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Georgetown University


Detailed Course Information


Fall 2017
Nov 17, 2017
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SPAN 472 - Cervantes & His World
This course, taught in Spanish, is designed to give the graduate student and advanced undergraduate an in-depth understanding of early modern Spain. It focuses not only on Cervantes and his writings, but on the political, social, and cultural environment in which the writer lived. Students will learn about the artistic explosion in early modern Spain and how painters such as El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, and later, Murillo and Velázquez, reflect evolving values and outlooks in the 16th and 17th centuries. Students will also look at examples of Spanish architecture from Herrera to López de Rojas and consider the early modern conception of space. Of course, the writings of Cervantes will be central to the course. Students will read key segments of Don Quijote, La Galatea and Persiles, novellas from the Novelas ejemplares, plays (eg. Pedro de Urdemalas), and poetry. In addition, we will look at some of Cervantes’ contemporaries and rivals such as Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo, María de Zayas, and Baltasar Gracián. In order to understand the philosophical and religious underpinnings of Cervantes’ work, students will also read excerpts from some of the most influential moral and religious philosophers of the period. These include Juan Luis Vives, whose treatise on women achieved international recognition, Francisco Suárez, whose Disputaciones metafísicas were read in Jesuit schools throughout Europe, and Miguel de Molinos, whose quietist approach to spirituality caused him to be denounced by the Inquisition.  

Assignments: Graduate students will write one 20-25-page term paper. Undergraduates will write three short papers (4-7-pages) and one longer paper (7-10-pages). Both graduates and undergraduates will write periodic reflections. 

Format: Lecture, class discussion, oral presentations. 

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours

Levels: MN or MC Graduate, Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture

Spanish Department

Course Attributes:
Mean Grade is Calculated

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