Seminar: Topics in Spanish Literature: Don Quijote
“This course explores Don Quijote, the most famous literary masterpiece in Spanish literature. We will read the two parts of the work, focusing on how Don Quijote reacts to the various sources of authority of his time, not only political but also literary, social, artistic and medical. Cervantes used his great novel to reflect on these forms of authority, touching on the central concerns of his time: the relationship between different forms of fiction, life and literature, the boundaries between reality and appearance, the role of power against individual freedom, virtues and rights the human being and moral and literary censorship.
In addition, the issue of authority will serve to connect the novel with another of the central issues in the study of Don Quijote: its integration into the canon of world literature. In other words, when and why Don Quijote became canonical. Thus, this course will study mainly Don Quijote and his time, but also will explore the socio-cultural systems that decide what works and why we should read. At the end of the course, the student should be able to (1) analyze Don Quijote according to its specific cultural context, contrasting the work of Cervantes with the sources of authority of Golden Age Spain; (2) evaluate the novel using appropriate cultural and literary terminology; (3) reflect on the process of integration of Don Quijote in the universal canon; (4) articulate the connections between Don Quijote and the literature, art and society of his time by using the terminology acquired during the course; (5) use and expose this knowledge by using specific vocabulary in the form of an original and coherent scholarly work that takes into account the views of other critics.”