You are on page 1of 2

Instructor: Vanessa Nelsen

Office: Callaway, Fifth Floor


Office hours: MWF 11:40am-12:40pm

Schedule: MWF 12:50 1:40 pm


Location: Emerson Hall E101
E-mail: vnelsen@emory.edu

SPAN 460:
Baroque & Neobaroque
Spring 2013

The first segment of this course is dedicated to the cultural production of the 17th-century Spanish
Baroque. Selections from Jos Antonio Maravalls Culture of the Baroque and Heinrich
Wolfflins Principles of Art History provide the context and formalistic tools necessary for
understanding two of the most difficult and achingly haunting poems of Hispanic Literature: Luis
de Gngoras Las Soledades and Sor Juana Ins de la Cruzs Primero Sueo. Despite prolific
cultural production during Spains Golden Age as well as the relative prosperity of New Spain
(Mexico) at this time, by the 18th century until the late 19th century, the Baroque was associated
with disease, deformity and decline. In 1927, a group of Spanish and Latin American writers
selected the 300-year anniversary of Gngoras death as the day on which they would consolidate
their interests as the Generation of 1927. This year becomes the starting point for the second
segment of the course, which investigates the development of the Latin American New World
Baroque in the 20th century. Reading selections from Cuban authors Jos Lezama Lima and Alejo
Carpentier, we discuss the New World Baroque as an art of counter-conquest. By 1970, the
New World Baroque is refashioned as the Neobaroque, an aesthetic that would become proper to
both revolution and exile. Reinaldo Arenas and Severo Sarduy, writing from New York and Paris,
continue the tradition of the Latin American Baroque from a postmodern perspective.
If Maravall had considered Spanish Baroque to construct a guided culture (enforced and
controlled through spectacles and artistic means put on by the Catholic monarchy), what can be
said of Neobaroque literature (censored, sent abroad, or usurped into state discourse) and its
relationship to power? The strategic use of confrontational aesthetics remains a constant
consideration of the course. From the 16th century to the 21st, tropes of jokers, buffoons, pilgrims,
pirates, men-as-wolves, mirrors, funhouses, and faades evolve into others of drag queens,
prostitutes, mythological creatures, dictators, thieves and ghosts. Is it possible to trace tropes of
decadence and decline, inversion and disorder, in pop culture that surrounds us today? What do
we make of their appearances?
8

The transatlantic approach to the materials will help the student build a strong foundation in
Hispanic Literature and World History, but the emphasis on the transformation and mutation of
formalistic characteristics will challenge the possibility of assembling totalizing histories and also
underscore the value of recognizing open-ended praxis. This class should serve students interested
in semiotics or the relationship between diverse mediums and materials.
EVALUACIN
Participacin en clase (30%) Dos exmenes (30%)
Reaction Papers (30%)
Exmen final (10%)
****Maximum of 4 unexcused absences
MATERIALS
Many materials will be provided on blackboard; Purchase
is recommended particularly for indicated texts below:
Arenas, Reinaldo. Celestino antes del alba. Madrid:
Fbula, 2000.
Carpentier, Alejo. El Arpa y la sombra. 1979.
Gngora y Argote, Luis de, and John Beverley. Soledades. Letras Hispnicas. Madrid: Ctedra,1979.
Ins de la Cruz, Sor Juana and Ilian Stevens. Poems, A
Protest, and a Dream. New York: Penguin, 1997.
Lezama Lima, Jos. Paradiso. Madrid: Ctedra, 2001.
Maravall, Jos Antonio. La cultura del Barroco. Barcelona: Ariel, 1975
Sarduy, Severo, and Roberto Gonzlez Echevarra. De
donde son los cantantes. Madrid: Ctedra, 2005.
Zamora, Lois Parkinson, and Monika Kaup. Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation,
Counter-conquest. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2010.

PLAN DE LECTURA
SECTION 1: WHAT IS THE BAROQUE? REMOVING THE RUINS
January 18 Nietzsche, On the Baroque; Wolfflin, The Principles of Art History: The
Problem of Development of the Later Style of Art. (Zamora)
SECTION 2: MARAVALLS ANALYSIS OF A HISTORICAL STRUCTURE
January 18 Social Tensions and the Consciousness of Crisis (19-53)
January 23 A Guided Culture (57-78)
January 25 The Image of the World and the Human Being (149-72)
January 28 Technique of Incompleteness (207-24)
January 30 The Role of Social Artifice (225-47)
SECTION 3: IDENTIFICACIN DE LA ESTTICA BARROCO
February 1 Watch La Vida es Sueo (originally written by Caldern)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcJ987ZtxXk (also available in the library)
February 4 Cervantes, The Authors Dedication of the First Part, Prologue, Chapter I (DQ)
February 6 Cervantes, Prologue to Second Volume, Chapter II, Chapter III (DQ)
February 8 Cervantes, Chapter XI; Intro to the Soledades (DQ)
SECTION 4: LAS SOLEDADES, EL PEREGRINO, Y EL PARADGIMA
February 11 Gngora, Primera Soledad

Related Interests