Spanish and Portuguese | 20th & 21st Century Spanish American Literature
S578 | 28968 | P. Dove

Professor Patrick Dove
email: pdove

S578	20th & 21st Century Spanish American Literature

TR 11:15a – 12:30p/section# 28968/3 cr./WY 111

This course examines trends in Spanish American literature after
World War II. Special attention will be given to the emergence of
the literary “Boom”—or, roughly speaking, the period between the
1959 Cuban Revolution and the spread of military dictatorships
throughout Latin America during the 1970s.

Our discussions will consider several influential interpretations of
the “Boom” and its relation to literary history in Latin American
and beyond. One such interpretation is found in José Donoso’s claim
that the “Boom” novel inaugurates a new era of cultural freedom in
Latin America; with the translation of García Márquez’s Cien años de
soledad into more than two dozen languages, the “Boom” is seen as
proof that Latin America is no longer relegated to consuming—and
producing bad copies of—the great works of the European tradition.
At the same time, and in light of its intimate links to the Cuban
Revolution, the “Boom” has also been seen as a cultural avatar of
emancipation in the region, as an attempt to narrate—and thereby to
put an end to—the region’s long history of imperialism, dependency
and authoritarianism. A similar view of the connection between
literature and social history could also be drawn from Mario Vargas
Llosa’s famous literary query, “)Cuándo se jodió el Perú?”; that is,
the Boom novel as providing a prism—through allegory, mimesis and so
on—in which the historical “dependency” and “underdevelopment” of
the continent can be interpreted in new ways (and perhaps then

We will begin the semester examining several of the so-
called “precursors” to the “Boom:” Borges, Carpentier and Rulfo.
After reading a selection of canonical works by “Boom” writers such
as García Márquez, Fuentes and Cortázar—we will then proceed to look
at writers who were for one reason or another typically left out of
the canon (Elena Garro, Silvina Ocampo). In conclusion we will then
examine several contemporary novelists who give evidence of new ways
of thinking about the connections between literature, politics and
life: Roberto Bolaño, Rodrigo Rey Rosa and Sergio Chejfec. Our
discussion of primary works will be informed by secondary critical
readings reflecting a variety of methodological and critical
tendencies (Marxism and post-Marxism, deconstruction,
psychoanalysis, feminism, subaltern studies).