This course is designed to develop students' ability to make informed and creative sense of four fascinating, complex, and influential medieval and Golden Age Spanish texts: the "national" epic called El Cid (12th-13th century); the bawdy and highly theatrical prose dialogue known as La Celestina (1499); the first picaresque novel El Lazarillo (1554); and Marķa de Zayas's classic proto-feminist novella "Los estragos que causa el vicio" (1647). Through these and selected historical readings the course is also intended to provide students with a basic knowledge of Spanish culture from the 11th through the 17th centuries, the texture of everyday life as well as the larger movements of long-term historical change. We will draw on literature and history to imagine the world of chivalry and crusade in the medieval Spain of "the three religions of the book" (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam); of mercantile values, courtly love, and prostitution in the Renaissance city; of social injustice and religious hypocrisy in Imperial Spain; and of the heightened gender and caste tensions that emerged from the political crises of the 1640s. We will reflect on the interplay of literature and history in our efforts to come to grips with a past both familiar and strange; address the crossing of linguistic, artistic, ethnic, religious, caste, and gender boundaries that has long been a conspicuous feature of Spanish culture; and consider what texts and lives of the past might still have to say to us today. No prior historical or literary preparation is required: only a willingness to engage the readings closely (textually and historically).
COURSE FORMAT: Discussion
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN Grading Mode: Student Option
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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