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SP4: Modern Spanish Culture and History

This paper is available for the academic year 2020-2021.

Sp4 offers an overview of Spanish culture from the late eighteenth century to the present. Each of the paper’s thematic units will situate a range of cultural production—literature, cinema, visual materials (painting, etchings, cartoons, photography), and state legislation—within its cultural, social, and political contexts. Deploying a patently historical focus, Sp4 will require students to develop knowledge of major events and central figures in modern Spanish culture while considering artistic representation as an index of the times in which these artists lived and worked. While the historical component of the paper will be emphasized in lectures, seminars, and supervisions, students will be required to engage a number of intersecting fields (literary studies, cultural studies, and cinema studies) over the course of the academic year.

NB: Many key texts can be found online for free at www.gutenberg.org or http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/

 

Topics: 

Topics taught in Michaelmas 2020:

The Darker Side of Modernity

Francisco de Goya, Los desastres de la guerra​ (1810-20)

José María Blanco White’s Bosquejo del comercio de esclavos (1814)

Mariano José de Larra’s “Literatura” (1836) and “El día de difuntos de
1836” (1836)

José Zorrilla, Don Juan Tenorio​ (1844)

(Post-) Imperial Fictions

Benito Pérez Galdós’ Tormento (1884)

Jose Rizal’s “Como se gobiernan las Filipinas” (1890) and José Martí’s
“Nuestra América” (1891)

Emilia Pardo Bazán’s “La exangüe” (1899) and “El rompecabezas” (1899)

 

Topics taught in Lent 2021:

The Problem of Spain

Joan Maragall, essays: “Elogi de la paraula” [“Elogio de la palabra”]
(1903) and “La ciutat del perdó” [“La ciudad del perdón”] (1909) and
poems: “Oda a Espanya” (1898) and “Oda nova a Barcelona” (1909)

Agustí Centelles, selected photography; César Vallejo, selected poetry;
Pablo Neruda, Tercera residencia [selections] (1947)

Camilo José Cela, La familia de Pascual Duarte (1942)

Juan Antonio Bardem, Muerte de un ciclista (1955) and Carlos Saura, La
caza (1966)

Spain beyond Spain

Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab (1841)

Carmen de Burgos, ‘En la guerra’ (1909)

María Nsue Angüe, Ekomo (1985)

Montxo Armendáriz, Las cartas de Alou (1990)

Preparatory reading: 

You are strongly encouraged to read as many texts as possible from the reading list over the summer vacation. At a minimum, however, please prepare Benito Pérez Galdós's Tormento before arriving in Michaelmas
Term. We also ask that you read Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda's Sab prior to the start of Lent Term.

Teaching and learning: 

Teaching is provided through 16 lectures (4 hours on each topic) and four introductory seminars (1 for each topic). Students receive 8 fortnightly supervisions (plus revision support in Easter term if offering the exam). You are expected to attend all classes for the paper. In supervisions you should expect to look at all the topics.

All students enrolled in Sp4 will be asked to prepare a brief presentation in Spanish (5-7 minutes) in Michaelmas and an abbreviated essay in Spanish (1,000-1,500 words) in Lent to reinforce contact with the target language.

For full reading list, please see Sp.4's Moodle page. The enrolment password can be collected from the paper coordinator.

 

Assessment: 

Assessment is by 3-hour examination in which candidates answer three questions, in each response making reference to at least two texts, films or artists. Examination Candidates must provide one answer based on one of the novels (Tormento, Sab, Ekomo, La familia de Pascual Duarte) taught in the paper.

This paper is also available for examination by Long Essay.

Course Contacts: 
Dr Bryan Cameron (Paper coordinator)