Module Identifier SP34020  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Maria D Blanco  
Semester Semester 2  
Pre-Requisite Eligibility for entry to Level 3  
Course delivery Lecture   Ten 1-hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   Ten 1-hour seminars  
  Workload Breakdown   Lecture and seminar attendance - 20 hours; lecture and seminar preparation (research and reading) - 100 hours; essay research and preparation - 45 hours; text commentary research and preparation - 35 hours.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment Four 500-word response papers30%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment One 2500-word final paper40%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment One oral presentation centred on a critical topic, chosen by student20%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment Attendance and performance10%
Supplementary Exam 1 x 2 hour examination if continuous assessment submitted. 1 x 3 hour examination if no continuous assessment submitted.100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Arrive at a comparative understanding of Spanish American literature through the parallel study of history, aesthetics and linguistics;
2. Have a firm grasp of the ways in which different literary movements anchored in a specific language and culture spawn new formations in the space of Spanish American letters;
3. Envision the maps and timelines of modern Spanish American literature through the lens of travel and multi-cultural contact;
4. Engage in intensive class discussions centred around local and national conceptions of Spanish American literature;
5. Have good knowledge of a range of primary texts by the authors studied as well as strong familiarity with some of the most influential critical work that has been produced on them;
6. Be comfortable in developing their own lines of inquiry about the topics at hand, in brief and extended written and oral assignments.


This new module focuses on the figures of five migrant Spanish American literary practitioners - Domingo Sarmiento, Jose Marti, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar and Alejo Carpentier - to explore how the circumstances of travelling and displacement shape and inform their writing, as well as their idea about Spanish American history, politics and culture. The module will follow different moments in the writers' lives inside and outside their national space, in order to envision the national literatures of modern Spanish America in their cosmopolitan fluidity.

Brief description

'Migrants, Outsiders, Cosmopolites' is shaped around five practitioners that span a century of Spanish American literature (from, roughly, the 1840s to the 1960s), and who have in common the circumstance of migration, whether political or voluntary. The module sets out to ask how the experience of travel to Europe or the United States informs their literature formally (on an aesthetic level) and thematically (in their understanding of local and global culture, politics and nationalism). Students will be able to study these writers comparatively through their affiliations with different artistic movements, different national spaces, as well as their contact with different languages (most prominently French and English), and will be encouraged to ask how this fluidity of contact influences their art as well as their conception of the world.


The module is structured around the following five authors, which constitute a unit each:
1. Domingo Sarmiento: Europe, The United States and the construction of a Spanish American utopia
2. Jose Marti: Chronicle writing and the realization of a poetics of 'Our America'
3. Jorge Luis Borges: Avant-gardism to the Invention of the Argentine Tradition
4. Julio Cortazar: France, Translation and Post-national Space
5. Alejo Carpentier: From Surrealism to the Marvelous Real of Spanish America

Module Skills

Problem solving Selection of reading material; answering questions posed by written assignments; seminar work  
Research skills Preparation of written assessment; reading and preparation for seminars; sustained intellectual engagement through conversations with module instructor for development of final project  
Communication Oral communication developed in seminars; written communication developed in assessments and exam  
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to assess their own progress week by week through their increased understanding of the issues raised and the skills developed  
Team work Debates and group discussions in seminars  
Information Technology Use of online journals and source collections; delivery of course materials and information via email and e-learning system  
Application of Number n/a  
Personal Development and Career planning Acquisition of transferable skills; in-depth acquaintance with issues of translation, history and cultural contact  
Subject Specific Skills Observation of ways literature reflects cultural contact in use of neologisms  

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Borges, Jorge Luis (1994 (1926)) El tamaño de mi esperanza Madrid: Seix Barral
Borges, Jorge Luis (1970, 1969) Fervor de Buenos Aires Buenos Aires: Emecé
Borges, Jorge Luis Obra crítica
Carpentier, Alejo (1985) Los pasos perdidos Madrid: Cátedra
Carpentier, Alejo (1987) Tientos, diferencias y otros ensayos Barcelona: Plaza y Janés
Cortázar, Julio (2002 (1998)) Cuentos completos 1 (1945-1966) Madrid: Alfaguara
Cortázar, Julio (1984) Rayuela Madrid: Cátedra
Martí, José Crónicas y ensayos
Martí, José (1982) Ismaelillo, versos libres; versos sencillos Madrid: Cátedra
Sarmiento, Domingo (1996) Viajes por Europa, Africa i América, 1845-1847 Madrid: ALLCA XX


This module is at CQFW Level 6