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

Fall 2007

SPN 374K • Colonial Spanish American Literature: Wandering between the Monstrous and the Marvelous

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
49425 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Ben 1.122

Course Description

In the very first deception of the New World written by a European, Columbus constructs his representation of what he took for the "Indies" upon the basis of a binary opposition between the marvelous and the monstrous. This bipolar vision of America has dominated much writing about Spanish America ever since, and noted writer Alejo Carpentier was to identify the early chronicles and relaciones of the colonial period as the foundational texts of what he was to postulate as the underlying principle of Latin American culture: the marvelous real (lo real maravilloso). In this course, we will explore selected, early representations of quests driven by desire (for fame, wealth, power, salvation, safety, liberation) that propel their protagonists through both geographical and discursive spaces constructed around the marvelous and the monstrous.

Grading Policy

Detaliled outline of term paper & bibliography (5 pages) 10% Preliminary draft of term paper (10-15 pages) 20% Final draft of term paper (15 pages) 30% Mid-term exam 30% Class participation 10%


Bernal Díaz del Castillo. Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España. Ed. Joaquín Ramírez Cabañas. México: Porrúa, 1960. Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Naufragios. Ed. Trinidad Barrera. Madrid: Alianza, 1989. Tedlock, Denis, trans. Popol Vuh: The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life. 2nd Ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996


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