Course Description

The course will approach the developments of the modern short story in Latin America during the last century. We will review the Latin American roots of the genre to focus on the principal examples of the short story since its characteristics were established in the work of Edgar Allan Poe. We will proceed chronologically, exploring the different manifestations of the genre according to the literary, social and aesthetic movements and trends. We will analyze short stories according to their style and form (modernist, vanguard, expressionist, impressionist, surrealist, marvelous real), as well as their content (costumbrista, fantastic, detective, psychological). Our readings will include masterpieces in the genre by Ruben Darío, Horacio Quiroga, Juan Carlos Onetti, Cristina Peri-Rossi, Leopoldo Lugones, Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Ocampo, Julio Cortázar, María Luisa Bombal, Juan José Arreola, Juan Rulfo, and Rosario Castellanos, among others. The emphasis will be on the literary analysis of each of the assigned readings, implementing concepts drawn from literary theory. Lectures will provide the cultural, historical and social context which are indispensable in order to achieve a clear understanding of the relevancy of each writer and his/her message. Students will be introduced to literary concepts and analytical methods during lectures as well. Other materials, such as CD ROM programs, Netscape sites, and movies will complement the subjects in the lectures, readings and seminar.

Assignments and Activities

Students will receive weekly questionnaires or worksheets intended to guide their reading and provide an outline for their oral and written analyses of the stories assigned for the week. Each student will also read supplementary material every week (criticism and related articles), and in turns will be in charge of presenting it to the seminar group. Requirements will also include a midterm take-home exam on all the subjects and readings up to the sixth week, which will challenge studentÕs ability for literary analysis, integration of texts and contexts, and incorporation of bibliographical research. The last required activity is a 40-60 minute long presentation based on extensive research on a subject related to the program themes and implementing literary approaches. Students will work on their projects from the fourth week of the quarter. Presentations will be preceded by an abstract in Spanish and English, followed by the consulted bibliography.

All activities (readings, writing, lectures, and seminar) will be undertaken in Spanish and students will have an excellent chance to reinforce their oral, writing and reading skills as they explore the manifestation of cultural, artistic and social values in literature.


Students will be evaluated on an individual basis, according to their personal background, progress and achievements during the course. Credit will be awarded in Latin American literature, literary theory and Spanish language.


Monday: 10:00-12:00 Lecture; 1:00-3:00 Seminar

Wednesday: 10:00-1:00 Workshop

Thursday: 10:00-12:00 Lecture; 1:00-3:00 Seminar

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Latin American Short Story Syllabus