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SPAN 747

The theory and practice of the novel since the 1960s. Topics include the Spanish American “Boom” of the 60s and 70s, major international trends and writers, gender, cultural studies.

The Contemporary Spanish American Novel

Tuesdays 3:30-6:00pm
Prof. Oswaldo Estrada (

This seminar, focused on gendered identities, begins with the study of the Latin American Boom and post-Boom and ends with the analysis of recent Latin American novels that question gender roles, masculinity, femininity, maternity, and alternative sexualities. We will read works by Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, Elena Poniatowska, and Mario Vargas Llosa, as well as novels by Pilar Quintana, Guadalupe Nettel, Pedro Lemebel, Mario Bellatin, Mayra Santos-Febres, and Rita Indiana.

Description: We will examine the theory and practice of the Latin American novel and novella since the 1960s, as well as hyper- and digital texts.  We’ll explore this together with major international trends and writers in order to better understand the innovativeness of said novel(la) and the cross-pollination of ideas that affected the development of these novelistic forms.  Among the topics that we will discuss are the following: the Spanish American “boom” of the 60s and 70s; modernity, the postboom and postmodernity; magical realism and the contrasting “McOndo”; race; gender; cultural studies (for example, pop culture such as film and music, as well as techno, cyber, and digital culture); the historical novel and historiographic metafiction, etc. The course will be conducted in English and translations will be available, but specialists will read the texts in the original language.  Note: Some of the topics, texts and authors are relevant to the Spanish MA reading list for the qualifying exam.

Required texts: (1) Printed: Cortázar, Rayuela/Hopscotch (a precursor to hypertexts); García Márquez, Del amor y otros demonios/Of Love and Other Demons (novella); Allende, La casa de los espíritus/The House of the Spirits; Puig, El beso de la mujer araña/The Kiss of the Spider Woman; Fuguet, Las películas de mi vida/The Movies of My Life; Fuentes, Los años con Laura Díaz/The Years with Laura Díaz; Rushdie, Midnight’s Children; Lispector, A Hora da estrela/The Hour of the Star (novella). (2) Selected, free, digital novel(la) online (TBA). Readings may vary due to availability.

Work for the course: (1) active participation; (2) a presentation in English–unless everyone understands Spanish well–containing research on a theoretical/critical or literary text on the syllabus, chosen by the student and presented similarly to a conference paper (= 40% of the grade); (3) a research paper (= 60%).  The latter may be written in Spanish or English; it must combine theory with textual analysis and criticism and will either be a rewrite of the presentation or may be on a new topic, per the student’s choice but subject to the instructor’s approval.

This graduate seminar focuses on the Latin American Boom and its relevance in contemporary literature. Students will study such concepts as “lo real maravilloso” and “realismo mágico,” closely related to Latin America’s “new” narratives of the sixties and seventies. After covering the post-Boom, students will focus on a very recent production that continues offering “masculinities in the making.” Students will read works by Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, José Donoso, Mario Bellatin, Mayra Santos-Febres, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Edmundo Paz Soldán, and Yuri Herrera, among others.
Crosslisted as CMPL 747