Eduardo Lago

MA, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. PhD, Graduate Center, City University of New York. Special interests: Spanish and Latin American literature, US Latino writers, European literature. Author of the award-winning novel, Call Me Brooklyn (2006), translated into 15 languages. Other fiction works include short-story collections Scattered Tales and Map Thief and I Always Knew I Would See You Again, Aurora Lee, a novel (2013)—all in Spanish. Translator into Spanish of works by John Barth, Sylvia Plath, Henry James, Junot Díaz, Hamlin Garland, William Dean Howells, and Charles Brockden-Brown. Recipient of the 2002 Bartolomé March Award for Excellence in Literary Criticism for his comparative analysis of James Joyce’s Ulysses translations into Spanish. Director of the Cervantes Institute in New York, 2006–2011. Holder of a Chair of Excellence at Carlos III University, Madrid, in 2008. His collection of essays The double helix of North American Literature, will be published at the end of 2018 in Mexico and Spain. SLC, 1993–

Undergraduate Courses 2018-2019

Spanish

Advanced Beginning Spanish

Open , Seminar—Year

The aim of this course is to enable students who took some Spanish in the past but have not used it in a while to develop the skills necessary to achieve effective levels of communication in Spanish. Before fully embarking in the usage of the language in an active, comprehensive way, we will conduct a thorough review of the grammatical system. Simultaneously, we will proceed to recover, consolidate, and expand a substantial basic vocabulary through a program of integrated readings and communicative activities, including the exploitation of audiovisual resources aimed at developing good aural/oral skills. The main goal of the class is to achieve effective communication in Spanish in a relatively short span of time. From the start, students will be in touch with authentic Spanish-language materials in the form of newspaper articles, films, songs, and poems, as well as short literary and non-literary texts. The viewing of films, documentaries, episodes of popular TV series, as well as the reading of blogs and digital publications will take place outside the seminar meetings, serving as the basis of class discussions and debates. Weekly conversation sessions with the language assistant are an integral part of the course.

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Advanced Spanish: Introduction to Literature

Advanced , Seminar—Year

This seminar will operate on two distinct levels: 1) language work at an advanced level, and 2) an introduction to the literature(s) of the Spanish-speaking world via the study of relevant works by very recent authors. Initially, the emphasis will be on the study of grammar, syntax, and the acquisition of a solid body of vocabulary at a sophisticated level. During the first weeks of the fall semester, we will focus on the consolidation and integration of linguistic skills. While we do this, we will explore all forms of culture—making use of different kinds of audiovisual resources such as audio podcasts, interviews, documentaries, TV programs, and other formats. We will also start a program of thorough readings centered on a wide range of disciplines and fields. Art, film, music, photography, theatre, science, politics, comics, video games, gastronomy...all forms and manifestations of culture, high and low, will be the object of our attention as long as the vehicle of expression is Spanish. Students will be encouraged to contribute to the syllabus by locating on the Internet different kinds of Spanish-language materials. Once the theoretical comprehension of grammar—together with the mastery of linguistic skills and the acquisition of both a sophisticated reading capacity and a rich vocabulary—is secured, we will start to give priority to the study of literary works. That will constitute the center of classwork in the second part of the year. During the spring semester, the class will fully operate as a literature seminar: TSUNAMI: THE YOUNGEST GENERATION OF WOMEN WRITERS FROM THE SPANISH-SPEAKING WORLD. Recently, the most representative authors writing in Spanish today gathered at FIL (Feria Internacional del Libro), which took place in Guadalajara, Mexico. FIL is the largest annual literary encounter celebrated in the Spanish-speaking world and, on a global scale, is only second to the Frankfurt Book Fair. During the encounter, writers from all latitudes joined around the most celebrated voices from the 24 countries who share Spanish as their vehicle of literary expression. In its most recent edition, one factor stood out: the formidable explosion of talent represented by the emergence of extremely young female voices hailing from all corners of Latin America and Spain. The magnitude and scale of this phenomenon is still to be adequately measured, but its impact on the culture marks the advent of an era that transcends national and linguistic boundaries. When, in the 1960s, the world at large discovered the extraordinary richness of Spanish-language literature in what was then labeled as el boom, the phenomenon was reduced to the representation of male voices. It was not so much that women writers did not exist; rather, they were ignored and silenced. In recent years, such neglect became untenable—the arc of erased voices had to come to light at one point. The process began in the last 10 years, and the explosion witnessed at the recent FIL was simply the acknowledgement of an undeniable state of affairs. Culturally and socially, what is happening now in the realm of Spanish-language literature is part of a phenomenon of significant global impact, whose connections across languages and the cultures that they represent require an in-depth exploration. During the last edition of FIL, an anthology of female writers, duly titled Tsunami (a sum of feminist voices), became one of the natural centers of discussion of the encounter. In this course, entirely taught in the original language (virtually none of the works that we will read are yet available in English), we will explore the new literary map of the Spanish-speaking world resulting from the appearance of radically new female voices. Some of the authors under study are: Samanta Schweblin, Clara Usón, Mariana Ojeda, Fernanda Trías, Guadalupe Nettel, Cristina Rivera Garza, Brenda Lozano, and Liliana Bloom.

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Previous Courses

Intermediate Spanish II: Culture in the Information Age

Intermediate , Seminar—Year

This course is taught in Spanish. Please take the Spanish placement test prior to interviewing with the instructor.

Once students have reached the linguistic command required to work at an advanced-intermediate level, they are in an ideal position to begin to explore the numerous resources that can be found on the Internet. Instrumentally, we will focus on the multiple uses of Spanish to be found in the virtual world, making use of its many possibilities such as blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other formats. We will identify the most relevant Web pages from the Spanish-speaking world, extract the adequate information, and exploit it in class jointly, making the necessary adjustments. Access to authentic sources from all over the Spanish-speaking world will give us an excellent idea of the varieties of the language used in more than 20 countries. We will explore all forms of culture, paying special attention to audiovisual resources such as interviews, documentaries, TV programs, and other formats—all of which will be incorporated into the course of study, complete or in fragments, depending on the level of difficulty. Art, film, music, photography, theatre, science, politics, comics, video games, gastronomy—all forms and manifestations of culture, high and low—will be the object of our attention, as long as the vehicle of expression is Spanish. We will minimize the use of printed matter, which will be devoted mainly to a more classical exploration of grammar. The class as a whole, as well as students on an individual basis, will be encouraged to locate different kinds of materials on the Internet. Weekly conversation sessions with the language assistants, in small groups, are required.

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First-Year Studies: New Literature from Europe

Open , FYS—Year

Perhaps more than anything else, literature defines the identity of cultures and nations. At the same time, few cultural manifestations help to bring together peoples and cultures as powerfully as literature, which gives a special significance to the fact that only three percent of the books published in the United States are translations. In a world where technology has made borders obsolete in many ways, the lack of curiosity for the great literatures of the world is an alarming symptom of North America’s cultural isolation. Starting with Latin America, all continents have an astonishing wealth of literatures. Europe is just one of them. The seat of ancient civilizations and empires that conquered the rest of the world, the Europe of today is dramatically different from what it once was. After two world wars and the collapse of formidable utopias, contemporary European reality is extraordinarily elusive and complex. Forty languages are spoken in almost as many European countries nowadays, each of them representing a vibrant body of literature. In this course, we will study the literary manifestations of the new Europe, paying special attention to her youngest authors. In our approach, we will focus on sociopolitical displacements such as the reshaping of the European identities, resulting from the influx of immigrants from all over the world, and the conflicts derived from the dream of a unity that coexists with the birth of a whole set of youthful countries that transcend the notion of nationality—ethnically, culturally, and linguistically.

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Advanced Spanish: In the Newsroom

Advanced , Seminar—Fall

By special permission only.

This course will operate on two main levels. First, it will serve as an introduction to journalism as it is practiced today throughout the Spanish-speaking world. We will closely monitor how the main Spanish-language online journals, newspapers, and blogs function on a daily basis, paying special attention to the coverage of culture and the arts. In the seminar, we will operate as a real newsroom, serving to consolidate the structure of Sobremesa, Sarah Lawrence’s Latino online journal founded two years ago and published once each semester. The implementation of this project will require a continuous collaboration among editors, staff writers, photographers, and at least one graphic designer. Students taking this class will have to produce original pieces covering all aspects of cultural information, including profiles, interviews, essays, general and specialized articles, and book, theatre, dance, and film reviews in addition to all forms of written, graphic, and audiovisual reportage. Those in charge of the different sections of the publication will contact outside collaborators, requesting original contributions. A second, extremely important aspect of this course is that it will serve as a translation workshop at a professional level. Since Sobremesa admits submissions in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, all texts must be translated in order to ensure that they can be accessed in all three languages. A section of the online magazine (Burnt Eyelashes) will be devoted to the publication of conference projects dealing with Latino topics. Conference work will be geared toward the consolidation of the skills required to maintain all areas of our publication (photography, design, translation, textual and visual editing, etc.) in perfect shape, but it will also result in the crystallization of a specific contribution to be featured in the issue that will be published at the end of the semester. A solid command of Spanish is required.

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Literature in Spanish: Contemporary Narrative Works in Spanish.

Advanced , Seminar—Fall

This seminar will focus on the narrative production of the Spanish-speaking world. In our approach, we will explore the multiple cultural and historical connections that have always linked the literary traditions of Latin America and Spain, also taking into consideration a few representative works by US Latino writers. Chronologically, the works under study will belong to two distinct phases. First, we will examine fictional works published by Spanish-language authors in recent years, paying special attention to the literary production of Latin America when the younger generations of writers began to move away from the legacy of magic realism and open up their works to preoccupations shared by coetaneous authors from all corners of the world. In a second phase, we will concentrate on major works written by some of the most important representatives of the Spanish language canon active during the second half of the 20th century. Works under study will include novels and short fiction by Roberto Bolaño, César Aira, Alejandro Zambra, Guadalupe Nettel, Felipe Alfau, Junot Díaz, Cristina Rivera Garza, Roberto Artl, Horacio Quiroga, Julio Cortázar, and Felisberto Hernández.

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