Introduction to Literary Analysis

This entry-level course serves two purposes, it seeks to develop a baseline knowledge of different currents in literary theory & cultural analysis, and it allows students to familiarize themselves with modern and contemporary Latin American cultural production. Building a common language to approach cultural artifacts and literary texts, students will develop analytical skills and broaden their working knowledge of Latin American literature and societies. This course prepares students for upper-level courses in Latin American studies, Hispanic studies, and comparative literature. Readings in Spanish.


Students are expected to read all materials thoroughly in order to contribute to discussion and actively engage in class activities. Students should be able to demonstrate they have: 1) reflected upon the readings; 2) synthesized the main ideas, and; 3) identified key concepts and categories. Throughout the semester students will work on a concept map using a digital platform of their choosing. Assignments include discussion facilitation, in-class exams, and a seminar paper.

Week 1, What is Literature?

Eagleton, Terry. “Preface” & “Introduction: What is Literature?” Literary Theory: An Introduction, University of Minnesota Press, 1996, pp. ix-x; 1-14.

Juan José Arreola, “El guardagujas” (1952)

Week 2, All That is Solid Melts into Air

Berman, Marshall. “Introduction: Modernity—Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity. Viking Penguin, 1988, pp. 15-36.

Vicente Huidobro, Altazor (Preface) & “Voz de esperanza”
Gabriela Mistral, “Una palabra”
Nicanor Parra, “Soliloquio del individuo”
Pablo Neruda, “Walking around
Idea Vilariño, “El miedo”, “Se está solo”, “No hay ninguna esperanza”, “Ya no” & “Comparaciones”

Week 3, Interpretation & the Fusion of Horizons

Eagleton, “Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, Reception Theory.” Literary Theory: An Introduction, University of Minnesota Press, 1996. (Excerpts)

Esteban Echeverría, “El matadero” (1871)
Baldomero Lillo, “La compuerta número 12” (1904)

Week 4, Signs/Structures

Eagleton, “Structuralism & Semiotics.” Literary Theory: An Introduction. University of Minnesota Press, 1996. (Excerpts)

José Emilio Pacheco, Las batallas en el desierto (1980)

Week 5, Post-Structuralism & Deconstruction

Eagelton, “Post-Structuralism.” Literary Theory: An Introduction, University of Minnesota Press, 1996. (Excerpts)

Luisa Valenzuela, “Aquí pasan cosas raras” (1975)

Week 6, The Symbolic, the Imaginary, and the Real

Eagelton, “Psychoanalysis.” Literary Theory: An Introduction, University of Minnesota Press, 1996. (Excerpts)

Amparo Dávila, “Alta cocina” (1959)
Gabriel García Márquez, “Sólo vine a hablar por teléfono” (1974)

Week 7, Marxist Literary Criticism

Williams, Raymond. “Literature” & “Ideology.” Marxism and Literature. Oxford University Press, 1977, pp. 45-71.

Eagleton, “Conclusion: Political Criticism.” Literary Theory: An Introduction, University of Minnesota Press, 1996. (Excerpts)

Foley, Barbara. “Literature and Literary Criticism.” Marxist Literary Criticism Today. Pluto Press, 2019, pp. 87-94.

Juan Rulfo, “¡Diles que no me maten!” & “No oyes ladrar los perros” (1953)

Week 8, Dependency and Underdevelopment

Candido, Antonio. “Literature and Underdevelopment”. Antonio Candido: On Literature and Society. Edited by Howard Saul Becker, Princeton University Press, 1995, pp. 119-141.

Rama, Angel. “Literature and Culture,” Writing Across Cultures: Narrative Transculturation in Latin America. Duke University Press, 2012, pp. 3-35.

João Guimarães Rosa, “A terceira margem do rio” [“La tercera orilla del río”] (1962)

Week 9, The End of History

Eagleton, “Afterword,” Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. pp. 190-208.

José Agustín, “Cuál es la onda” (1968)
Luis Britto García, “Usted puede mejorar su memoria,” “Muerte de un rebelde” & “Grupo” (1970)

Week 10, Feminism & Feminist Literary Criticism

Delmar, Rosalind. “What Is Feminism?” Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences, edited by Anne Herrmann and Abigail J. Stewart, Westview Press, 1994, pp. 5–28.

Giménez, Martha E. “Reflections on Intersectionality.” Marx, Women, and Capitalist Social Reproduction. Brill, 2018, p. 94-109.

Rosario Castellanos. Salomé (1959)
María Luisa Mendoza, “Regla de tres” (2008)

Week 11, Cultural Studies

Culler, Jonathan. “Cultural Studies.” Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 82-93.

Castillo, Debra A. “Tentative Exchanges: Tijuana Prostitutes and Their Clients.” The Latin American Cultural Studies Reader, edited by Marc Zimmerman et al., Duke University Press, 2004, pp. 584–605.

Week 12, Chicanx & Latinx Studies

Anzaldúa, Gloria. “Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers” & “Border Arte.” The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader. Duke University Press, 2009, pp. 26-35; 176-187.

Selena. Directed by Gregory Nava, Warner Home Video, 1997.

Frances R Aparicio. “Jennifer as Selena: Rethinking Latinidad in Media and Popular Culture.” Latino Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, pp. 90–105.

Week 13, World Literature-World Systems

Moretti, Franco. “Conjectures on World Literature.” New Left Review, vol. 1, 2000, pp. 54–68.

Casanova, Pascale. “Literature as a World.” New Left Review, no. 31, 2005, pp. 71–90.

Week 14, The Rise of the New Humanities

Emmett, Robert S., and David E. Nye. “The Emergence of the Environmental Humanities.” The Environmental Humanities: A Critical Introduction. The MIT Press, 2017, p. 1-21.

Liu, Alan. “The Meaning of the Digital Humanities.” PMLA, vol. 128, no. 2, 2013, pp. 409–423.