Re-imagining the world: Cervantes, Lope and the Baroque I: Cervantes and the Nature of Fiction

Languages & Cultures, School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music

College of Arts and Law


Code 03999

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 10

Semester 2

Module description

Re-imagining the World: Cervantes, Lope and the Baroque:
Towards the end of the 16th century the pursuit of harmony, order and form that characterises Renaissance art and literature gives way to an intellectual and aesthetic outlook that is skeptical about classifications, hierarchies, and the power of reason itself, and celebrates variety, contrast and heterogeneity. It is also an era characterised by a fascination with re-invention, transformation, and change. Known as the Baroque, its artists and writers also reflected as never before on the nature and function of creativity itself, re-assessing the relationship between author/artist, text/image/performance, and reader/spectator, and reflecting insistently on the relationship and the boundaries between fiction/art and reality. It should be no surprise then that the Baroque era saw the creation of some of the greatest works in Spanish Literature. "Re-imagining the World" will examine the Baroque perspective, focussing on the two most significant literary forms of the age: the novel and the "comedia"; and on the work of two of its most innovative writers: Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) and Lope de Vega (1562-1635).

Miguel de Cervantes changed the way readers approach fiction forever, not only by developing new forms, but by continually alerting his readers to the processes of creation, transmission and reception that shape their relationship with the text, thereby schooling them in the art of reading, and making them more perceptive and active participants in the experience of fiction. The module examines a variety of Cervantine texts, with reference to the Baroque perspective, through a series of seminars involving both student presentations and class discussion.

At relevant moments the module will also introduce students to several masterpieces of Baroque painting as a means of illustrating the character of the age in visual as well as textual terms.