Barcelona, A City of Novels

Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo - Barcelona

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Barcelona, A City of Novels

  • Host University

    Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo - Barcelona

  • Location

    Barcelona, Spain

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, Literature, Spanish

  • Language Level


    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Barcelona has been the scene chosen to place their novels by many authors who write in Spanish. In some works, the city gains such an importance that it even becomes another character of the story.  Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s saga of books, starred by Pepe Carvalho, are a clear example of that. On other occasions, writers have taken advantage of the opportunity to portray different historical periods, taking into account the city of Barcelona. Ildefonso Falcones describes the prosperous Barcelona of the 14th century in La catedral del mar. A famous passage from Don Quijote takes place in 17th century Barcelona:  Alonso Quijano sees the sea in Barcelona for the first time in his life and, after being defeated by the Knight of the White Moon, recovers his sanity. Following in the footsteps of the main character of Nada, by Carmen Laforet, one experiences the atmosphere of asphyxiation and claustrophobia of the Spanish post-civil war period, in an apartment on a street in the city centre. Barcelona and its different neighbourhoods have been the landscape that has welcomed the narrative plots of authors born in Barcelona, such as Juan Marsé or Eduardo Mendoza, but also of Latin American writers such as Mario Vargas Llosa or Gabriel García Márquez who have spent long periods in the city, due to Barcelona’s active publishing industry, among other reasons. 

    The aim of this course is to draw up a journey through the history of Spanish narrative taking the city of Barcelona as a thematic reference. The syllabus of the course will address the main works whose storylines develop in Barcelona, their authors and the literary schools and movements to which they belong.  One of the main strengths of the course is that the literary fragments read will come along with routes or urban walks. During these walks, the students will be able to associate specific places with novels and authors who at one time or another decided to include the city in their literary universe. 

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.


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