Spanish/WAGS 232 Women Writers of Spain

Submitted by Sara J. Brenneis on Wednesday, 1/18/2012, at 2:19 PM


Spring 2012

T, Th 11:30-12:50                                                                                                      

Converse 304     

Profa. Sara J. Brenneis

office: Barrett 106

office hours: Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:30 and by appointment

 I.              Course Description


Twentieth-century Spanish women writers have carved out a particular niche in the canon of Spanish literature.  Often envisioned as a single entity, they have distinguished themselves as individual writers, just as their male counterparts have.  This course will consider contemporary novels, short fiction, essays and poetry authored by women with an overarching question of how one defines an escritura femenina in Spain and what – if anything – differentiates it as a gendered space from other modes of writing.  Along with a focus on women writers and the representation of the feminine in Spanish writing, we will also examine critical texts that provide historical context and theoretical texts that interrogate the notion of gendered literature.

 II.            Objectives and Grading


Students will read and interpret narrative (short stories and novels), poetic and essayistic texts written by Spanish women writers during Spain’s last century, considering them in conjunction with cultural currents, critical approaches, and theoretical trends of the same period.  During classroom activities and discussions, students will analyze texts in terms of gender subjectivity, subject matter, style, historical and cultural relevance, social movements and trends of the period and authors under investigation, and secondary critical sources.  The participation grade is based on the students’ involvement and engagement in classroom discussion, and includes announced and unannounced short written assignments.  Three times over the course of the semester, each student will give a short presentation to the class on a work of poetry.  Students will write a total of 4 essays based on the primary and secondary sources under examination; the last essay will function as a portion of the final paper. Students may opt to rewrite any of the first three essays, but the rewrite must be submitted within one week of receiving my comments and the grade. Rewrites should correct the grammar and revise structure and content; the final paper grade will be calculated based on the average of the original paper grade and the rewrite grade. 

For the course's final paper, students will assume the role of editors of an anthology of Spanish Women’s Writing, selecting appropriate texts and writing an introduction to their volume.  This final paper will demonstrate the critical reading and evaluation skills that the student has developed during the semester and will necessitate outside research.


Essays (4) – 40%

Anthology (Proposal, Presentation & Final paper) – 25%

Classroom participation – 20%

Poetry presentations (3) – 15%



III.      Student Responsibilities

Students must adhere to Amherst College’s Honor Code at all times.  Students with disabilities or specific limitations that will affect their participation in the course should speak with the professor privately as soon as possible to make arrangements.  Regular attendance is required and absences will adversely affect the participation grade.  If students must miss a class, regardless of the reason, he or she should communicate with a classmate about what they missed and inform themselves of the homework for the next class.  In order to respect the professor and the students, cell phones and other technological distractions are not permitted during class.  This course is conducted entirely in Spanish: respectful dialogue en español is expected at all times!


IV.      Course Materials:


1) Texts (Available at Amherst Books)

  • Nada, Carmen Laforet, 1944 (Publisher: Destino)
  • La voz dormida, Dulce Chacón, 2008 (Publisher: Punto de Lecturas)


2) Poetry, Essays, Critical Articles (Course Packet available in Barrett 201)


3) Dictionary (hard copy or digital version)

  • Spanish-English or Spanish-Spanish Dictionary – Oxford, Larousse, Chicago
  • Oxford Language Dictionary online, iPhone Oxford Spanish Dictionary app (no Word Reference, please!)


4) Additional Texts on Reserve for Spanish 232 at Frost Library

            - Anthologies

            - Poetry collections

            - Books of poetry by Carmen Conde, Clara Janés y Ana María Moix


5) Website: The syllabus, announcements, writing assignments, links to poetry, audiovisual material, e-reserves and additional resources will be updated continuously on our course website. Check back often.


V.       Campus Resources:


  • The Writing Center: An invaluable resource for help on your papers, before, during and after you write them, even when they’re in Spanish.  Located at 101 Charles Pratt Hall.
  • Spanish Writing Center: Staffed by student writing fellows, the Spanish Writing Center can help with your writing in Spanish.  You will be notified via email of its Spring semester hours.
  • Grammar and Reference:
  • The Diccionario de la Real Academia Española and the Oxford Spanish Dictionaries are both online and free through the Amherst network.  Bookmark them and use them often.
  • The reference area in Frost (near the reference desk, main floor) has a wonderful supply of Spanish-English, Spanish-Spanish, illustrated Spanish dictionaries and encyclopedias. They cannot be checked out, but you’ve been meaning to spend more time studying in the library anyway, haven’t you?
  • The Spanish Department Library, in Barrett 202, has a collection of Spanish dictionaries, grammar manuals and textbooks.  I recommend John Butt’s A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish to help you solve lingering grammatical and language issues. 



VI.       Course Schedule & Readings



Semana 1:

martes 24:        Introducción al curso


jueves 26:        eReserve: “Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness,” Critical Inquiry, Elaine Showalter (

Course Packet: “Introducción,” Desde la ventana, Carmen Martín Gaite



Semana 2:

martes 31:        Nada, Carmen Laforet: Primera parte, capítulos I – V

Course Packet: “Gender and the State: Women in the 1940s,” Spanish Cultural Studies, Helen Graham




jueves 2:          Nada, Carmen Laforet: Primera parte, caps. VI – IX


Semana 3:

m 7:                 Nada, Carmen Laforet: Segunda parte, caps. X – XIV


j 9:                   Nada, Carmen Laforet: Segunda parte, caps. XV – XVIII


Semana 4:

m 14:               Nada, Carmen Laforet: Tercera parte, caps. XIX – final         


j 16:                 Course Packet: “La chica rara,” Desde la ventana, Carmen Martín Gaite


Semana 5:

m 21:               ENSAYO #1

Antología: Taller


j 23:                 Course Packet: “Introduction,” Women Poets of Spain, 1860-1990, John C. Wilcox (antología)

Selecciones del “Estudio preliminar,” Ellas tienen la palabra: Dos décadas de poesía española (antología)

Introducción al estudio de la poesía


Semana 6:

m 28:               Course Packet: poesía de Ernestina de Champourcín y Carmen Conde




j 1:                   Presentaciones de Ernestina de Champourcín y Carmen Conde (un poema/cada estudiante)



Semana 7:

m 6:                 Course Packet: “Voces de mujer, retratos de una época,” Mujeres de la Posguerra, Inmaculada de la Fuente (antología)

Course Packet: “La chica de abajo,” Carmen Martín Gaite


j 8:                   Course Packet: “Pecado de omisión,” Ana María Matute

Course Packet: “Mi Cristina,” Mercè Rodoreda


Semana 8:

m 13:               ENSAYO #2

Course Packet: poesía de Clara Janés y Ana María Moix


j 15:                 Presentaciones de Clara Janés y Ana María Moix (un poema/cada estudiante)




Semana 10:

m 27:               Course Packet: poesía de Ana Rosetti y Blanca Andréu

Antología: Propuesta


j 29:                 Presentaciones de Ana Rosetti y Blanca Andréu (un poema/cada estudiante)




Semana 11:

m 3:                 Course Packet: “‘Women’ as the Subject of Feminism,” Judith Butler

Course Packet: “Te dejo, amor, en prenda el mar,” Carme Riera


j 5:                   ENSAYO #3

Course Packet: “The Lost Women of Spanish Prisons,” Memories of Resistance, Shirley Mangini


Semana 12:

m 10:               La voz dormida, Dulce Chacón, 1ª parte: caps. 1-21


j 12:                 La voz dormida, Dulce Chacón, 1ª parte: caps. 22-35


Semana 13:

m 17:               La voz dormida, Dulce Chacón, 2ª parte: caps. 1-18


j 19:                 ENSAYO #4 (en nuestro Dropbox)

No hay clase


Semana 14:

m 24:               La voz dormida, Dulce Chacón, 3ª parte: caps. 1-19


j 26:                 La voz dormida, Dulce Chacón, 3ª parte: cap. 20-final




Semana 15:

m 1:                 **Clase en 102 Webster**: Presentaciones/Conclusiones/Evaluaciones


j 3:                   Presentaciones/Conclusiones


jueves, el 10 de mayo:

Antología (portada, índice, Introducción y bibliografía) entregada en Barrett 106 antes de mediodía