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The Vanguards

In this course, the term “vanguard” refers not only historically to literary movements in the first decades of the 20th century, but also (and especially) to the concept of experimentation.  The latter is characteristic of Latin American texts from the 19th century on and becomes a hallmark in the 20th and 21st centuries, as we will see.  One cannot fully appreciate the development of these concepts in the theory and practice of Spanish American literature without having some knowledge of parallel developments in other literatures and non-literary art forms, as well as relevant theory.  Therefore, we will read a selection of seminal poems, novellas, short stories, and theoretical essays from different countries in Spanish America, which will be our primary focus, as well as from France, Spain and elsewhere that illuminate the concepts that we will explore.  Discussion topics will include (but not be limited to) the following: the break with literary tradition, surrealism, modernity and postmodernity, metawriting, the changing roles of authors and readers, gender, genre, transculturation and hybridity, historiography, postcolonialism, and cultural studies. Although the course will be taught in English and English translations of texts will be available to accommodate students from various departments, students should read the texts in the language(s) in which they specialize.  Required texts: Darío, Selected Poems (bilingual selections, coursepack); Mallarmé, “Un Coup de dés”/”A Throw of the Dice” (coursepack); Huidobro, Altazor (bilingual ed. of poem); Breton, Poems (bilingual selections, coursepack), “From Manifesto of Surrealism” and “From Second Manifesto of Surrealism” (coursepack); Vallejo, Trilce (bilingual selection of poems, coursepack); Bombal, Última Niebla/New Islands and Other Stories (selected short stories); Lorca, Gypsy Ballads (bilingual selection of poems, coursepack) and Poet in New York (bilingual selection of poems, coursepack); Guillén, Man-Making Words (2003 ed., bilingual selection of poems); Valenzuela, Cambio de armas/Other Weapons (selected short stories, coursepack);  Cortázar, Todos los fuegos el fuego/All Fires the Fire (selected short stories); a digital text (online, TBA).  Readings may vary depending on availability. Each student will give a 15-20″ talk in English on a required reading (with a choice); it will include appropriate critical and theoretical sources.  This talk will be worth 40% of the grade for the course.  There will be a 15-25 pp. research paper in the Romance language in which the student specializes or in English, which will combine theoretical aspects and textual analysis, worth 60% of the grade.  The paper may either expand the presentation or examine a different topic related to the course. Active class participation is expected.


Crosslisted as CMPL 745


Previously Offered:

Fall 2016