Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cynthia Steele
SPAN 598
Seattle Campus

Literary Problems: Latin America

Class description


An overview of the development of the detective novel in Mexico and Argentina, along with a comparison of film adaptations of the novels in question. We will examine the basic tenets of the detective genre and of film adaptations of literature, and will analyze how Mexican and Argentine authors and directors have adapted the U.S. hard-boiled crime novel to comment on Latin American society at various sociopolitical junctures over the past half century. The crimes addressed range from serial murders to political conspiracies and repression of dissidents; the authors’ approaches combine elements of psychoanalysis, Marxism, anti-imperialism, feminism, and the critique of neoliberalism. Readings for the seminar will be in Spanish; Spanish students should also do most of their research and write their essays in Spanish. Students will give an oral presentation, keep a reading and film journal, and write an 8-10-page final analytical essay.

WEEKS 1 & 2: Rodolfo Usigli, Ensayo de un crimen (1944). México: Delbolsillo, 2008), 304 pp. Film: Luis Buñuel, La vida criminal de Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955).

WEEK 3: José Donoso (Chile, 1965), El lugar sin límites. Mexico City: Alfaguara, 2005 (distributed by US Vintage Books). 134 pp. 9681902645; 9789681902643 Arturo Ripstein (Mexico, 1977), El lugar sin límites. Mexico City: CONACULTA and IMCINE, 1989.

WEEK 4: Jorge Ibargúengoitia, Las muertas (1977; Booket, 2009). Jorge Fons. Las poquianchis. BCI/Eclipse, 2003, 110 min.

WEEK 5: Fritz Glockner (Mexico), Cementerio de papel. Mexico City: Byblos, 2007. 264 pp. ISBN-10: • 9707102500 • ISBN-13: 978-9707102507 Mario Hernández, Cementerio de papel. Venevisión, 2007, 100 minutes.

WEEKS 6 & 7: Ricardo Piglia (Argentina), Plata quemada. Buenos Aires: Anagrama, 2006, 230 pp. Marcelo Piñyero, Plata quemada. Santa Monica: Strand Releasing Home Video, 2002.

WEEK 8: Marcelo Figueras, Kamchatka . Madrid: Punto de Lectura, 2004. 387 pp. Kamchatka (Argentina, 2002). Dir. Marcelo Piñyero. Argentina AVH, 2007, 103 min. [Argentina, 2002]

WEEK 9: Sacheri, La pregunta de sus ojos. Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 2009. 320 pp. • ISBN-10: 9870412769 • ISBN-13: 978-9870412762 Juan José Campanelli, El secreto de sus ojos (Argentina, 2009).

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Cynthia Steele
Date: 05/23/2011