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European Connections in Spanish American Literature: The case of J. L. Borges
Course code: ELCS6051
Term: Taught in Term 2
This course addresses some key ethical questions related to the socio-political context in which literary and philosophical works are produced. In this respect it considers a crucial event in twentieth-century history, namely, totalitarianism (together with its sequels: political nationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism), an issue for which Borges expressed a deep concern during the 1930s and 40s in an increasingly pro-Fascist Argentina. In order to produce a critique of totalitarian ideologies, the course investigates various influential writings (both for and against fascism) as well as other important works on political theory written during the inter-war and post-war years, particularly in connection with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
Mode of Assessment: 3 hour desk examination
Tutor: Dr H Núñez-Faraco
- Arendt, Hannah, ‘Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship’ (1964), in Responsibility and Judgment, ed. by Jerome Kohn (New York: Schocken Books, 2003), pp. 17–48.
- Borges, Jorge Luis, excerpts from The Total Library: Non-Fiction 1922–86, Fictions and El Aleph (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 2000/2001).
- Croce, Benedetto, ‘Manifesto of the Anti-Fascist Intellectuals’ (1925), in Schnapp (ed.), A Primer of Italian Fascism, pp. 304–307; ‘Strength and Violence, Reason and Impulse’ (1938), in B. Croce, History as the Story of Liberty (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2000), pp. 261–267.
- Gentile, Giovanni, ‘What is Fascism?’ (1925), in Griffin (ed.), Fascism, pp. 53–54; ‘Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals’ (1925), in Jeffrey T. Schnapp (ed.), A Primer of Italian Fascism (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2000), pp. 297–303; G. Gentile and B. Mussolini, ‘The Doctrine of Fascism’ (1932), in Schnapp (ed.), A Primer of Italian Fascism, pp. 46–73.
- Heidegger, Martin, ‘Follow the Führer’ (1934) and other excerpts from Philosophical and Political Writings, ed. by Manfred Stessen (New York and London: Continuum, 2003).
- Hitler, Adolf, ‘The Mission of the Nazi Movement’ (1934), in Griffin (ed.), Fascism, pp. 116–117.
- Levi, Carlo, ‘Mass’ (1939), in Of Fear and Freedom (London: Cassell, 1950), pp. 81–93.
- Levinas, Emmanuel, ‘Reflections on the Philosophy of Hitlerism’ (1934), in Unforseen History (Illinois: University of Illinois, 2004), pp. 13–21.
- Musil, Robert, ‘Ruminations of a Slow-witted Mind’ (1933), in Precision and Soul (Chicago: The University of Chicago, 1990), pp. 214–234.
- Mussolini, Benito, ‘The Naples Speech’ (1922), in Roger Griffin (ed.), Fascism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 43–44.
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973).
- Cassirer, Ernst, The Myth of the State (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1946), chs 15–18.
- Finchelstein, Federico, Transatlantic Fascism. Ideology, Violence, and the Sacred in Argentina and Italy, 1919–1945 (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010).
- Núñez-Faraco, Humberto, ‘A Note on the Sources of “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”’, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 88: 1 (2011) 83–99.
- Popper, Karl, The Open Society and its Enemies, 2 vols (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977), vol 1, chs 6–7.