Well I've nearly made it through my first Spanish literature class (I suppose I have made it through all of the actual class sessions now!).
I'm glad I chose this course because I have enjoyed the topic of magical realism literature in Latin America. One of the elements I've enjoyed the most is learning about the evolution of the genre. I haven't taken many literature classes in general in university so I'm not used to studying a particular literary genre and didn't have any set expectations. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find out we'd be looking at the works that were the inspiration of magical realism, a book that is the epitome of magical realism in North American eyes, and even a post-magical realism collection of writing.
As a Latin American studies student I enjoyed the class lectures about the social and historical context of each book. It was interesting to fit these works into my knowledge of the countries in which they took place and to see how much the countries of origin of the authors influenced their works (especially for the first 3 books). Oh I also enjoyed the discussions of reality v. magic that came up in the discussions for all of the texts, given the course's topic.
I think McOndo was a great way to end the course. I wish we'd been able to spend more time on it and had all read the same stories so we'd be better able to have informative class discussions. It would have also been interesting to analyze the individual authors more because I'm curious the extent to which their nationalities influenced their work. I'm glad we ended with this collection because it doesn't allow us to leave the course feeling certain that we understand what Latin American literature is all about. In fact, McOndo questions what we should actually take away from the books by Asturias, Carpentier and GGM.
Overall the amount of reading in this course was challenging. With the blogs due every Sunday it became inevitable that I left all the reading to the weekend and it was a LOT to read through, especially in Spanish. In my opinion we started off with the hardest text which made for a harsh introduction to the course. Even after helping to write a wikipedia entry on Leyendas de Guatemala I still feel uneasy about writing my final paper on that book. The way its written is hard to dissect and I doubt my ability to uncover the complexity of the events and significances in each legend. I'm gonna give that a start tomorrow...wish me luck!