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Icons of the Hispanic World

Module Code: HP105

Module Name: Icons of the Hispanic World
Module Coordinator: Dr Rich Rabone
Tuesdays 15.00-16.00 (lectures) in H0.66
Module Credits: 30

Module co-ordinator: Dr Rich Rabone
Module Tutors:
Dr Rich Rabone, Prof. Alison Ribeiro de Menezes, Lucy O'Sullivan

Module Description

Welcome! HP105 is a chance to engage with major figures and myths from across the Hispanic world. We will explore a variety of different cultural figures, from Renaissance witches and archetypal lovers to models of female identity on the border of Mexico and America. And we will read classic authors from both Spain and Latin America, with short stories and more from Miguel de Cervantes and the twentieth-century Mexican Juan Rulfo.

Topics for 2018-19 are:

Term 1:

Love and Deceit in the Golden Age: we begin by reading Tirso de Molina’s El burlador de Sevilla, the original source for the Don Juan/Casanova figure that became popular across the world. But why would a monk write a play about the world's most famous seducer, and is womanizing actually the reason that Don Juan is damned? We will then compare Don Juan’s strategies of manipulation to those of the witch/procuress Celestina, reading extracts from Fernando de Rojas’s Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea – an early modern masterpiece of characterization through dialogue. But what is Celestina really relying on here – magic, or psychology?

Identities in the Borderlands: in this short section we will examine some classic figures of Latin American identity in the work of two Mexican-American writers, or Chicanas: Sandra Cisneros and Gloria Anzaldúa. In reading some short stories by Cisneros, we examine the binary pair of the Virgin and La Malinche as determining role models for female identity. Our focus will also be on issues of power and marginality. Through our readings of some poems by Gloria Anzaldúa, we will continue to explore the margins and borderlands of identity, language and culture. Our final session will incorporate a presentation by Chilean novelist Carla Guelfenbein on ‘Women Writers and Politics in Latin America today’.

Throughout the seminars, the focus will be placed on active student engagement, with reading tasks provided between classes and an opportunity to try out ideas during discussion. The texts will be provided and are mainly in English with significant Spanish vocabulary and phrases. You should come prepared to join in with your ideas and interpretations!

Sandra Cisneros, texts provided from Women Hollering Creek
Gloria Anzaldúa, texts provided from Borderlands/La frontera: la nueva mestiza

Term 2:

Major authors (i): Miguel de Cervantes, perhaps Spain’s most influential writer on the world stage. We will read the final tale from his collection of short stories: ‘El casamiento engañoso y el coloquio de los perros’ – a tale of the exploits of two talking dogs and the moral failings they see in humanity, apparently overheard by a hospitalized soldier whose brief marriage was a hotbed of mutual deceit.

Major authors (ii): Juan Rulfo. The last six weeks of the course will be dedicated to the literary output of one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century Latin American literature: the Mexican writer Juan Rulfo (1917–1986). We will examine a selection of Rulfo’s short stories from the collection El Llano en llamas (1953), his novel Pedro Páramo (1955) and the cinematic monologue he composed for the surrealist film La fórmula secreta (1965). Analysing these works against the historical backdrop of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1917) and the intense modernisation and nation-building processes that followed this conflict, we will explore how Rulfo’s haunting vision of a desolate rural universe challenges the image of a progressive and unified Mexico that was promoted by the post-revolutionary state. We will consider how these works engage with the themes of collective memory, social injustice and community fragmentation while also analysing Rulfo’s major stylistic innovations in relation to orality, myth, narrative structure and perspective.

Assessment Method:

Formative assessment:

3 x 1500-word essays to be submitted during the year. Two to be revised and submitted in summative portfolio.

Summative assessment:

2 x 2000-2500 word essays (revised from formative work)
1 x 500-word reflective commentary

Dr Rich Rabone

Dr Rich Rabone

Terms: 1 & 2
Lectures: Tuesday 3-4pm, H0.66
Seminars: Tuesday 4-5pm, H0.66
NB: for week 1 only, Tuesday's lecture and seminar will be in H0.61.