Whether he is the last modernist, or the first postmodern, the least Latin American of all Latin American authors or perhaps the most, the grand destroyer of all illusions or ultimately their victim, in the wake of his own statement that “Every writer creates his own precursors,” Jorge Luis Borges has already provided the theoretical premise for so much subsequent work that this can only be a selective course. While we will read Borges, therefore, with initial forays into the work of Silvina Ocampo, Adolfo Bioy Casares, María Luisa Bombal, and Juan José Arreola, we will also study his influence on Julio Cortázar, Luisa Valenzuela, Cristina Peri Rossi, and Roberto Bolaño. The course will include at least some consideration of Borges’s impact on the visual arts, and his abiding legacy beyond Latin America in the work of Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme, Danilo Kiš, Martin Amis, and Ian McEwan.
Students will develop their oral and written skills, progressing from paragraph-level exposition to imitation to an initial defense of ideas. This course should also provide contextual support for future studies in Spanish, not to mention other fields.
Low-intermediate level. Conducted in Spanish.