Perceptions of Reality in 20th Century Latin American Literature (SPA4722.01)

Lena Retamoso Urbano

This advanced Spanish course is a study of the different mechanisms that are representative of what Latin American authors of the 20th century use to create a particular way of perceiving reality. By altering perceptions of space and time, rethinking the limits of language, and exploring the inner world of the subject and the unconscious, these authors attempt to produce a new literary subjectivity. We will consider the influence of important Latin American literary avant-garde movements, such as “creacionismo,” ultraism, and surrealism as attempts to produce a new literary subjectivity, and will examine, critically, concepts such as magical realism, “lo fantástico,” and “lo absurdo” to understand these innovative ways of approaching “the real.” In order to develop an appropriate theoretical and contextual support, students will dive into secondary sources by critical theorists such as Julio Ortega, Seymour Menton, and Óscar Hahn, working with Latin American Literature and its aesthetics. Together, we will examine representative literary texts by early 20th century Latin American authors including Vicente Huidobro, César Vallejo, Jorge Luis Borges and María Luisa Bombal, before students’ individual research questions will determine content. Thereafter, depending on student interests, there will be ample opportunity to consider examples of new literary subjectivity from any time and place in the 20th and 21st century Latin American world. Advanced Level. In Spanish.

Learning Outcomes:
1) Gain a well-rounded understanding of the literary history of the region, through a critical study of the avant-garde movements from the 1920s through the 1940s.
2) Gain both confidence and sophistication in the ability to speak, read and write in Spanish about literary topics.
3) Develop critical thinking and analytical skills through discussions of audiovisual and literary texts as well as close textual analysis.
4) Design an academic and/or creative project associated with Latin American literature.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: 6 terms of Spanish at Bennington or taking a brief oral and/or written test to evaluate proficiency. Email Lena Retamoso Urbano ( to express interest.
Corequisites: Attendance at 2 Language Series events.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Spanish