31059 - Spanish-American Literature 1

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student knows the general lines of the history of literature, is able to read, understand and translate texts in the language and is started with the use of basic analytical methods and tools, to interpret the works of the main authors, contextualising them in the culture and in the historical period of reference.

Course contents

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

The course, divided into two modules, is proposed as an introduction to Spanish-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 to reflect on some central issues for the understanding of the American world (Conquest; Mestizo; National identities vs. continental identity etc.)

FIRST PART: History and culture in Latin America: from the Conquest to Independence

1. 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 represents America. The Independence of American Nations and the Foundational Fictions: 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.

2. Readings dossier: (further informations will be given during classes period)

SECOND PART: The great hispano-americas fiction: Julio Cortázar

This second part will examine the work of one of the greatest XX century Spanish-American writer, focusing on his most famous novel (with the case of Rayuela) and on the short stories of the great Argentine author.


The proposed readings (both of the first and of the second module are to be understood as examples of themes, authors and currents treated during the lectures; the students * must demonstrate that they have carried out a careful reading of these texts (and of the critical tools put to disposition as a support to understanding. "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 thematic, highlight stylistic questions and place the texts in the appropriate historical-cultural context .

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 also available in RECEPTION HOUR.



a. Literary  and cultural history:

Williamson Edwin, Historia de América Latina, México, F.C.E, 2013 [first and second part: pp. 13-303]

Antonucci Fausta e Stefano Tedeschi, Letteratura ispanoamericana. Storia e testi dalla Scoperta al Modernismo, Roma, Aracne, 2008 [Introduzione (pp. 7-23), first part ("La letteratura della scoperta e della Conquista", pp, 25-85), La letteratura dell'età coloniale (pp. 87-104), Alonso de Ercilla (pp. 105-115), Garcilaso de la Vega (pp. 135-145), Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (pp. 146-160), La letteratura dell'Ottocento (pp. 173-191), J. Olmedo (pp. 198-205), Andrés Bello (pp. 217-226), E. Echeverría (pp. 243-261), D.F. Sarmiento (pp. 262-277)]



Cortázar Julio, Rayuela, Cátedra, Madrid, 2008

Cortázar Julio, Cuentos completos, Alfaguara, Madrid, 2007 [selected stories]

Alazraki Jaime, En busca del unicornio : los cuentos de Julio Cortázar : elementos para una poética de lo neofantástico, Madrid, Gredos, 1983.

Campra Rosalba, La realtà e il suo anagramma : il modello narrativo nei racconti di Julio Cortazar, Pisa, Giardini, 1979.

Yurkievich Saúl, Julio Cortázar: mundos y modos, Madrid, Edhasa Anaya & Mario Muchnik, 1994.

Donoso José, Historia personal del «boom» : nueva edicion con apendice del autor, Barcelona, Seix Barral, 1983.

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