Spring 2023 Spanish BC3454 section 001

VICE AND VIRTUE

Call Number 00221
Day & Time
Location
MW 1:10pm-2:25pm
306 Milbank Hall (Barnard)
Points 3
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Ronald D Briggs
Type LECTURE
Course Description

When Colombian novelist and literary critic Soledad Acosta de Samper declared in 1895 that the cause of “moralizing” Spanish American society was a task that female writers shared with the rest of the continent’s women, she was, in effect, placing a gender claim on a very old notion of the purpose of literature. A hundred years before the Peruvian-born Pablo de Olavide had begun his long epistolary novel (El evangelio en triunfo) by lamenting that the publishing industry of his era had not yet managed to harness its resources into a single volume that would make Christian doctrine and morality palatable to enlightened readers. What both writers shared was a sense of the imperceptible ability of narrative to transmit moral sensibility. This power—U.S. educational reformer Charles Brooks would call it “moral electricity”—served at once as a justification and a social charge for writers and publishers. Believers in the book as the media force capable of shifting social consciousness, the writers and critics of nineteenth-century Latin America peppered their works with equal parts optimism and dread, as the same art that renders virtue desirable could be turned over to the service of vice. Their new or at least newly distributed art conjured a notion of the American hemisphere on the one hand as a new moral Paradise and on the other as a place where the battle against moral chaos could still go disastrously wrong.

Web Site Vergil
Department Spanish and Latin American Culture
Enrollment 11 students (15 max) as of 9:07PM Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Subject Spanish
Number BC3454
Section 001
Division Barnard College
Campus Barnard College
Section key 20231SPAN3454X001