The abuse of authority by powerful men against women is a central theme in the classic theater of seventeenth-century Spain. A peasant uprising is inspired by a woman outraged at her assault by a nobleman in Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna. A woman abandoned by her lover guides a prince toward an ethical awakening in Calderon’s La vida es sueno (Life is a Dream). We will read selected chapters of Don Quixote, Part I, in which women successfully defend their autonomy and honor, and Part II, which presents an anti-Machiavellian contrast between Sancho’s merciful wisdom and the gratuitous cruelty of aristocrats. At the end of the seventeenth century, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz indicts the violence of the conquest of Mexico in the introductory loa to El divino Narciso. Texts may be read in Spanish or English translation; discussion in English.
Requirements: weekly participation; each student will be responsible for formulating questions and leading discussion for one meetings and writing 2 short essays.
Required Texts (all available on bCourses):
Pedro Calderón de la Barca, La vida es sueño / Life is a Dream
“ “ . El alcalde de Zalamea / The Mayor of Zalamea.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, El divino Narciso / The Divine Narcissus