Spanish Golden Age Texts in the Twenty-First Century

Teaching the Old Through the New

by Idoya Puig (Volume editor) Karl McLaughlin (Volume editor)
©2019 Edited Collection XIV, 262 Pages
Series: Spanish Golden Age Studies, Volume 1


The growing challenges posed by the teaching of early modern texts to generations less accustomed to reading and analysing literature makes the need to present these texts in creative and attractive forms all the more pressing. Cervantes, Lope, Calderón, Quevedo and Góngora risk being consigned to the past in many centres of learning if they are not made more accessible to today’s learners.
At the same time, new pedagogical methods based on technologies and multiliteracies afford renewed opportunities to open up these classic texts to higher education students and to the wider public. Learners can be encouraged to engage with key works using a variety of means, including visual media, music and appropriate contextual parallels.
The present volume addresses these concerns and opportunities by assembling pedagogical expertise and good practice to facilitate the task of teaching older texts through new methodologies. It brings together Golden Age scholars from the UK, Spain and the US, who offer different perspectives and approaches drawn from their respective academic contexts. As the volume demonstrates, common concerns clearly exist but so too does the strong belief that there is much to be shared in terms of innovative ideas and practical applications for teaching the great classics of Spain’s Golden Age and helping them retain the place they deservedly occupy in Spanish Studies.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Part I Setting the context
  • 1 Why Golden Age? (Jeremy Lawrance)
  • 2 The Golden Age in the Hispanic Studies classroom: The changing shape of what we teach our undergraduates in the UK (Stuart Davis)
  • Part II Teaching the old through the new
  • 3 El estudio del mundo literario de la España del siglo diecisiete desde la ficción televisiva del siglo ventiuno: autores, obras y contexto presentes en El Ministerio del Tiempo (Almudena García González)
  • 4 What 50 Cent can teach us about Quevedo: The case for using analogy and video clips (Ted Bergman)
  • 5 The next best thing?: Introducing Don Quijote as a graphic novel (Collin McKinney)
  • 6 Teaching literature and language using a multiliteracies framework: Exploring intercultural skills with Cervantes’s La española inglesa (Idoya Puig)
  • 7 Technologically assisted translational activity: An approach to teaching Spanish Golden Age literature (Jules Whicker)
  • Part III Teaching poetry
  • 8 Meaningful parallels for students: Golden Age poetic production as examples of talent shows and celebrity spats (Karl McLaughlin)
  • 9 Golden Age ‘diss tracks’: Teaching Baroque poetry and polemic through rap (Antonio Carreño-Rodríguez)
  • 10 La poesía clásica a través de canciones actuales (Rubén Cristóbal Hornillos)
  • Part IV Teaching theatre
  • 11 El proyecto de innovación docente TAAULA. El teatro áureo en el aula de Filología (Aroa Algaba Granero / Sara Sánchez-Hernández)
  • 12 Escenas para el aula de E/LE: el personaje femenino en el teatro del Siglo de Oro (Gema Cienfuegos Antelo)
  • 13 The pedagogic potential (and limitations) of cinematic adaptations (Duncan Wheeler)
  • Notes on contributors
  • Index
  • Series Index

← viii | ix →


Figure 5.1.Don Quijote recovers at home (Davis, The Complete Don Quixote, 25)
Figure 5.2.Alonso Quijano and his grandson come upon the windmills (Flix, Don Quijote, 95)
Figure 5.3.Maritornes, ‘La criada malencarada de cuerpo gallardo’ (Davis, The Complete Don Quixote, 63)
Figure 5.4.Don Quijote drinks the ‘bálsamo de Fierabrás’ (Davis, The Complete Don Quixote, 78)
Figure 5.5.Title page (Davis, The Complete Don Quixote, 5)
Figure 5.6.Tale of the ‘Curioso impertinente’ (Davis, The Complete Don Quixote, 124)
Figura 10.1.Portada ilustrativa del material didáctico. Fuente: elaboración propia
Figura 10.2.Índice de la propuesta didáctica. Fuente: elaboración propia
Figura 10.3.Secuenciación de una unidad didáctica. Fuente: elaboración propia
Figura 10.4.Comienzo de la unidad 8 con los textos encarados. Fuente: elaboración propia
Figura 10.5.Comienzo de la unidad 15 con los textos encarados. Fuente: elaboración propia

← ix | x →

← x | xi →


Table 2.1.Authors and directors taught in at least 25 per cent of surveyed departments in 2015–16 data collection
Table 2.2.Texts taught in at least 20 per cent of surveyed departments in 2015–16 data collection
Table 2.3.Golden Age authors or anonymous texts taught in at least 13 per cent of surveyed departments in 2015–16 data collection
Table 2.4.Golden Age texts taught in at least 35 per cent of surveyed departments in 2015–16 data collection
Table 2.5.Authors taught in at least 10 per cent of surveyed departments in at least one of the three data collections
Table 2.6.Texts taught in at least 10 per cent of surveyed departments in at least one of the three data collections
Table 2.7.The presence of Golden Age material in each data collection
Tabla 11.1.Recursos empleados en TAAULA
Tabla 11.2.Asignaturas de TAAULA
Tabla 11.3.Temario de la asignatura
Tabla 11.4.Grupos de trabajo
Tabla 11.5.Preguntas y resultados de la encuesta
Tabla 11.6.Preguntas y resultados de la encuesta

← xi | xii →

← xii | xiii →


This book would not have been possible without the help and support of numerous individuals and institutions, whom the editors would like to acknowledge here. Firstly, to Peter Lang Publishing, in particular series editor Duncan Wheeler, for their receptiveness to our initial proposal to explore innovative pedagogical practices in Golden Age Studies across several countries, as well as for their constant encouragement and advice during the past year as this volume was put together. We are indebted to the Department of Languages, Linguistics and TESOL at Manchester Metropolitan University, particularly its head, Derek Bousfield, for the financial and other support provided both for this publication and for the earlier academic events from which it emanated. Carmen Herrero, head of Spanish, deserves our gratitude for the understanding and flexibility that allowed us the time to produce the manuscript. We would also like to express our appreciation to Helen Darby and staff at Research in Art and the Humanities (RAH!) at the university for their long-standing support. We are grateful to the Instituto Cervantes in Manchester for the assistance provided for the symposium that led to this volume and to Margaret Vaudrey for her invaluable contribution to the editing process. Finally, our heartfelt gratitude goes to all the authors, particularly Jeremy Lawrance, who answered our call for papers and demonstrated an inspirational willingness to contribute their expertise and enthusiasm to the project. ← xiii | xiv →

← xiv | 1 →


Few would dispute that the Golden Age represented the high point of Spain’s cultural flowering, an unprecedented demonstration of a nation’s talent in prose fiction, poetry and theatre. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries spawned a plethora of innovative and creative literary minds that placed Spain on the global literary map. For that very reason, the study of literature, not just Spanish but world, would be incomplete without reference to authors of the stature of Cervantes, Quevedo, Calderón or Lope de Vega, just as it would be inconceivable without mention of Shakespeare. This height of achievement has been rightly reflected down the years in the presence of many canonical Golden Age authors on university and pre-university Spanish courses worldwide.

However, changing interests and contexts in education have caused this prominent presence to wane notably in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States. Spain enjoys a more fortunate position in that the aforementioned canonical writers continue to feature very visibly on the curriculum at secondary and tertiary level. However, as will become apparent in this volume, this does not mean that teachers in Spain do not share the growing concern voiced by their international colleagues at the disappearance of Golden Age from the curriculum for reasons ranging from the perceived difficulty of the texts of the period to the greater demand for (and, in some cases, imposition of) less specialized teaching in many higher education institutions.

Even if the precise motives underlying the decline have still to be fully established, there is clear agreement that the Golden Age – as an invaluable manifestation of Spanish culture and history – must continue to be stu­died. In the light of the rapid decline in the number of universities offering specialist modules in the period, it is becoming increasingly obvious that new approaches are required to preserve or rekindle interest in topics which many of today’s learners, products perhaps of a results-oriented and surface (as opposed to a deep) learning culture, consider outmoded and of little relevance to their needs and interests. ← 1 | 2 →

These and similar concerns prompted the co-editors of the present volume to organize an event which, although they did not know it at the time, was to prove the more immediate genesis of the collection of papers included here. Among the commemorations held in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare, Karl McLaughlin and Idoya Puig organized a celebration at Manchester Metropolitan University to bring together students from the university’s Languages Department and its renowned School of Theatre. ‘Tilting at Windmills: Cervantes “meets” Shakespeare 400 years on’ consisted of readings of Cervantes by undergraduate students of Spanish from various years, followed by performances by drama students of excerpts from some of Shakespeare’s best-known plays. It concluded with a dramatized fictional meeting between the two writers, who engaged in a humorous philosophical reflection on their world, one that – as it turned out – was not too dissimilar to that of today in terms of its pressing issues, including the state of universities, Britain’s place in Europe, and immigration.

The success of the event exceeded all expectations and the organizers subsequently discovered, to their great satisfaction, that one parent had taken to reading Don Quijote in full after seeing his relatively shy daughter blossom as she delivered an inspirational reading of a lengthy passage in Spanish to a packed audience. The overwhelmingly positive outcome led to an invitation to repeat the unusual commemoration for the general public at Manchester Central Library. The success was particularly gratifying given that, as occurs in many universities today, neither of the two organizers – holders of PhDs on this period of Spanish literature – teaches their subject on programmes which focus largely on twentieth-century culture and the use of film. Both have observed with concern the progressive disappearance of literature courses in favour of content perceived to be more popular with, and accessible to, present-day students.

Almost exactly one year later, in April 2017, as part of the annual Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland (AHGBI) conference in Cardiff, Stuart Davis organized a panel entitled ‘From Canon to Cultural Studies?: Hispanic Literature and Film in UK Spanish Degrees’, which reviewed current trends in the teaching of canonical texts in universities. Although the scope of the panel covered literature in the broad sense, ← 2 | 3 → the responses confirmed growing fears for the fate of Golden Age texts in university teaching and prompted the co-editors of this volume to organize a one-day symposium in the spring of 2018 at Manchester Metropolitan University. The aim of the symposium was to bring together academics to examine the current state of Golden Age teaching and provide a platform to share good practice and explore creative approaches in order to ensure the continued presence of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish authors in the classroom.

It was immediately apparent from the papers and the ensuing debates at the symposium, which attracted participants from the United Kingdom, Spain and the United States, that it was not just a similar problem that was shared across different countries: equally importantly, there was a shared willingness to address, as a matter of some urgency, the protection, preservation and transmission of the literary classics of the Spanish Golden Age, along with lesser-known works and authors of the period. Broad consensus existed among contributors that the opportunity should be seized to reima­gine the teaching of these texts in ways that would complement rather than replace traditional approaches. Ways that would speak creatively to students and enable them to access literary content for which they feel little or no affinity. In an ideal educational world, students – precisely because they are students – would possess the requisite intrinsic motivation to want to learn as much as possible, in their original format, about the writings of authors whose ideas helped shape Spanish literary culture. However, there is no escaping the fact that, to borrow and adapt Friedrich Schleiermacher’s much-quoted statement on the dilemma faced by translators, teachers of Golden Age literature often have little choice but to ‘move’ the author towards the student, in this case adapting context and content to facilitate understan­ding by learners for whom such works prove highly challenging in terms of language and cultural relevance.


XIV, 262
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2019 (November)
approaches to teaching golden age texts teaching spanish texts Spanish Golden Age
: Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2019. XIV, 262 pp., 11 fig. b/w, 13 tables

Biographical notes

Idoya Puig (Volume editor) Karl McLaughlin (Volume editor)

Idoya Puig is Senior Lecturer in Spanish at Manchester Metropolitan University. She holds a PhD in Cervantes and the Novelas ejemplares from Westfield College, University of London. She has published a number of articles on Cervantes and sixteenth-century Spanish culture and society and is editor of Tradition and Modernity: Cervantes’s Presence in Spanish Contemporary Literature (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009). She is currently exploring ways to harness new media to teach literary classics and to bring literature back into the language class successfully. Karl McLaughlin is Senior Lecturer in Spanish Translation and Interpreting at Manchester Metropolitan University. He holds a PhD in Golden Age literature and is the co-author of a modern edition of the poetry of Catalina Clara Ramírez de Guzmán (1618–c.1684). He has also published various recent articles on the work of this little-known author from Extremadura.


Title: Spanish Golden Age Texts in the Twenty-First Century
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