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Department of Spanish and Portuguese

The University of Texas at Austin

SPN 325K/LAS 370S: Introduction to Spanish American
Literature through Modernism

Fall 2009 Prof. César A. Salgado

TTh 8-9:30 Office/Hrs: BEN 3.140 F 10-12
GAR 1.134 email:
Unique Number: 47983/40959 Office Ph.: 232-4517

This course is a comprehensive introduction to the literature of Spanish
America from its beginnings to the end of the Nineteenth Century. It features
diverse types of literary and pseudo-literary texts by the most important
authors and figures of the "colonial" and "independence" period. Among
other topics, lectures will emphasize the importance these texts still have in
the formation of contemporary Latin American literature and culture by
showing how these canonical works have been reinterpreted and readapted
by modern authors. Discussion of the texts will focus on some of the
following issues: the nature of literary production in contexts of ethnic and
cultural conflict; the transformation and differentiation of Spanish American
literary discourse through the incorporation of expressions, metaphors, and
other linguistic elements from native languages; the growing tension and
aesthetic distance between Peninsular writing and Spanish American criollo
literature; the relationship between writing, power, and social status in
colonial texts; and the role of poetry and fiction in the the construction of a
new national identity during the period of independence. More specifically,
the course will comment on the principal genres of the colonial and
independence period--the crónica, the relación, the historia, the
ethnographical informe, baroque and epic poetry, and the sermon in the
former; the novel, the pastoral, the essay, the short story, and romantic,
gauchesca and modernista poetry in the latter.

Class Materials:
Enrique Anderson Imbert & Eugenio Florit, eds. Literatura Hispanoamericana
Juan Francisco Manzano, Autobiografía de un esclavo (COOP)
Course Readings Packet (Jenn’s Copies, 2200 Guadalupe [Church of
Scientology Basement])
Three Films (Special Screenings): Cabeza de Vaca; Yo, la peor de todas; El
otro Francisco

Course Schedule:
Please note that all the readings are due on the day listed and should be
prepared prior to coming to class. Readings are taken from Anderson Imbert
and Florit, Literatura Hispanoamericana (marked LH, available now at the
University COOP) and from a special SPN 325k Readings Packet (marked
Packet, available on Friday at Jenn's Copies [2200 Guadalupe]). Throughout
the course there will be also handouts for required reading. Note: The

instructor might decide to slightly change some aspect or item of the course
outline. Any change will be announced at least one week in advance.

Aug 27: Introduction and organizational meeting

I. The "Literature" of the Pre-Columbian Era

Sept. 1: Pre-Hispanic Literatures: Creation Myths of the Maya and other

Mesoamerican Cultures
Readings: “La literaturas indígenas,” nahuatl and quechua poetry (LH 1-5, 8-
10); selection from the Popul Vuh, libro sagrado de los maya-quiché
First Set of Composition Topics distributed

Sept. 3: Pre-Hispanic Literatures: Creation Myths of the Caribbean Indians

Readings: Selections from Fray Ramón Pané, Relación acerca de las
antigüedades de los indios (Packet)

II. The Chronicles of the Conquest and Early Colonial Period


Sept. 8: Colón reports the Discovery: First European Visions of the New
World. First Settlements in Hispaniola.
Readings: Selections from Cristóbal Colón's Diario de navegación (LH 11-14),
“Capitulaciones de Santa Fe,” “Carta a Santángel,” "Carta del segundo
viaje” (Packet)
First Composition Due

Sept. 10: Engineering the Conquest of Mexico: Hernán Cortés, conquistador

and letrado
Reading: Hernán Cortés, from the Segunda carta de relación (LH 28-33 and

Sept. 15: Remembering the Conquest: Testimony as a “Truer” History

Reading: Selections from Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la
conquista de Nueva España (LH 34-44 and Packet)

Sept. 17: Challenging the Conquest and Defending the Native Americans:
Fray Bartolomé de las Casas and the Role of the Mendicant Friars in the
New World
Reading: Bartolomé de las Casas, from Brevísima relación de la destrucción
de las Indias (Packet)

Sept. 22: The First Mestizo Writers: Garcilaso Re-writes the Inca Empire;
Guamán paints the Conquest of Peru in Words and Pictures
Readings: Garcilaso de la Vega el Inca, selections from Comentarios reales
(LH 75-85 and Packet); selections from Guamán Poma de Ayala,
Corónica y Buen Gobierno (Packet)

Sept. 24: Epic Poetry in Colonial Chile

Reading: Selections from Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, La araucana (LH 97-
Take-home Exam questions distributed

Sept. 29: Tales of Shipwreck and Captivity in the American Southwest

Readings: Selections from Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, Naufragios (LH 47-
51, Packet)

Oct. 1: Tales of Shipwreck and Captivity, continued.

Readings: Finish selections from Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, Naufragios
Screening of clips from Cabeza de Vaca, a Mexican film by Nicolás Echevarría

III. The Baroque Period: Focus on Mexico and the Caribbean


Oct. 6: Pirates of the Caribbean: Silvestre de Balboa y Troya de Quesada’s

Espejo de Paciencia and the Beginnings of Cuban Literature
Readings: Silvestre de Balboa, Espejo de paciencia (Packet)
First Take Home Exam Due

Oct. 8: Mexican Literature in the 17th Century I: Alonso Ramírez, Carlos

Sigüenza y Góngora and the Pirate Tale as Testimony
Readings: Selections from Sigüenza y Góngora, Los infortunios de Alonso
Ramírez (LH 149-160 and Handout)

Oct. 13: Mexican Literature in the 17th Century II: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
and New World Baroque Viceregal Culture
Readings: Selections of poems by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (LH 161-173)
Second Set of Composition Topics Distributed

Oct. 15: Mexican Literature in the 17th Century III: Sor Juana's Defense of
Readings: Sor Juana, "Respuesta a Sor Filotea" (LH 174-86)
Screening of clips from Yo, la peor de todas, Argentine film by María Luisa

IV. The Independence Period: Neoclassicism, Romanticism,


Oct. 20: Promoting Insurrection: The Prose of the Wars of Independence

Readings: Simón Bolívar, "Mi delirio en el Chimborazo," "Carta de Jamaica"
Second Composition Due

Oct. 22: The Role of the Enlightenment and Neoclassicism in the Literatures
of Independence

Readings: Jose Joaquín de Olmedo, "Poema de Junín: Bolívar" (LH 241-248);

Andrés Bello, "La agricultura en la zona tórrida;" selected essays (LH
248-55, 258-262); José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi, “Los paseos de la
experiencia” (LH 235-241)

Focus on Nineteenth Century Argentina

Oct. 27: Romanticism and Dictatorship in Argentina I: Short Story

Readings: Esteban Echevarría, "Clasicismo y romanticismo", "El matadero"
(LH 272-3; 279-291)

Oct. 29: Romanticism and Dictatorship in Argentina II: The “gaucho” in the
Novel and the Essay
José Mármol, Selections from Amalia (Packet); Domingo F. Sarmiento,
Introduction to Facundo o civilización y barbarie (Handout)

Nov. 3: Romanticism and Dictatorship in Argentina III: Sarmiento Diagnoses

the Nation
Domingo F. Sarmiento, selections from Facundo o civilización y barbarie,
Viajes, and Recuerdos de Provincia (LH 291-309)

Nov. 5: Argentina After Dictatorship IV: Redeeming the “gaucho” through

"poesía gauchesca"
Reading: Selections from José Hernández, Martín Fierro (LH 353-392).

Focus on Nineteenth Century Cuba and Puerto Rico

Nov. 10 : Romantic Poetry and the Cuban Exile

Readings: José María Heredia, poems (LH 263-272); Gertrudis de Avellaneda,
poems (LH 313-321); pages from Avellaneda’s novel Sab (handout)

Nov. 12: Slavery and Writing in Cuba: Manzano’s Autobiography

Readings: Juan Francisco Manzano, selection of poems (handout);
Autobiografía de un esclavo (start)
Second Take-Home Exam Questions Distributed

Nov. 17: Slavery and Writing, continued

Reading: Juan Francisco Manzano, Autobiografía de un esclavo (Finish)
Screening of Clips from El otro Francisco, Cuban film by Sergio Giral (1975)

Nov. 19: Slavery, Race, and Incest in 19th Century Caribbean Theatre
Reading: Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, La cuarterona (Packet)

V. Fin de Siecle and the Spanish American War (1880-1900)

Nov. 24: Poetry and Action: José Martí, the Cuban-Spanish War and the
principles of modernista poetry
Readings: José Martí, “Versos sencillos,” choice of crónicas,” “La verdad sobre
los Estados Unidos” (Packet)

Second Take Home Due

Dec. 1: The "Modernismo” Poetic Movement in Latin America: Rubén Darío

Readings: Poems by Rubén Darío, Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera, José Asunción
Silva (packet), Julián del Casal, Julio Herrera y Reissig (Handout)

Dec. 3: North vs. South? Latinidad vs. Nordomanía after 1898: From Martí to
Readings: Martí, "Nuestra América," Selections from José Enrique Rodó, Ariel
Third Composition Questions Distributed

Sat Dec 12: Final Exam 9-11 AM and Third Composition Due

Requirements and Grading System:

Attendance and participation: 15%
Composition 1: 5%
Compositions 2 & 3: 20%
Take-Home Exams (Total of four compositions): 40%
Final Exam: 20%

You will have the chance to rewrite one of your essays to improve your grade.
Classes will consist of a combination of lecture and discussion. The instructor
will usually begin presenting background materials and analysis for the first
30-45 minutes of the class. The remaining 30-45 minutes will be saved for
collective discussion or individual presentations. The instructor will often
distribute a list of discussion question to guide the readings for the next
meeting. Each writing assignment will consist of general essay topic
questions that students should answer on their own. Discussion of the topic
is encouraged among students in preparing an essay; nevertheless, the
instructor will not accept any "co-authored" exams. He will also expect
originality and independence of thought from each individual, and good and
consistent Spanish prose. Compositions should be 2-3 pages each. Take
Home Exams will consist of two 2-3 page comparative essays that answer
the exam questions to be provided. Students are encouraged to seek the
assistance of a Spanish writing tutor to review their style, grammar, and
vocabulary. Grammar will be evaluated, although the essay's content and
quality of analysis will carry the weight of the grade. Special provisions will
be made for students with disabilities. These students may be required to
provide documentation from the Office of the Dean of Students-Services for
Students with Disabilities.