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HISP 233

Self, Society, and Writing In Contemporary Latin American ‘Autoficción’
Prof. Priscilla Meléndez

Spring 2014

The goal of this course is to examine contemporary Spanish American short stories and novels, mainly from the second half of the twentieth century to the present, where the figure of an/the author—real or fictional—is present within the fiction. As Beatriz Trastoy observes, what is of interest about the concept of ‘autoficción’ is its persistent ambiguity as it asks to be and not to be believed, as it presents itself as simultaneously false and serious, refusing to offer the necessary signs to differentiate between reality and fiction. This will lead us to examine the discourse of real and fictional autobiography as writers explore their own identity inside and outside fiction. Authors to be discussed include: Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Roberto Bolaño, Ena Lucía Portela, and Patricio Pron.

  • Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (Perú 1977)Mario Vargas Llosa

  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Colombia 1981) Gabriel García Márquez

  • Distant Star (Chile 1996) – Roberto Bolaño

  • One Hundred Bottles (Cuba 2002) – Ena Lucía Portela

  • My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain (Argentina 2011) – Patricio Pron

  • Digitilized short stories (see Moodle)

Class Participation: 10%

Attendance and timely arrival to class is required and students are expected to participate in class discussion. Unjustified absences will affect negatively the class participation grade. The student has to carefully read the material assigned and reflect on it prior to class discussion. It is fundamental that the student is capable of summarizing the reading for the day and that s(he) brings a tentative analysis of the material read. Look on the web for bio-bibliographical information about the authors and their respective historical periods.

Blogging: 30%

The student will blog three 2-page writing excercises, double space, reflecting on a topic offered by the professor, and due the day we begin the discussion of the text. The purpose of this exercise is to give the student the opportunity to discover by her/him self the important dimensions of the work studied. The ideas presented in these two short essays must be original and should be expressed with clarity and in an organized manner. Late work will be penalized.

Exam: 18%

This exam will center on the historical and theoretical readings, and presentations and on the analysis of the first short stories and novel of the course.

Essay: 17%

The student will write one 5-6 page essay. A week in advance, the professor will offer at least two topics from which the student will select one. No late essay will be accepted.

Final essay: 25%

For this final essay (9-10 pages + bibliography) the student will be presented with several topics from which to choose one. The topics could include: 1) comparisons of texts discussed in class; 2) a short story not discussed in class that would be compared with a text from our course list. The student will have to demonstrate critical competency of the works discussed in the essay, and should include at least 4 bibliographical sources. These sources should be either books or articles from peer reviewed journals. Please consult the MLA Bibliography and also use the MLA format.

10% Class Participation

30% Three short blogs

18% One Exam

17% One 5-6 page essay

25% Final essay (9-10 pages)

Prof. Priscilla Meléndez Office Hours: T-Th 9-10 AM & by app.

Spring 2014: T-Th 1:30-2:45 PM priscilla.melendez@trincoll.edu

Seabury 016; (860) 297-4176 Classroom: MC 305

HISP 233

Self, Society, And Writing In Contemporary Latin American ‘Autoficción’

21- Introduction. Latin American Literature: Overview
23- Introduction. Latin American Literature: Overview. Jean Franco, “ Modern Fiction”

in An Introduction to Spanish American Literature.

28- Theoretical frame. Max Saunders, “Autobiografiction: Experimental Life-Writing from the turn of the Century to Modernism.”

30- Theoretical frame of “Autoficción”. Michael Foucault, “ What is an Author” in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. Theoretical frame of “Autoficción.”

4- Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina), “The Aleph” in El Aleph (1944)
6- Borges, “The Aleph” and “Borges and I” in The Maker [El hacedor, 1960]
11- Julio Cortázar (Argentina), “Apocalypse at Solentiname” in A Change of Light and

Other Stories [Alguien que anda por ahí, 1977]. Due date for Blog #1: 2 pages: Is it pertinent to include Cortázar’s short story in a course devoted to “autoficción”? Justify your answer. Before writing, reflect on the theoretical readings and discussions during our first meetings, and deal directly with the idea of an author/narrator/character.
13- Cortázar, “Press Clippings” in We Love Glenda so Much [Queremos tanto a Glenda, 1980]. Aníbal González, “’Press Clippings’ and Cortázar’s Ethics of Writing.”
18- Exam #1
20- Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977). Vargas Llosa, “The Truth of Lies” in Making Waves.
25- Vargas Llosa, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. Randolph Pope, “How One Becomes What One is (Not?): Vargas Llosa’s Autobiographical Myth.”
27- Vargas Llosa, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter
4- Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981). Due date for Blog #2 (topic TBA)
6- García Márquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
11- García Márque, Chronicle of a Death Foretold
13- García Márquez, “The Saint” in Strange Pilgrims [Doce cuentos pelegrinos, 1992].
15-23 Receso de primavera
25- Ana Lydia Vega (Puerto Rico), “Eye-Openers” [“Cuento en caminio”] in True and

False Romances [Falsas crónicas del sur (1991).
27- Roberto Bolaño, “Mauricio, ‘The Eye’ Silva” [“El Ojo Silva”] in Last Evening on

1- Roberto Bolaño (Chile), Distant Star (1996). Due date for Essay #1.
8- Bolaño, Distant Star.
10- Ena Lucía Portela (Cuba), One Hundred Bottles (2002). The topics for the final essay will be distributed.
15- Portela, One Hundred Bottles
17- Portela, One Hundred Bottles
22- Patricio Pron (Argentina), My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain (2011). Due

date for Blog #3: Topic TBA.

24- Pron, My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain
29- Pron, My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain. Conclusion

Final essay is due on May 6 @ 9:30 AM.

Course Readings
Bolaño, Roberto. “Mauricio ‘The Eye’ Silva.” Last Evening on Earth. New York : New Directions Books, 2007. 106-20.

Borges, Jorge Luis. Borges A Reader: A Selection from the writing of Jorge Luis Borges. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1981.

Cortázar, Julio. We Love Glenda So Much and A change of Light. Trans. Gregory Rabassa. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

Foucault, Michael. “ What is an Author” in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. Ed. & Intro. Donald F. Bouchard Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1977. 113-38.

González, Aníbal. “’Press Clippings’ and Cortázar’s Ethics of Writing.” Julio Cortázar: New Readings. Ed. Carlos Alonso. New York: Cambridge UP, 1998. 237-57.

Lejeune, Philippe. “The Autobiographical Pact.” On Autobiography. Trans. Katherine Leary. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1989. 3-30.

Pope, Randolph. “How One Becomes What One is (Not?): Vargas Llosa’s Autobiographical Myth.” Mario Vargas Llosa and the Persistence of Memory. Ed. Miguel Angel Zapata. Lima: Biblioteca Nacional del Perú & Hofstra University, 2006. 19-26.

Saunders, Max. “Autobiografiction (Ver Vera Toro p. 49)

Toro, Vera, Sabine Schlickers, Ana Luengo. “Introducción. Auto(r)ficción: modelizaciones, problemas, estado de la investisgación.” La obsesión del yo: La auto(r)ficción en la literatura española y latinoamericana. Eds. Vera Toro, Sabine Schlickers, Ana Luengo. Madrid y Frankfurt: Iberoamericana y Vervuert, 2010. 7-30.

Vargas Llosa, Mario. “The Truth about Lies.” Making Waves. Ed. & trans. John King. London: Faber & Faber, 1996. 320-30.

Vega, Ana Lydia. “Eye-Opener.” True and False Romances. Trans. Andrew Herley. New York: Serpent’s Tail, 1994. 143-61.
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