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Heroes, Lovers, and Swindlers: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Classics and Cult
SPAN 230
Fall 2009
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: COL 229, MDST 228, IBST 322

This course is designed to develop students' ability to make informed and creative sense of three fascinating, complex, and influential medieval and Renaissance Spanish texts: the "national" epic EL CID (12th-13th century), the bawdy and highly theatrical prose dialogue known as LA CELESTINA (1499), and the first picaresque novel, EL LAZARILLO (1554). 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 16th centuries and 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; and of social injustice and religious hypocrisy in Imperial Spain. 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).

Essential Capabilities: Intercultural Literacy, Speaking
The readings, the oral presentation, class discussion, and the papers are regarded as complementary, mutually reinforcing activities, designed to help you develop your ability to recall and interpret your readings. Class will be given over to detailed,
imaginative discussion of the main readings, as well as group or team work. Supplementary readings will be brought in regularly to introduce concepts and interpretive gambits (including the broad themes of the course announced in the description), 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 this classic text.
Writing is improved by thoughtful reading, previous
discussion, and revision. The course is structured in such a way as to provide you with practice in the use of your reading, of class discussion, and of revision to improve your writing skills (understood in terms of 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. An oral presentation will be scheduled over the course of the second half of the term in order to encourage you to begin to think carefully about a topic for your final paper.
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 FEB-01-2023
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