Poiesis in Spanish America (Theories and practices of literary creation across genres and periods)
Not only handcraft manufacture, not only artistic and poetical bringing into appearance and concrete imagery, is a bringing-forth.
Heidegger on poiesis in “The Question Concerning Technology”
Poetry, essay, and prose are usually read as finished products that bring about a reaction among their contemporaneous public or among us in our own moment: the work of art seen as a vehicle that engenders an effect. Other readers go one step back to study why authors wrote what they did: the cause of the work of art. This course studies the intermediate moment of creation of the work of art as a “bringing-forth” or delivering into the world.
The course has a two-pronged approach:
We will follow the discussions about the fundamental textuality of the work of art —for example, Barthes and the “death of the author”— in opposition to the idea of expressive creation
in which the author is seen as an essential agent that communicates what her or his subjectivity is made of. We will read brief classical theoretical texts by Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Schiller, Schlegel, Shelley, Wordsworth, Benjamin, Heidegger, Adorno, Paz, and Abrams, among others.
Nevertheless, the course is not only about “raw” theory. We will use these theoretical tools to study texts by some of the most important authors in Spanish America across genres and times (several of these texts are part of the Spanish MA comprehensive exam list). Authors include Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Bello, Gómez de Avellaneda, Heredia, Olmedo, Cambaceres, Casal, Darío, Martí, Quiroga, Huidobro, Vallejo, Neruda, Agustini, Borges, and Castellanos.