SP3WPS-Writers and Publishers in Spain

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Marta Simo-Comas

Email: m.simo-comas@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Writers and Publishers in Modern and Contemporary Spain examines how the publishing industry has been instrumental in shaping the recent cultural and intellectual history of Spain, in particular from the 1930s to the present day. In order to illustrate the interaction between politics, society, culture and the forces of the publishing world, this module focuses on critical episodes of Spanish history (such as the Republic of 1931, the Francoist regime, and the Transition to democracy), as well as on cultural constructs and processes deriving from a particular set of political and economic circumstances (such as the impact of censorship and exile on the cultural field during Francoism, the emergence of the Latin American “boom” in the 1960s, the building of a new Spanish literary canon after 1975, the development of female writing from the 1980s onwards, and the application of market theory to the dissemination of culture, among others).


This module has four broad aims:

  • To promote an understanding of the decisive role of the publishing industry in shaping the cultural field and mentalities in the recent history of Spain (20th and 21st centuries).

  • To familiarize students with key developments (such as censorship, cultural resistance, exile, publishing links with Latin America, and democratization of culture), figures (writers, publishers. literary agents, and other cultural mediators) and texts (essays, fiction and autobiography) of the recent cultural and intellectual history of Spain.

  • To provide a critical framework for analysing the interplay of the political, the economic and the cultural spheres as well as for understanding the relationship between specific texts and their socio-cultural contexts.

  • To enhance students’ knowledge of the contemporary Spanish language.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be expected to:

  • Understand the role of the publishing industry in shaping the cultural field and the mentalities in the recent history of Spain (20th and 21st centuries).

  • Understand key developments of the recent Spanish cultural history (censorship, exile, cultural resistance, and democratization of culture, among others) in their historical context.

  • Be familiar with the key figures (writers, publishers and other cultural mediators) and organizations (publishing houses, governments) that have contributed to the shaping of the recent cultural and intellectual history of Spain.

  • Engage critically with the texts discussed in class.

  • Build critical arguments in written work.

Additional outcomes:

  • Oral communication and interpersonal skills will be developed through class discussion.

  • Students will be encouraged to make connections between this module and previous knowledge.

Outline content:

  • Historical context of the key cultural developments discussed in the module

  • The relations of power, competition and cooperation within the cultural field

  • The role of the publishing industry in:

  • Fostering an official culture during Francoism

  • Fostering cultural resistance and counterculture during Francoism

  • The democratization of culture in the Republic of 1931 and in the Transition to Democracy

  • Raising awareness of gender, civic and political identities

  • The shaping of the literary canon and of literary trends

  • The impact of censorship on cultural production

  • The impact of exile on the development of transcontinental publishing links between Spain and Latin America

  • The intellectual and political engagement of the publishers

  • The position of women in the Spanish publishing field

  • The mediating role of the literary agent

  • The emergence of publishing corporations and the application of market theory to the dissemination of culture

  • Independent publishing and the safeguarding of cultural diversity today

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Students will be required to do preparatory reading for each seminar, participate in class discussion and undertake small-group work.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 5
Seminars 10 10 2
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 84 84
Total hours by term 99 99 2
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

  • One 2-hour exam (2 questions) (50%) during Summer Term exam period

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • One 3,000 – 3,500 word assignment (essay) (50%) due in week 1 in Summer Term

One piece of assessment 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:

Class discussions and opportunity to submit essay plan for comment. Exam revision session 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:

    Re- examination in August in the event of failure in this module and in the degree as a whole. 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: 8 April 2019


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