Spanish literature 2 LM. Critical methodologies and textual interpretation (2017/2018)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Antonella Gallo
Antonella Gallo
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 1 dal Oct 2, 2017 al Jan 20, 2018.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course intends to offer an exhaustive overview of Spanish Romanticism from an European and comparative perspective and aims, also, at providing students with advanced methodological tools for textual interpretation of the literary production of the time, paying special attention to its linguistic and stylistic features as well as to themes and topics that prefigure modern sensibility. At the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. deeply understand literary forms as a whole, closely intertwined with other social, artistic and cultural phenomena at different levels, and fully appreciate them in a synchronic and comparative perspective too.
2. appropriately apply advanced techniques and methods to textual analysis.
3. critically discuss a literary text by employing the specific theoretical vocabulary of literary criticism.
4. identify significant research questions and topics in Spanish Romantic literature and evaluate their philological and socio-cultural relevance.


Part I:
“A critical outline of Spanish romantic literature: crucial themes, representative literary genres and works, main authors and authoresses” (a detailed syllabus of the topics dealt with during the lectures will be given at the beginning of the course)

Part II
“Textual analysis and interpretation. Main theories and methodologies of literary criticism (a brief introduction)”
II.1 The author and his world: biography and psychoanalysis; sociology and marxist theories.
II.2. The text and its linguistic and stylistic features: from Russian formalism to structuralism and semiotics.
II.3. The reception and the reader’s response: Hermeneutics and Reception Theory .
II.4. Other post-structuralist theories: Gender and Feminist Studies; Orientalism.

Part III
Compulsory Texts:
MARIANO JOSÉ DE LARRA, Artículos, ed. de Enrique Rubio, Madrid, Cátedra, 1993 (also editions Castalia or Crítica):
-“El casarse pronto y mal”
-“El castellano viejo”
-“Vuelva usted mañana”
-“En este país”
-“La diligencia”
-“La Nochebuena de 1836”

JOSÉ DE ESPRONCEDA, El diablo mundo; El Pelayo; Poesías, ed. de Domingo Ynduráin, Madrid, Cátedra, 1992:
-“A la noche”, romance
-“Al sol”, himno
-“Canción del pirata”
-“A la patria”
-“A una estrella”
-“Fresca, lozana, pura y olorosa…”, soneto
-“A Jarifa en una orgía”
Introducción al “Diablo mundo” (vv. 230-527)
Canto II de “El Diablo Mundo”: Canto a Teresa

JOSÉ ZORRILLA, Don Juan Tenorio, ed. de Aniano Peña, Madrid, Cátedra, 1998

GUSTAVO ADOLFO BÉCQUER, Rimas, Madrid, Cátedra, ed. de Rafael Montesinos, 1995:

GUSTAVO ADOLFO BÉCQUER, Leyendas, ed. de Pascual Izquierdo, Madrid, Cátedra, 1997:
-“El rayo de luna”
-“Maese Pérez el organista”
-“La corza blanca”

Reference Handbook (for Part I ):
R. Navas Ruiz, El romanticismo español, 4ª ed. renovada, Madrid, Cátedra, 1990.

Critical bibliography:

For Part II:
Lecture notes

J. L. García Barrientos, La comunicación literaria. El lenguaje literario 1, Serie “Cuadernos de Lengua española” (n. 33), Madrid, Arco/Libros, S.L., 2014 (capp. 4-6).

For Part III:

J. Escobar, «Larra y la revolución burguesa», Trienio : Ilustración y liberalismo, 10, 1987, pp. 55-67 (digital edition available at this link

P. Salinas, Espronceda. La rebelión contra la realidad, en Ensayos de literatura hispánica: del “Cantar de mío Cid” a García Lorca, Madrid, Aguilar, 1961, pp. 259-267 (in photocopies given by the teacher).

M. Mayoral, El concepto de la feminidad en Zorrilla, en Javier Blasco Pascual, Ricardo de la Fuente Ballesteros, Alfredo Mateos Paramio (coords.), Una nueva lectura. Actas del Congreso sobre José Zorrilla, (Valladolid, 18-21 de octubre de 1993), Valladolid, Universidad, 1995, pp. 125-140 (digital edition available at this link

J. Guillén, «La poética de Bécquer», Revista hispánica moderna, 8, n. 1/2, 1942, pp. 1-42 (full text on line)

F. López Estrada, Comentario de la Rima XV (“Cendal flotante de leve bruma…”) de Bécquer, en El comentario de textos, Madrid, Castalia, 1973, pp. 87-125 (in photocopies given by the teacher)

Russell P. Sebold , "Una lágrima, pero una lágrima sola". Sobre el llanto romántico, en ID., Trayectoria del Romanticismo español desde la Ilustración hasta Bécquer, Barcelona, Crítica, 1983, pp. 185-194 (digital edition available at this link

Please be advised: Critical bibliography for Part III is meant to exemplify some of the critical approaches presented during the module (see Part II) as well as the XXth century’s Spanish criticism upon the Romantic movement. Further readings (optional) on the issues covered by the module will be indicated during the lectures.

Teaching methods:
Lectures; exercises of close reading and textual analysis encouraging an active participation of the students; individual or group tutorials on the theoretical issues and practical scheduled activities. Optional exercises aimed at improving the ability of making personal judgements and interpretations, as well as strengthening the expressing and argumentative skills in an academic register, besides helping students to become gradually familiar with the methodologies of humanistic research.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
M. J. DE LARRA Artículos Cátedra 1993 Una selezione di testi, come indicato nel programma
J. ZORRILLA Don Juan Tenorio Cátedra 1998
J. DE ESPRONCEDA El diablo mundo; El Pelayo; Poesías Cátedra 1992 Una selezione di testi, come indicato nel programma
Ricardo Navas Ruiz El Romanticismo español (Edizione 4) Cátedra 1990
J. L. García Barrientos La comunicación literaria. El lenguaje literario 1 Arco/Libros 2014 Capp. 4-6
G. A. Bécquer Leyendas Cátedra 1997 Una selezione di testi, come indicato nel programma
G. A. Bécquer Rimas Cátedra 1995 Una selezione di testi, come indicato nel programma

Assessment methods and criteria

For students attending lectures, the final exam will consist of two examinations (both to be held in Spanish):

-a written exam, to be taken at the end of the course (a short response test)
-an oral exam, to be taken during the official assessment period.

The written exam will assess the acquired knowledge with regard to Part I of the module. If students fail this examination, they will be examined orally for Part I, when they sit for the 2nd test, during the official assessment period. The oral discussion will assess the acquired knowledge and abilities with regard to Part II and Part III of the above detailed program. Students are requested to analyze, discuss and critically comment the compulsory texts listed in the syllabus, in relation both to their inner structures and their historical and cultural contexts, besides pointing out their relevance and significance for the present age. In addition, for each author’s work, students must be able to identify and briefly illustrate a personal research thesis by using a critical approach appropriate to them, chosen among those they have learned.

Further explanations on the assessment criteria (for students attending lectures): Regular attendance to the lessons, active participation in the practical classroom activities, together with doing the optional exercises set by the teacher, are fundamental requirements in order to obtain an A level’s mark

For students non-attending lectures, the final examination will consist in a single oral discussion, assessing the acquired knowledge and competences with regard to Parts I, II and III of the above detailed syllabus. In particular, students are requested to perform correctly the same tasks of textual analysis and literary interpretation set for the students attending the lectures (see above for the a detailed description of the abilities required).