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SPAN4112 - Latin American Vanguard Movements

Value: 0.5 course units
Teaching structure:
one 3000 word essay (40%); and one unseen two-hour written examination (60%).

Module Description:

In this module, we will study a number of avant-garde movements that emerged across Spanish America in the twentieth century, the people that influenced them and those who inherited them. Looking at authors like Vicente Huidobro, Manuel Maples Arce, Oliverio Girondo, Aldo Pellegrini, Macedonio Fernández, and Néstor Perlongher, we will explore notions of transnationalism, originality, and the ways in which history can shape the way individuals rethink life and art.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

As much of the material may be difficult to purchase, the readings will be provided on Moodle. You are welcome to bring laptops to class so as to cue up your readings, or you could photocopy them.

Main texts:

  • Buñuel, Luis. Simón del desierto (1965)
  • Fernández, Macedonio. No toda es vigilia la de los ojos abiertos (1928) and Papeles de recienvenido (1944)
  • Girondo, Oliverio. Espantapájaros (al alcance de todos) (1932) and Veinte poemas para ser leídos en el tranvía (1922)
  • Huidobro, Vicente. Altazor (1919)
  • Maples Arce, Manuel. Selections (Manifiestos de estridentismo; "Urbe"; (1927)
  • Perlongher, Néstor Alambres (1987)
  • Vallejo, César. Trilce (1922)

Critical texts:
Below is a list of informative texts related to different areas of the module. However, you are strongly encouraged to explore outside this list, as the field is full of excellent monographs and histories of the avant-garde in Europe and America:

  • De Torre, Guillermo. Literaturas europeas de vanguardia (1925)
  • Barthes, Roland. “The death of the author” from Image, Music and Text (1968)
  • Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936, online version)
  • Bürger, Peter. Theory of the avant-garde (Minnesota University Press, 1984)
  • Caws, Mary Ann. Manifesto: A Century of Isms (University of Nebraska Press, 2000)
  • Monsiváis, Carlos. Las tradiciones de la imagen (FCE, 2003)
  • Nicholls, Peter. Modernisms: A Literary Guide (Palgrave, 2nd ed., 2009)
  • Prieto, Julio. Desencuadernados: vanguardias ex-céntricas en el Río de la Plata: Macedonio Fernández y Felisberto Hernández (Beatriz Viterbo, 2002).
  • Schneider, Luis Mario. El estridentismo: México, 1920-1927 (UNAM, 1985).
  • Schwartz, Jorge. Las vanguardias latinoamericanas (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2002)
  • Unruh, Vicky. Latin American Vanguards (University of California Press, 1995)
  • Verani, Hugo. Las vanguardias literarias en Hispanoamérica: manifiestos, proclamas y otros escritos (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1990)
  • Yurkievich, Saúl. Fundadores de la nueva poesía latinoamericana (Edhasa, 2002).