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LIT 14 — Don Quixote

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Aug 14
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Jul 9
Unit: 1
Tuition: $355
Instructor(s): Vincent Barletta
Status: Open
Summer
On-campus course
Mondays
7:00—8:50 pm
Date(s)
Jun 26—Aug 14
8 weeks
Drop By
Jul 9
1 Unit
Fees
$355
Instructor(s):
Vincent Barletta
Open
In 2002, a panel of writers from over fifty countries named Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote the “most meaningful book of all time.” Along with Dante’s La Divina Commedia and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it was chosen by the same panel as one of the three greatest works of the Western canon. Such praise from one’s peers is no small achievement for an author who spent more time in prison than in college, and it speaks to the lasting impact of a 400-year-old work aimed at confounding as much as delighting its readers.

In this course, students will engage in a close reading and discussion of this modern classic, examining both its many meanings and the ways in which it works to elude meaning altogether. Themes include modernity, madness, love (erotic and otherwise), the rise of capitalism, and the origins of the novel. We will also dive into early modern Spanish history and culture (e.g., the wholesale expulsion of Muslim converts to Christianity, the American empire, medicine, and science). As a complementary exercise, we will engage in some “detective work” aimed at developing a concrete sense of how readers have transformed Don Quixote into a classic and continue to present it as such. At the center of our discussion is an attempt to understand Don Quixote (a text more often cited than read) and its place in the world.

Vincent Barletta, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Stanford

Vincent Barletta’s research focuses on medieval and early modern Iberian literatures; Portuguese literature, empire, and humanism; and Islamic and Aljamiado literature. He is a research associate at Stanford’s Europe Center and associated faculty in the Center for African Studies, the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, the Mediterranean Studies Forum, and the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. He received a PhD in Hispanic languages and literatures from UCLA.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Miguel de Cervantes (Author), Edith Grossman (Translator), Don Quixote (ISBN 978-0060934347)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)