21G.730 | Spring 2014 | Undergraduate

Hispanic America: One Hundred Years of Literature and Film

Calendar and Readings

[Soledad] = Márquez, Gabriel García. Cien años de soledad. Catedra, 2006. ISBN: 9788437604947.

All films will be viewed outside of class, prior to the date when the film will be discussed.


Introductory remarks on Rubén Darío (1867–1916), modernismo, realismo, and early post-WWI experimentation. Maps.

Read and discuss in class



Two short stories by Horacio Quiroga (Uruguay, 1878 – Buenos Aires, Arg., 1937) and one serialized story (folletín):

  • El almohadón de plumas” First published in the magazine Caras y Caretas, in Buenos Aires, July 13, 1907.
  • La gallina degollada” First published in Caras y Caretas, July 10, 1909, and then both in the short-story collection Cuentos de amor, de locura y de muerte in 1917.
  • “El hombre artificial” First published in Caras y Caretas in six installments (entregas) between January 8 and February 12, 1910, under the pseudonym S. Fragoso Lima. The first 2 stories are in the Biblioteca Ayacucho volume Cuentos, edited by Monegal.

Also Read



Two short stories by Horacio Quiroga:

  • El hombre muerto.”  First published in La Nación, Bs. As., June 27, 1920, and then in the short-story collection, Los desterrados, in 1926.
  • El desierto.” First published in the magazine Atlántida, January 4, 1923 and then in El desierto, in 1924.



  • Horacio Quiroga’s short story “Los destiladores de naranja.” First published in the Argentine magazine Atlántida, in 1923, and then in the collection entitled Los desterrados, in 1926.
  • Discussion questions and observations (PDF)
  • La imaginación técnica: Sueños modernos de la cultura argentina. Nueva Visión, 1992, pp. 21–42.  An important critical article on Quiroga by Beatriz Sarlo, “Horacio Quiroga y la hipótesis técnico-científica.”

Essay 1 due


Doña Bárbara. Directed by Fernando de Fuentes, and Miguel M. Delgado. Black and White, 138 mins. Clasa Films Mundiales, 1943. Based on the realist and regionalist novel with the same title, first published in 1929, by the Venezuelan writer Rómulo Gallegos (Film is in black & white, 138 mins.)

Film is available on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLwAnKv2pP8


King, John. “Cinema.” In A Cultural History of Latin America: Literature, Music and the Visual Arts in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Edited by Leslie Bethell. Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 465. ISBN: 9780521626262. (From beginning of first full paragraph) to 468 (end of first paragraph), and section “The 1940s: A ‘Golden Age’ of Cinema?: Mexico,” pp. 471–77.


Experimental poetry (1920s–1940): Eight poems by Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo

Two poets whose early work emerged from Darío’s modernist aesthetic but, by the 1920’s, were producing a new poetic language.

Read by Pablo Neruda

  • Arte poética” (composed in 1928, in Calcutta, India, collected in Residencia en la tierra I., which includes poems written between 1925 and 1931).
  • Sólo la muerte” (composed in Chile, in 1933).
  • Walking around” (composed in Buenos Aires, in 1934; both poems collected in Residencia en la tierra II, which includes poems written between 1931 and 1935)

Read by César Vallejo

Also read

  • Concha, Jaime Concha. “The 1930s: Neruda.” In The Cambridge History of Latin American Poetry, c. 1920–1950. Cambridge University Press, 1995. ISBN: 9780521495943.
  •  Kristal, Efraín. “Introduction.” In Complete Poetry: Bilingual Edition. Edited by Clayton Eshleman. University of California Press, 2009, pp. 1–18. ISBN: 9780520261730.

Individual student presentations

Experimental poetry (1920s–1940): Eight poems by Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo (cont.)


All poems from Session 6.

Individual student presentations (cont.)

The Novel of the “Boom” (approximately 1963–1973); Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia, 1928), Cien años de soledad


[Soledad] Chapters 1 and 2.


Cien años de soledad (cont.)



1940s–50s: The Publication of the Foundational Collection of Short Stories Ficciones by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986).


Borges, Jorge Luis. Ficciones. Vintage Espanol, 2012. ISBN: 9780307950925.  This composite collection, which now contains 17 stories, was published in 3 parts in 3 different years (1941, 1944, 1956), and only acquired the full number of 17 stories under the definitive title of Ficciones in the year 1956.

Read from Ficciones:

Student group presentations on “La muerte” and “El Sur”


[Soledad] Chapters 5 and 6.



[Soledad] Chapters 7–10.

Essay 2 on Cien años


[Soledad] Chapters 11 and 12.



  • [Soledad] Chapters 13–18.
  • Darío, Rubén. “A Roosevelt.” In Cantos de vida y esperanza. Alianza, 2004. ISBN: 9788420658605. (First published in 1905.)
  • Neruda, Pablo. “United Fruit Company.” (PDF) In Canto general. Catedra, 2006. ISBN: 9788437609300. (First published in Mexico, in 1950.)
  • Franco, Jean. “Cruel Survival.” Chapter 6 in Cruel Modernity. Duke University Press, 2013, pp. 153–67. ISBN: 9780822354567. [Preview with Google Books] (all of sub-sections “Execution as Allegory” and “La Llorona”), and notes for all.



[Soledad] Chapters 19 and 20.


The Cuban Revolution (1959) and Leftist Utopias in Latin America; Ernesto Che Guevara (Argentina, 1928 – Bolivia, October 9, 1967): Marxist Intellectual, Cultural Icon. ¿El hombre nuevo?

See before coming to class

El Che: Investigating a Legend. Directed by Maurice Dugowson. DVD. (1997, black & white and color, English, Spanish, French, w / English sub-titles, 90 mins.)


  • Selections from a letter by Ernesto Ché Guevara “El hombre nuevo,” sent to Carlos Quijano, editor of the weekly Marcha, in Montevideo, Uruguay, in March of 1965.
  • Cortázar, Julio. “Reunión.” In Todos los fuegos el fuego. Punto de Lectura, 2009. ISBN: 9788466319942.

Also read one of the following two essays

  • Sorenson, Diana. “The Cuban Revolution and Che Guevara: Between Memory and Utopia.” Chapter 1 in A Turbulent Decade Remembered: Scenes from the Latin American Sixties. Stanford University Press, 2007, pp. 15–53. ISBN: 9780804756631.  This is an excellent discussion of Guevara’s “new man” and Cortázar’s story “Reunión.” It also provides a useful historical context for Wednesday’s discussion of “La vida es silbar.”
  • Piglia, Ricardo. “Ernesto Guevara, rastros de lectura.” In El último lector. Editorial Anagrama, 2005. ISBN: 9788433968777.  The Argentinean Ricardo Piglia is one of the most important and intelligent contemporary fiction writers and literary critics in Hispanic America today. Professor Emeritus from Princeton. His discussion of his compatriot Guevara is beautifully written and very smart.

Student presentations, on Sorensen and Piglia readings, respectively, as they pertain to “El hombre nuevo” and “Reunión.”

Reflections on The Cuban Revolution in The Aftermath of 1989 and The End of The Cold War.

Before coming to class watch

La vida es silbar. Directed by Fernando Pérez (Cuba, b. 1946). Color, 106 mins. 1998. [Spanish w /optional English subtitles]


Chomsky, Aviva. Chapters 6, 7, 8, Conclusion, and corresponding Endnotes in A History of the Cuban Revolution. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, pp. 134–95. ISBN: 9781405187732. [Preview with Google Books]

 Essay 3 due

The Post-Boom (1973-Now?). Macondo vs. Medellín: Youth and The Drug Culture in The New Hispanic American City.

See before class and discuss

Roberto D no future. Directed by Víctor Gaviria. Color, 93 mins. 1990. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAZzRet1d4k


More on The Post-Boom: The Second Wave of Feminism and The Much Debated ¿post-feminismo?


Poniatowska, Elena. Querido Diego, Te abraza Quiela. Ediciones ERA, 2007. ISBN: 9789684112148. 

See images in class of paintings and drawings by Angelina Beloff, Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo.
Fuguet, Alberto, and Sergio Gómez.

“Presentación del país McOndo.” (PDF) McOndo. Prologue to short-story anthology


Remembered from The 1990s: To Be Chilean and Young in 1973—Patricio Guzmán (Chile, 1941) and Roberto Bolaño (Chile, 1953–2003).

See before class and discuss

La memoria obstinada. Directed by Patricio Guzmán. Color, 59 mins. 1997. [Chile, documental] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yZAoFqwqMY


  • Bolaño, Roberto. Chapters 1–3 in Estrella distante. Vintange Espanol, 2010. ISBN: 9780307476128. Untitled prologue.
  • Marinetti, Filippo Tomaso. “Manifesto of Futurism.” (PDF) In Three Intellectuals in Politics. Ulan Press, 2012.
    • First published in French in Le Figaro, of Paris, on February 20, 1909 and reprinted in its entirety in Spanish translation, in Spain, by Ramón Gómez de la Serna, in Prometeo (II, num / 4, VI, April 1909).
    • This reading is intended to give you a partial idea of the different aesthetics that were emerging in Europe to address the experience of modernity at the beginning of the 20th century. This information is relevant to the first chapters of Bolaño’s 1996 novel.
    • An interesting aside: A mere forty days after the publication of Marinetti’s manifesto in Paris, Rubén Darío published a response in the Buenos Aires newspaper La Nación, in which he praised Marinetti’s poetry for its “vehemence” but declared the manifesto “useless,” claiming that it would generate numerous imitators of Marinetti’s poetry who lacked his talent. In his article, Darío reproduced the manifesto’s eleven points, possibly their first publication in Latin America.
  • Roberto Bolaño (1953–2003) & Chronology of Chilean Coup (1973) and Aftermath (PDF)
  • Boullosa, Carmen. “A Garden of Monsters.” The Nation. March 31, 2008. A review of English translation of Bolaño’s Nazi Literature in the Americas, originally published in Spanish as La literatura nazi en América in 1996, and referred to in Bolaño’s novel Estrella distante, published later in the same year.

Student group presentation on “La memoria obstinada.”


  • Bolaño, Roberto. Chapters 4–7 in Estrella distante. Vintange Espanol, 2010. ISBN: 9780307476128.
  • Franco, Jean. Chapter 4, Only Last Sub-section, titled “Collaborators,” and Notes in Cruel Modernity. Duke University Press, 2013, pp. 114–19. ISBN: 9780822354567. [Preview with Google Books]



Bolaño, Roberto. Chapters 8–10 in Estrella distante. Vintange Espanol, 2010. ISBN: 9780307476128.

La presentación estudiantil sobre el documental “La memoria obstinada” será en clase. Dedicaremos media hora de la clase a la presentación y su discusión en clase. Parece que la versión del documental en YouTube es de mala calidad.

Essay 4 due


Franco, Jean. “Alien to Modernity,” “Raping the Dead,” and  “Apocalypse Now.” Chapters 2, 3, and 9 in Cruel Modernity. Duke University Press, 2013, pp. 45–76, 77–92, 214–46, 247–51, and notes. ISBN: 9780822354567. [Preview with Google Books]


A Successful Woman Writer in the New Millennium: Carmen Boullosa (México, 1954).


  • Boullosa, Carmen. Chapter 1 in El Velázquez de París. Siruela, 2007, pp. 9–31. ISBN: 9788498410563.
  • ———. “Bolaño in Mexico.” The Nation. April 23, 2007.



  • Boullosa, Carmen. Chapters 3–5 in El Velázquez de París. Siruela, 2007, pp. 32–120. ISBN: 9788498410563.
  • Volpi, Jorge. “El fin de la narrativa latinoamericana.” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana 30, no. 59 (2004): 33–42.



Boullosa, Carmen. Chapters 6 and 7 in El Velázquez de París. Siruela, 2007, pp. 121–43. ISBN: 9788498410563.

In class, see and discuss paintings by Diego de Velázquez (Spain, 1599–1660).

Essay 5 due

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