31059 - Spanish-American Literature 1

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student knows the general lines of the history of the literature, is able to read, to understand and to translate spanish-american texts and, at the same time, is able to use the methods and the analytical tools, to interpret the works of the principal authors, in relationship to the context of the culture and the historical period of reference.

Course contents

Entre lo propio y lo ajeno: an introduction to Hispano-American literature

The course presents itself as an introduction to Hispano-American literary and cultural history starting from the trauma of the Conquest to arrive at the great twentieth-century narrative; following the cultural changes in the history of the sub-continent, we will try in parallel to reflect on some central issues for the understanding of the American world (Conquest, Meticulous, National Identity vs. Continental Identity, etc.).
The course is divided into two parts:

1. History of Hispano-American culture and literature (through the study of a Hispano-American literature history manual and a Hispano-American culture manual)

2 Institutional readings accompanied by brief critical insights

NB: The following program is intentionally detailed to clarify each element on which the course will be based and consequently the preparation required for enrolled students. Please read it and read it carefully. The teacher is still available in RECEPTION HOUR.

FIRST PART (Literary and Cultural History)

General introduction: Pre-Hispanic America and the wound of the Conquest; origins of the Spanish-American world.

Colonial literature: The chronicles of Conquest and the legacy of pre-Hispanic cultures

The Baroque: the Baroque in Europe. the American Baroque as a hybrid phenomenon.

The Enlightenment: Europe tells America.

The Independence of American Nations and the Foundation Novel: the situation in Spain at the end of the 18th century; the constitution of Cadiz; the Indepenence and the birth of the Hispanoamerican nations; the construction of national identities through the foundation novel

The Spanish-American essay in the nineteenth century: reflection on Hispano-American identity

The early twentieth century: finesecular modernism; the Hispano-American avant-gardes; the narrative between story (Borges, Onetti) and great novel (Juan Rulfo)

The Second Twentieth Century: the Boom of the Hispano-American narrative.

SECOND PART (Institutional readings)
The institutional readings will be made available through a Hispanic-American Literature Dossier 1; they are intended as examples of themes, authors and currents dealt with during the lessons; the students * will have to demonstrate that they have taken a careful reading of these texts (and of the critical tools made available to support comprehension). By careful reading we mean, not only the ability to "summarize" the content of the texts, but also and above all the ability to describe themes, highlight stylistic issues and place the texts in the appropriate historical-cultural context.


a. Literary and cultural history:

Perassi, Emilia e Laura Scarabelli, Itinerari di Cultura Ispanoamericana, Torino, UTET, 2011;(capitoli 1, 2, 5, 6, 7).

Oviedo, José Miguel, Historia de la literatura hispanoamericana (IV voll.) , Madrid, Alianza, 2001; (cap. 2 "El descubrimiento y los primeros testimonios: la crónica, el teatro evangelizador y la poesía popular"; cap. 3.2.1 "Bartolomé de Las Casas y la cuestión indígena"; cap. 4 "Del clasicismo al manierismo"; cap. 5 "El esplendor barroco: Sor Juana y otros culteranos"; cap. 8 "El Romanticismo y la gauchesca rioplatense"; cap. 12 "Rubén Darío y sus discípulos"; cap. 16 "La primera vanguardia. Tres grandes poetas: Huidobro, Vallejo, Neruda. La voz de Girondo. Los contemporáneos"; cap. 19 "Borges y la literatura fantástica. Renovación del indigenismo y el regionalismo. El ensayo y el teatro").

b. Readings:

Dossier di Letteratura Ispano-americana 1 (selezione di testi; sarà disponibile in copisteria e sulla piattaforma online del corso);

José Enrique Rodó, Ariel

José Martí, Nuestra América

Juan Rulfo, ¡Diles que no me maten!

J.L. Borges, Las ruinas circulares

J. Cortázar, Rayuela (1963) [sel. di capitoli reperibile in copisteria]*

C. Fuentes, La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962) [sel. di capitoli reperibile in copisteria]*

G. García Márquez, Cien años de soledad (1967) [sel. di capitoli reperibile in copisteria]*

M. Vargas Llosa, Conversación en la Catedral (1969) [sel. di capitoli reperibile in copisteria]*

J.L. Borges, Ficciones (1944; racconti)*

J. Rulfo, El llano en llamas (1953; racconti)*

Come già annunciato in classe lo/a student* dovrà anche leggere per intero uno dei quattro romanzi e uno dei due libri di racconti segnati con l'asterisco (Cortázar, Fuentes, Márquez, Vargas Llosa,per i romanzi, Borges e Rulfo per i racconti); la scelta dell'edizione è libera ma ove possibile si consiglia di optare per le edizioni Cátedra in quanto hanno un apparato critico di notevole utilità per lo studio.


Enrique Anderson Imbert, Teoría y técnica del cuento, Barcello, Ariel, 1999 [capp. 1,2,3, 12, 14].

Salgado Martínez, Alejandro, “Análisis narratológico de un cuento de Rulfo: ¡Diles que no me maten!” in Revista Digital Investigación y educación, 27, 2006.

Oviedo, “El mundo penitencial de Juan Rulfo” in Id., Historia de la literatura hispanoamericana. vol. 4, Madrid, Alianza, 2001.

Oviedo, “Borges y la literatura fantástica” in Id., Historia de la literatura hispanoamericana. vol. 4, Madrid, Alianza, 2001.

Oviedo, “El boom: el centro, la órbita y la periferia” in Id., Historia de la literatura hispanoamericana. vol. 4, Madrid, Alianza, 2001.

Oviedo, “La aventura triangular de Cortázar” in Id., Historia de la literatura hispanoamericana. vol. 4, Madrid, Alianza, 2001.

Liliana Weinberg, “Ensayo e Interpretación de América” en La búsqueda perpetua: lo propio y lo universal de la cultura latinoamericana, Vol. III. La Literatura hispanoamericana, Julio Ortega (Coord.), SRE, Dirección General del Acervo Histórico Diplomático, México, 2011.


Teaching methods

The course includes, in addition to lectures, the seminar investigation of certain issues relating to the sources studied, as well as the instruments, theoretical and methodological, relevant to their study (more information in this regard will be provided during class).

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of an oral test that aims to assess the critical and methodological skills gained by the student, who will be invited to discuss the texts in the program. The student must demonstrate 1) the ability to orientate themselves in the Spanish-American cultural and literary history 2) an appropriate knowledge of the contents and the bibliography indicated in the program, 3) make links between the course topics, 4) illustrate the salient features of the works taken under consideration and treated during the lessons.
The student's achievement of an organic vision of the topics dealt with in a joint lesson with their critical use, the demonstration of an expressive mastery and specific language will be evaluated with marks of excellence.
The mostly mnemonic knowledge of the subject, in-depth synthesis and analysis skills and a correct but not always appropriate language will lead to discrete evaluations.
Approximate knowledge, superficial understanding, poor analytical skills and not always appropriate expression will lead to evaluations between sufficiency and little more.
Training gaps, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the contents and bibliographic materials proposed in the program can only be evaluated negatively.

Teaching tools

Images, texts and slides. For a better organization of materials and contents the online platform of the course will be used: materials made available are INTEGRANT and NECESSARY (but not sufficient) of the exam program.

Office hours

See the website of Edoardo Balletta