Spanish & Portuguese | Seminar: Spanish Authors
S721 | 4285 | M. Bieder

Professor Maryellen Bieder

TR 2:30pm - 3:45pm/section #4285/3cr./Ballantine Hall 137

Topic: "Body Language": Reading, Writing, Viewing the Body in 20th-
Century Spanish Narrative

In "Body Work" (1993), Peter Brooks examines how fiction makes
the body signify as both the protagonist of stories and the scene of
stories. More recent critics interrogate the means by which the
subject is "embodied" in society through agencies external to itself
or is in control of her/his body and its representations. This course
will explore the embodiment in language of women, and to a lesser
extent men, in 20th-century texts, reading both the body as language
and the language(s) of the body. Twentieth-century authors construct
the body as circulating fluidly between the positions of subject and
object of desire, the site of viewing and the viewed object, self-
conscious construction and an invitation to deconstruction. In their
fiction the body occupies multiple and mobile subject positions: it
speaks and writes itself, sees itself and gazes at others, seeks to
replicate itself in mirroring surfaces, reads others as mirrors and
is mirrored by others. By considering narration in terms of the
subject's writing, reading and viewing of the body, the course will
investigate how bodies have been imagined and represented -- by
authors and narrators -- in contemporary Spanish narrative. The
course's theoretical framework will include studies of the gaze,
fetishization, gender performance and visual representation. Starting
with examples of decadent literature at the beginning of the century
(Valle-Inclán's "Sonata de otoño" and "Sonata de estío" and Pardo
Bazán's "Dulce dueño"), the course will center on novels by Carmen
Martín Gaite ("El cuarto de atrás" and "Nubosidad variable") and
Carme Riera ("Cuestión de amor propio") and stories by Cristina
Fernández Cubas. It may also include texts by Cristina Peri Rossi,
Juan Goytisolo and Luis Goytisolo.

This will be a discussion course that combines theoretical
readings and narrative. We will have the opportunity for individual
presentations of readings. The culmination of the course is the
production of a seminar paper for presentation to the class in the
closing week of the semester. Some of the course material will be
available in course packs.