Checking date: 14/06/2023

Course: 2024/2025

Cervantes and his World: Exemplary Novels (1613)
Hispanic Studies (Plan: 285 - Estudio: 84)

Coordinating teacher: COLAS GIL, MANUEL JESUS

Department assigned to the subject:

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Description of contents: programme
What do the Exemplary Novels mean or represent today? Twenty first-century readers might find the volume just entertaining, or weird, but a close reading of this collection of short stories illuminates the depth of an experimental literary process that opens a window to Cervantes´ preoccupations and participation with his fictional works in some of the most hotly social debates of his time. This course explores literary representations of social, political and religious issues in Cervantes´ Exemplary Novels. We will look at this collection of short stories to analyze the relationship between literary fiction and its historic and cultural determinations. Also this approach will allow us to reflect on topics from Cervantes´ time that are still relevant in debates in contemporary Spain. In 1613 Cervantes publishes in Spain the Exemplary Novels. The volume is a collection of twelve brilliant and sophisticated short stories that comes out a few years after Cervantes´ suddenly acquired fame. In his book the author of Don Quixote explores literary techniques and displays a myriad of topics and characters from his contemporary life: crime in cities, poverty, prostitution and public health, government corruption, gypsy communities, pirates and delinquency on the sea, religious tensions, madness and social alienation, etc. Cervantes lives and writes during one of the richest and most remarkable periods of Spanish literature, but also under the decline of the Spanish Empire. The author of Don Quixote explores some of the main problems that affect a society that lives and struggles to survive under the monarchy of the Habsburg. The city is a common scenario in his stories: Madrid, Valladolid, Salamanca, and specially Seville and the Andalusia region where Cervantes spent a great amount of time. BEYOND THE TEXTS¿ A list of visits and activities in Madrid and surrounding areas are suggested: from museums to convents, churches, synagogues, mosques, temporary exhibits, libraries, palaces or cultural institutions. This way students could learn about Cervantes´ time not only from his literary works but also from paintings and other fine arts, civil and religious architecture, manuscripts, theater and music.
Assessment System

Basic Bibliography
  • Cervantes, Miguel de. Exemplary Novels. Translated from the English by Edith Grossman. Edited by Roberto González Echevarría. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 2016
Additional Bibliography
  • Cascardi, Anthony. The Cambridge Companion to Cervantes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2002
  • Cruz, Anne. Discourses of Poverty: Social Reform and the Picaresque Novel in Early Modern Spain. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1999
  • Egginton, William. . The Man Who Invented Fiction. . New York: Bloomsbury. 2016
  • El Saffar, Ruth. Novel to Romance. A Study of Cervantes´s Novelas ejemplares. . Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1974
  • Feros, Antonio.. Kingship and favoritism in the Spain of Phillip III, 1598-1621. . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2000
  • Friedman, Edward H.. Cervantes in the Middle. Realism and Reality in the Spanish Novel from Lazarillo de Tormes to Niebla. . Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta. 2006
  • Fuchs, Barbara. Passing for Spain: Cervantes and the Fictions of Identity. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 2003
  • González Echevarría, Roberto. Love and the law in Cervantes. . New Heaven and London: Yale University Press. 2005
  • Johnson, Carroll. and Ann J. Cruz. Ed.. Cervantes and His Postmodern Constituencies. . New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc.. 1999
  • Williams, Patrick. The Great Favourite: The Duke of Lerma and the court and government of Phillip III of Spain, 1598-1621. . Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press. 2006

The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.