Contemporary Spanish Literature

A.Y. 2022/2023
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course offers a fourth optional step in the diachronic study of Spanish Literature and it's aimed at both undergraduated and graduated students. It focuses on Spain's history, society and culture from the end of the Civil War (1939) to nowadays, including the francoist dictatorship (1939-1975), the political transition and the democratic era. It offers a multifaceted approach to Spanish contemporary literature, starting from some fundamental works in which literary writing is closely connected with historical environment and social changes. Special attention will be paid to how literature deals with Spain's astonishing progress during the democratic period, a crucial phase marked by the rise of a hyper-consumeristic society in a globalized market. In fact, in such complex circumstances, authors explore new forms of expression and techniques that lead to the hybridization of genres and the use of other languages in the literary context (music, films, television, new media, etc.).
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding: Essential outlines of Spain's contemporary history, from 1939 to nowadays; fundamental authors, literary movements and publishing phenomena in the Spanish book market; evolution of narrative, poetic and theatrical genres. Applying knowledge and understanding: Analytical reading, literary commentary, historical and critical contextualization of the most important contemporary Spanish authors and works. Implementation of critical skills and autonomous thinking, developing a full consciousness of how literature constantly interacts with history, culture, arts and society.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The course is entitled "Spanish literature during Francoism and in democracy (1939-2018)" and is divided in the following three parts, that will be developed in sequence:
A: From the Civil War to the Transition: history and fiction (1939-1975)
B: Democratic Spain: history and fiction (1975-2018)
C: Poetry and theatre in contemporary Spain
The course aims to offer a diachronic cultural overview of contemporary Spain, from 1939 to the present (during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco and the subsequent democracy), contextualizing literature in the historical and social environment. We shall study the evolution of genres and poetics, as well as major authors and works of the 20th century and current forms of narrative and poetic expression and theatrical performance. Students will be offered for personal study a selection of works of fiction and drama with critical commentary. Special attention will be paid to the recent rewriting of Spanish Civil War and the "theater of memory".
The teacher will use the two languages, Italian (prevalent in explanations) and Spanish, in a reasoned manner.
Students interested in acquiring 6 cfu will study parts A and B; students interested in acquiring 9 cfu have to study the complete syllabus (recommended choice).
The course syllabus is valid until September 2024.
Prerequisites for admission
The course is held mainly in Italian. The materials and the bibliography suppose a good linguistic knowledge and advanced skills in history of literature, use of specific terminology and critical analysis, gained in previous courses. From a chronological point of view, the period covered follows the one studied in Spanish Literature 3. However, the course is accessible to students from all Humanities degree programs.
Teaching methods
The course adopts the following teaching methods: frontal lessons; reading and commentary of narrative and poetic texts, essays and theatrical excerpts taken from the works in the syllabus; seminar discussions; individual and group works; viewing and commentary of short documentaries. Attendance is strongly recommended.
Teaching Resources
The reference manual for all the course is "Letteratura spagnola contemporanea", by Danilo Manera (coord.), Marina Bianchi, Giuliana Calabrese, Simone Cattaneo, Simone Trecca (Milano, Pearson, 2020; ISBN 9788891906311).
The course has a website on the online platform Ariel (, where students will find a detailed bibliography of each part, with a large list of readings to choose, critical articles for in-depth analysis and digital original texts that will be commented in class. Students of degree courses other than Foreign Languages and Literatures will be able to read either Italian or bilingual texts.
Non-attending students must prepare additional texts (both literary and critical) clearly indicated on the Ariel website.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an individual interview, which includes questions asked by the professor, interactions between professor and student and the analysis and commentary of one or more excerpts taken from the works in the syllabus. For students of foreign languages and literatures, it will be held partially in Spanish, in order to verify the development of adequate language skills in the context of literary studies. Students of other degree courses will take the exam in Italian.
The interview aims to verify the knowledge and understanding of the texts, the ability to contextualize authors and works, the expression skills, the precision in the use of specific terminology, the ability to reflect critically and personally on the proposed issues. Students must bring with them the bibliographic materials used to prepare the exam. The final mark is expressed on a scale up to 30, and the student has the right to refuse it (in which case it will be recorded as "withdrawn").
International students or incoming Erasmus students are invited to contact the professor as soon as possible. The examination procedures for students with disabilities and/or with DSA must be agreed with the professor and the competent office.
Unita' didattica A
L-LIN/05 - SPANISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-LIN/05 - SPANISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-LIN/05 - SPANISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)