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The Literature of Hispanic America - ENG00130I

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Stephen Minta
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
    • See module specification for other years: 2020-21

Module summary

‘Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States’ (Carlos Fuentes, The Old Gringo)

This module will take a broad view of Hispanic American literature in the period from roughly the 1920s to the present. The field is large, of course, and there will be no attempt at ‘representative’ coverage. Nevertheless, the module will include texts from all the larger Spanish-speaking countries--except for Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela—and will also look at some of the literature from Central America and Mexico. The focus will be on poetry and the novel. The module will particularly suit students who have an interest in Latin American politics, history, and literature: many of the texts are concerned with the difficult relationship between Hispanic America and the USA, besides complex issues to do with mestizaje (racial mixing) and the politics of unequal development.

Themes of the module will include revolution, dictatorship, colonialism, human rights, and the magical real, with some retrospective on the achievements of the Latin American boom and some attempt to place Hispanic American culture within an early 21st century framework.

The module will look at four of Hispanic America’s six Nobel prize winners in literature: Gabriela Mistral (Chile, 1945), Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia, 1982), Octavio Paz (Mexico,1990), Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru, 2010).

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2021-22 to Summer Term 2021-22

Module aims

The aims of this module are to introduce you to a range of Hispanic American texts (with appropriate use of film and other visual material), from roughly the 1920s to the present.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with a range of Hispanic American texts.
  2. Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with the cultural and historical circumstances that have given rise to such texts.
  3. Examine key debates and critical approaches, including issues of colonialism, unequal development, race, revolutionary politics, and the 21st century reactions to the boom period in Latin America.
  4. Develop arguments and ideas which demonstrate a proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of some of the key issues at stake in the act of translation and in the study of literature in translation.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay: 2500 words
N/A 70
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Literature of Hispanic America exam
8 hours 30

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

You will be given the opportunity to hand in a 1000 word formative essay in week 1 of the summer term. Material from this essay may be re-visited in your summative essay and it is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work.

This essay will be submitted in hard copy and your tutor will annotate it and return it two weeks later (usually in your week 3 seminar). Summary feedback will be uploaded to your eVision account.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay: 2500 words
N/A 70
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Literature of Hispanic America exam
8 hours 30

Module feedback

  • You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours
  • For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment

Indicative reading


The module will include three of the most prominent writers of the Latin American Boom (Carlos Fuentes, The Old Gringo, Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Mario Vargas Llosa, Death in the Andes).

Further texts will be drawn from: José María Arguedas, Deep Rivers (1958), Manuel Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman (1976), Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits (1982).


Gabriela Mistral, Octavio Paz, Ernesto Cardenal, and a selection of revolutionary poetry from a range of countries.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.