the essay. In our approach, we will explore the multiple cultural and historical connections that have always linked the literary traditions of Latin America and Spain, also taking into consideration the important contributions made by US Latino writers. We will start with an examination of the current state of affairs in the Spanish-language novel and its complex relationship with other literary traditions in a context of intense transnational, trans-Atlantic, and transcontinental exchange. The second historical segment to be explored will cover the second half of the 20th century, especially the literary manifestations interested in leaving behind the once powerful legacy of magical realism. Thirdly, we will study the historical roots of the contemporary Latin American and Spanish literary traditions, reading a selection of masterpieces written between 1850 and 1936. In the spring, we will proceed in reverse chronological order, studying the convergences between the narrative and poetic manifestations of the Spanish language canon starting in 1898, with stopovers in crucial moments of the Baroque, the Renaissance, and the late Middle Ages. Authors under consideration include Neruda, Vallejo, Lorca, Manrique and the anonymous authors of the romancero (poetry), Vargas Llosa, Rulfo, Lezama, Valle-Inclán, Baroja and Cervantes (narrative), and Ortega y Gasset, Paz, and Unamuno (essay).