SP2LS-Literature and Society in the Modern Hispanic World

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites: at least intermediate level of Spanish
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Cherilyn Elston

Email: c.elston@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Throughout the twentieth century the societies of the Hispanic world experienced profound political, social and economic changes, ranging from modernisation to revolution, dictatorship to democracy, to shifting ideas about race, gender and identity.

This module examines how literature played a key role in both reflecting and shaping these transformations. Through analysing some of the most important literary texts published in the Hispanic world in the twentieth century, students will explore both the evolution of literature and the changing relationship between literature and society. Locating these texts in major literary movements and genres, such as surrealism, the Latin American regional novel, poesía comprometida, Afro-Latino poetry, indigenismo, narratives of dictatorship and the boom femenino, the module compares the socio-literary differences and dialogues between Spain, Spanish America and the wider world in the modern era.


  • To explore the evolution of literature in the Hispanic world in the twentieth century, and to analyse the changing relationship between the two.

  • To understand how literature reflected and represented social change in the Hispanic world.

  • To examine and analyse how these texts were received and discussed in the public sphere, in the Hispanic world and beyond.

  • To understand the ideas which formed the basis for literature produced in the Hispanic world in the twentieth century.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • The ability to analyse the historical evolution of twentieth-century literature from the Hispanic world from a variety of perspectives.

  • The ability to analyse the production and dissemination of ideas about literature in the context of its social context.

  • The ability to develop a complex understanding of key literary movements and genres.

  • The ability to work effectively in collaboration with other students, and sustain written and oral arguments coherently.

  • The ability to synthesize information.

  • The ability to read and interpret critically.

  • Independent research skills (library, electronic databases, internet materials).

  • Analytical skills based on working with primary and secondary sources.

Additional outcomes:

Knowledge and skills gained from extra-curricular resources, such as guest speakers and cultural excursions

Outline content:

The module allows students of Spanish to develop both their understanding and skills in literary studies as well as their proficiency in the Spanish language.

Texts for study (in full or as extracts) may include: Federico García Lorca, Poeta en Nueva York (1940); José Eustasio Rivera, La vorágine (1924); Nicolás Guillén, Sóngoro Cosongo (1931); Pablo Neruda, Canto general (1950); Rosario Castellanos, Balún Canán (1957); Ana María Matute, Primera memoria (1959).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures and seminars (in Spanish and English, where appropriate).

Group work.

Use of office hours and additional individual meetings for guidance and feedback.

Students may also undertake an academic placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 5
Seminars 10 10
Tutorials 1 1 2
Guided independent study 83 83
Total hours by term 99.00 99.00 2.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Report 20
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Class test administered by School 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One hour commentary.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • Oral presentation: group presentation during Autumn or Spring Terms.

  • Report (book review): 750 words, to be submitted in Week 11 of Autumn Term.

  • Essay: 2500 words, to be submitted in Week 1 of Summer Term.

  • Class test: 1 hour, at beginning of Summer Term.

One piece of assessed coursework worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework. 

Formative assessment methods:

Draft essay plan, submitted for informal written and oral feedback in advance of submission of summative essay.

Revision session for examination in Summer Term

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Module mark of 40%

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Students who fail the module and Part 2 as a whole will be re-examined in August. Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


    Things to do now