BA Spanish and Portuguese / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Modern Latin American Literature

Unit code SPLA20881
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course introduces students to a wide range of literary genres from across Spanish America from the early 20th century to the present day. These texts, produced by both canonical and lesser-known authors, are used to investigate important themes in Latin American culture, such as nationalism and cosmopolitism (Vallejo, Neruda, Borges); class (Pacheco); political repression and censorship (Gambaro, Piñera); gender and eroticism (Pizarnik, Di Giorgio); dictatorship and memory (Bolaño); and US/Latin America relations (Luiselli). The course thus explores literary responses to key historical moments in the region. Texts will be read in Spanish.


Primary texts will be read in Spanish; teaching and assessment will take place in English


  • To familiarise students with Latin American literature from the start of the twentieth century to the present
  • To introduce students to a range of written texts that can be read as responses to key historical moments in the region
  • To help students think about the relationship between literature, culture and history so that they can develop a framework for thinking about these relationships in other contexts
  • To improve students’ intercultural awareness
  • To improve students’ knowledge of Spanish

Teaching and learning methods

The majority of lectures for this course unit will be delivered online.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be familiar with:

  • some of the most important authors of twentieth century Latin American literature and their principal works in a wide range of genres
  • key moments in Latin American history of the last 100 years
  • how politics, culture and literature can interact and inform each other
  • key literary theories
  • enhanced principles of close reading, critical reading, and literary analysis

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • read several literary works critically within specific historical contexts in Latin America
  • analyse the way that written texts represent or respond to historical events
  • evaluate and compare different strategies used by writers to create meaning
  • improve their engagement with diverse arguments about literary texts and offer their own interpretation of those texts in both written and spoken form

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to demonstrate:

  • an increased ability to carry out close-textual analysis
  • enhanced skills for presenting and defending an argument
  • improved written and spoken skills

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will have improved the following transferable skills:

  • written and oral communication
  • intercultural awareness and understanding
  • participating in group discussions
  • independent thinking, research and planning
  • working with primary and secondary sources, both in English and Spanish

Assessment methods

Mid-term Essay - 40%

Final Essay - 60%

Feedback methods

Written feedback on both essays

Written feedback on essay plans

Oral feedback in seminar discussions

Individual consultations with teaching staff during office hours or by appointment

Recommended reading

Andrews, Chris. Roberto Bolaño’s Fiction: an Expanding Universe. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

Boldy, Steven. A Companion to Jorge Luis Borges. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Tamesis, 2009.

Castro-Klarén, Sara. A Companion to Latin American Literature and Culture. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008.

Hart, Stephen M., A Companion to Latin American Literature. New ed. Woodbridge, Suffolk UK¿;: Tamesis, 2007.

Hart, Stephen M. The Cambridge Companion to Latin American Poetry. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jose Valentino Gianuzzi Unit coordinator

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