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Between Word and World: Major Spanish Poets of the 20th & 21st Centuries
SPAN 260
Spring 2012
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: COL 260, IBST 260

Our goal in this course is to study the evolving relationship between poetry and historical circumstances during the 20th and 21st centuries. Through the close analysis of representative works by leading Spanish poets, we will focus on how they project their role vis-à-vis their social and political context and how those projections evolve over time. We will seek to understand what meaning or value they ascribe to poetic expression, what they choose to address, how they choose to address it and why. Knowledge of how to analyze poetry is not presupposed but is a primary goal of this course. We will therefore inventory the vocabulary and tools for doing so. We will also emphasize the musical/performative aspect of poetry, as has been made popular in the US in poetry slams, through both written analyses and oral exercises. All this will help instill in students a deeper appreciation for the power and beauty of the lyric mode and a deeper awareness of how poetry is unique and why it endures. Our study is organized chronologically, around the key events or movements that comprise a century of Spanish cultural history: (1) the Avant-Garde and the 2nd Republic (1920-1936), (2) the Civil War and Franco regime (1939-1975), and (3) sweeping political and social transformations of the past 30 years as signaled by the country's democratization, integration into the European Union, economic development, and by the massive influx of immigrants from Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe (1977-present). Important essays (critical and theoretical) are included in the syllabus, some by the poets themselves, in order to provide critical tools for discussing how the public experience is lyricized through the intimate filter of the poet's own sensitivity. We will come to understand how the various modes adopted by poets--the epic, elegiac, didactic, and testimonial, to name just a few--have to do with the poet's context as much as with matters of personal taste. The image of the poet standing at the crossroads of lyrical creativity--"word"--and historical circumstances--"world"--will be central to our critical inquiry.

Essential Capabilities: Interpretation, Speaking
INTERPRETATION: Students will be challenged daily to exercise and assess their tools for interpreting poetry. Those tools can be divided generally into two categories. On the formal plane, students will be introduced to the linguistic and rhetorical conventions of the Spanish lyrical tradition and they will be taught to account for these conventions in their interpretations of Spanish verse. They will also be encouraged to contextualize their interpretations by exploring what correlations may be made between poetry, history and culture in 20th century Spain.
SPEAKING: Through regular oral exercises students will be challenged to perform their interpretations of poetry by reciting in class. They will be taught to seek new levels of understanding through such recitations and they will speak about this process of discovery in class. These exercises are intended to help student make great strides in improving their speaking ability in Spanish.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(HISP)(RMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-19-2024
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