SPAN 329

Literature and the Other Arts:

[Music, Painting, Dance, Film and Architecture]

Rei Berroa

Office: 215 E Thompson Hall

Fall 1999

T&R: 12:00-13:00 / or by appoint


Tel.: (703) 993-1241


Mainly intended as an exercise in Comparative Aesthetics, this course is designed to open students' curiosity for the relationship between literature and the other arts in Spain: Music, painting, dance, film and architecture. It focuses on the main cultural currents that contributed to the creation of the peculiar Spanish culture (Romanesque, Visigothic, Moorish, Renaissance, Romantic, Modernist, etc) and how it affects literature and society. Special attention will be devoted to the cancioneros and romanceros, the history of the guitar (with its popular and classical appeal), the zarzuela, and the nationalist school represented by Granados, Albéniz, Falla (in music), Juan Ruiz, Cervantes, García Lorca and Alberti (in literature), Antonio and Manresa (in dance), Buñuel and Saura (in film), and Gaudí (in architecture).

More than an intellectual reflection on the text through which students and professor search for paths to discover the truth of verbal art, our weekly exercises will be different perspectives to experience art in just a few of its modalities. Some times our perspective might be musical or poetic, other times it might be pictorial or dance-like, even perhaps architectural. But we must always have our senses open, alert to leave aside the intellectual and manage to bring forth the world of our intuitions. Somewhat peripathetic, these weekly tertulias sould help us forge a new academic awareness, very different, indeed, from the one we normally experience in the classroom.


Since there is no single book that deals directly with this subject, I had chosen two books to help us with this new awareness. Students are expected to use their notes and the instructor's guidance for further reading and research and to prepare for their exams. A selection of books, photocopies, recordings will be at the reserve desk in the library for this purpose. But the best text is our own intuition, our conciencia artística. The different periods or artists we will explore, will be but stages toward this awareness, new pages we will try to fill with our nascent wisdom. One thing is certain, though: we must read incessantly because aesthetic receptiveness does not come from nowhere. The books I have chosen as required texts are:
Ann Livermore, A Short History of Spanish Music.  London: Duckworth, 1972
Gilbert Chase, The Music of Spain. New York: Dover, 1959
Federico García Lorca, Three Tragedies.  New York: New Directions, 1955.
The first and the third books are already in the bookstore.  The second is reserved at the Johnson Center  Library (no more than two hours per person, so that everyone has access to the books). I also placed a copy of Livermore's book on reserve.
Not part of our textbooks, but recommended if you can find it and read Spanish:  Adolfo Salazar, La música en la sociedad europea. 3. Madrid: Alianza, 1983.

There is not a "history of painting" and its relationship with literature. Two texts were announced for this summer, but their publication has been postponed.  One older text whose validity is still intact, is the work of Etienne Souriau, La correspondence des arts [Paris: Flammarion, 1947],  in which he studies our subject applied to French artists.  We still don't have this work applied to Spanish art in general, so we have to be pleased with three texts that offer specific perspectives to painting and writing:

Estele Irizarri, Writers Painters of Contemporary Spain. Boston: Twayne, 1984.

Jacques Lassaigne, Spanish Painting. From Velázquez to Picasso. Geneva: Skira, 1952.

Judith B. Sobré, Behind the Altar Table. The Painted Retable in Spain from 1350 to 1500. Columbia [MS]: University of Missouri Press, 1989.

In the field of literature there are many anthologies. Although we will draw constantly from the poetic perspective to view everything, we will use only the text by Lorca as our primary source of reading and discussion.

In architecture, our main seeds will be harvested at the works of Gaudí, although we will also look at Herrera, Sert, Machuca and Calatrava.

In film and dance our primary sources will be Buñuel and Saura, on the one hand, and Antonio, José Greco, and Manresa, on the other.


Click here for the Bibliography on the subject

Real Monasterio y Biblioteca de San Lorenzo de El  Escorial

Reading of texts, weekly discussion of assignments, a midterm (administered October 26), and a final exam (Tuesday, December 14 at 16:30). Student's own experiment in interrelating the arts will be shown in a 3000-word (10-12 page) final paper due the day of the final exam.


We have 14 classes. If we follow the program properly, we could have these lectures in this order (the reading, listening or viewing assignments are indicated after the lecture):
1-From Altamira to the jarchas: Mozarabic Spain.
Readings:   Livermore:  Chapters I & II: "Early Spanish Music" [pp 1-23] and "Music of Muslim Spain and the Northern Kingdoms" [pp 24-39].  Chase: Chapter I: "Saints, Caliphs, and Kings" [pp. 19-35].  See also the section "Up to XII Century" in the bibliography.
Visit some sites on the subject, especially Altamira
2- Alfonso X el Sabio and the Cantigas
Readings: See in the bibliography Dronke (The Medieval Lyric), Keller (Alfonso X, El Sabio) and  Jackson (The Interpretation of Medieval Lyric Poetry).  John Esten Keller  and Annette G. Cash, Daily life depicted in the Cantigas de Santa Maria. Lexington [KY]: University Press of Kentucky, 1998.   Connie L. Scarborough, Women in thirteenth-century Spain as portrayed in Alfonso X's Cantigas de  Santa Maria. Lewiston [N.Y.]: E. Mellen Press, 1993.
Recordings: There are four excellent CDs of the Cantigas de Santa Maria at the JC library:   Cantigas de Santa Maria Strela do dia  [M1999.A643 C3];   Las Cantigas de Santa Maria: medieval music and verse in the court of  Alfonso X, el Sabio  [M1999.A4 C3];   Las Cantigas de Santa Maria  [M1999.A4 C3 1970];   For no good reason at all: a fusion of  Medieval- Renaissance and traditional American music [M1627.H48 F6 1991].  You must listen to at least three cantigas, study their literary and musical themes, and be ready to bring your findings to class.
In some of the reviews of this music, you will also find pictorial depictions of the cantigas from the manuscript at El Escorial or the ones prepared by Julián Ribera.  For some of them, check The Flying Inkpot Review. The most complete discography on the cantigas has been prepared by medievalist Pierre-F. Roberge.  See also: Camino de Santiago (visit the cities and the people along the Camino),  goliards, Berceo'sMilagros and Juan Ruiz's Libro de Buen amor. [Click here for Juan Ruiz's bio-bibliography.]
3- Music and poetry at the court of Fernando and Isabel: 1492
Juan del Encina and the poet-composers of the Cancionero musical de Palacio.  [Listen to any of the recordings we have at the  JC with works from the Juan del Encina's collection]. Check a collection of villancicos

The guitarthe lute (in painting), the vihuela.

Painters of the period at El Prado Museum: Bosch, Mantegna, del Sarto,Van der Weyden, Botticelli, Durer, Berruguete, father.

Sculpture in the XV-XVI century [See Berruguete, son].

Readings: Livermore,  chapter III: "Music of the Restoration and the Hapsburg Expansion" [pp. 48-91]; Chase, chapter II: "Secular Songs of the Renaissance" [pp. 36-63].

4- The many worlds of the Romancero
Readings are the same as in lecture 3.
5- Poets, painters and musicians in the Spanish Renaissance.
Readings: Chase, chapters IV & V [pp. 64- 89].
See sonnets in Spanish and English
6- The Baroque: Cervantes, Velázquez, Herrera.
Readings: Livermore, chapter IV [pp. 92-108];  Chase, chapter VI [pp.90-105]
Find two texts of great philosophical value to interpret both Velázquez and Cervantes in Foucault's The Order of  Things [chapter I: "Las meninas" and chapter III: "Representing"]
7- A- The zarzuela: theater in dance and song.
     Readings: Chase, chapters VIII & IX [pp. 121-150]
    B- Goya: Enlightenment in search of a man.
       Visit museums that have Goya's work and check articles on his work in the Artcyclopedia
8- The Romantic century: The guitar comes of age
9- The poetry of form: Gaudí and the Modernists.
10- The escuela nacionalista: Albéniz, Granados and Falla.
Readings:  Chase, chapters X and XII [pp. 150-165; 182-197]; 
                   Livermore, chapter VII [pp. 179-218]
11- Picasso deconstructs painting
12- The Spanish Surrealism: Dalí, Buñuel, Lorca.
13- García Lorca: poet, painter and musician
     A- Blood Wedding [Read the play in Three Tragedies.  See the movie by Saura & Antonio]
     B- Yerma, Bernarda Alba [Read plays in textbook]
      See above for bibliography on Lorca.