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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Fall 2006

SPN 365K • Contemporary Spanish American Prose

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
49150 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
BEN 1.124

Course Description

This course will study literary works from the Latin American and Caribbean canon in which the act of remembering is emphatically dramatized and described. The exploration of memory--both long and short-term, both personal and collective--has traditionally been one of the most prominent motives for writing narratives, fictional or otherwise. In this course we will emphasize narratives of remembrance and the mechanisms that narrators use to motivate memory recall and reconstruct or correct ambiguous or contradictory recollections. We will see how "memorial fictions" or "personal" memoirs are often written with the purpose of compensating for a missing document or an absence or fissure in official historiography or national or family archives.

We will also see how narrative fiction confuses the act of remembering with acts of fancy and imagination to show that there is a dynamic, complementary relation between recollection and invention. We will also make a distinction between the genre of "autobiography" and the genre of "memoirs." While "autobiography" is centered only around the life of the remembering subject, the "memoirs" tends to de-emphasize the author as object and concentrates on themes and objects outside of the author's ego: life in a city, family relations, the spirit of an "epoch", etc. Finally, we will theorize about the history of writing "memorias" (rather than "autobiography") as a very prominent genre in Latin American literature.

Grading Policy

Three essays, three to five pages each: 30% Final term paper, 10-12 pages: 40 % Class participation and oral reports: 30%


Jorge Luis Borges, "Funes el memorioso" Severo Sarduy, "Arqueologëa de la piel" Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva Espaïa Alvar Nþïez Cabeza de Vaca, Naufragios Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, "Carta a Sor Filotea" Juan Francisco Manzano, Biografëa de un esclavo Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias Teresa de la Parra, Memorias de Mamá Blanca José Emilio Pachecho, Las batallas del desierto Elena Garro, Los recuerdos del porvenir Isabel Allende, Paula Reinaldo Arenas, Hasta que anochesca


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