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

Spring 2004


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43950 MW
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Batts 106

Course Description

This course has two fundamental purposes: To study some important Spanish American novels and short stories, and to explore the ways in which narrative is discussed and analyzed in current-day academic criticism of Spanish American literature. It is a course about the novel and short story, but it is equally a course about the contemporary practice of literary criticism. To some extent this will be a course in literary history. The works will be read in chronological order, and attention will go to tracing the progression of Spanish American narrative through such movements and tendencies as romanticism, realism and naturalism, modernismo, avant-garde currents, the nueva narrativa, and the postboom. At the same time, the course will focus on identifying what makes certain readings of and observations about these narrative works stand out as significant research. Why are some readings of these works not merely published and read, but able to effect the way that the texts are read? What factors make a literary study be recognized as up to date, well-argued, or original? How do topics of critical study gain currency among critics, and why do researchers abandon the inquiry into certain issues? How does a new analysis fit in with the research that has already been carried out? How does one develop a fresh perspective on a text that has already been analyzed many times? Conversely, where does one begin to comment on a new text about which extremely little has been written? The readings will consist of Spanish American novels and short stories together with critical studies of them. The critical analyses will be read, not just as aids to reading the primary text, but in and of themselves to see how critics go about approaching very different types of narrative works and seeking to make significant observations about them.

Grading Policy

Each student will be required to write a term paper of 17-20 pages. The term paper may be a literary analysis, but it cannot be exclusively one person’s view of a given narrative work. The analysis must be presented in relation to the history of research on the text and author under study. An alternative to doing a literary analysis for the term paper is to write a meta-critical essay reviewing and evaluating the criticism on a given text or writer. Term Paper: Proposal, 30% of final grade Final Version: 60% of final grade (17-22 pages double spaced and following either MLA or Chicago bibliographic style) Reports in class, 10%


Each primary text will be read together with critical articles, collected in the course packet. Esteban Echeverría, “El matadero” Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab Alberto Blest Gana, Martín Rivas Jorge Isaacs, María María Luisa Bombal, La última niebla, “El árbol” Alejo Carpentier, Los pasos perdidos José María Arguedas, Los ríos profundos Manuel Puig, La traición de Rita Hayworth Diamela Eltit, El cuarto mundo


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