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Heroes, Lovers, and Swindlers: Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Literature and History
SPAN 230
Fall 2010
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: COL 229, MDST 228, IBST 322

This course is designed to develop students' ability to make informed and creative sense of four fascinating, complex, and influential medieval and Renaissance Spanish texts in their multiple (literary, historical) contexts: the "national" epic EL CID (12th-13th century); the bawdy and highly theatrical prose dialogue known as LA CELESTINA (1499); the anonymous LAZARILLO (1554), the first picaresque novel; and María de Zayas's proto-feminist novella THE WAGES OF VICE (1647). Through these and selected historical readings, the course is also intended to provide students with a basic knowledge of Spanish culture (in its plurality) 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 exacerbated gender and caste tensions that followed 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 society; 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).

Essential Capabilities: Intercultural Literacy, Writing
The readings, the oral presentation, class discussion, and the papers are mutually reinforcing activities designed to help you develop your ability to recall and interpret your readings, and to make sense of another culture's past through its literary legacy in Spanish. It is also designed to improve your own spoken and written Spanish. Supplementary readings will be brought in regularly to introduce concepts and interpretive gambits, to model ways of reframing and nuancing your responses to the readings, and to encourage a deeper--at once historically informed, textually grounded, and playful--engagement with these complex texts and their historical circumstance. Writing is improved by thoughtful reading, previous discussion, and revision. The course is structured to provide you with practice in the use of your reading, class discussion, and revision to improve your writing and public speaking skills (argument, organization, and rhetorical pertinence and flair). The main focus will be the development of a formal, yet personal register of Spanish writing, but you will find that your writing in English also improves as a result of this kind of reflection on what goes into good writing.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(HISP)(MDST-MN)(MDST)(MDST-Art/Arch)(MDST-History)(MDST-Lang/Lit)(MDST-Phil/Reli)(RMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-12-2024
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