The Generation of 1898: Imagining Spain (MLS1021)

StaffDr Guillem Colom-Montero - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesA Level Spanish
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module introduces students to the writing of the 'Generation of 1898' by studying examples of its best-known work in the short prose essays and narratives of Castilla and the verse of Campos de Castilla. It will focus on the historical and intellectual context of Spain’s loss of Empire in 1898, its perceived relegation to minor international status, and on the subsequent process of cultural reflection and revision that was aimed at reinventing the nation in imaginative terms. We shall probe the writers’ ways of imagining, representing and reconfiguring Spain, its landscape and its cultural, political and social history in a search for purpose and meaning, asking questions about how those writers respond to their historical surroundings, how they show Spain’s landscape to be deeply impregnated with a sense of the country’s past, and what they feel they can extract from national tradition to create a dynamic future. The module will be especially concerned with how Azorín and Machado create imaginative representations of Spain’s historical heartland of Castile, and how historic cities like León, Burgos, Toledo and Soria acquire and project intimate meaning on both a personal and a collective level.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a sound general understanding of the chosen texts and their context in Spanish cultural history

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 2. With some guidance from the course tutor, evaluate and apply a range of critical approaches to the material covered.
  • 3. Mount a detailed argument in the appropriate register of English, mustering a range of textual or other evidence in its support.
  • 4. Understand and use, in written and oral contexts, a range of critical terms.
  • 5. Use recommended reference works to compile a bibliography, within given parameters (chronological, thematic, etc) on a specified topic
  • 6. Show awareness of the origins and nature of cultural differences.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Undertake defined learning activities with a measure of autonomy, asking for guidance where necessary.
  • 8. Adopt a critical approach to the selection and organisation of material in order to produce, to a deadline, a written or oral argument.
  • 9. Present information and arguments on a defined topic to a group of listeners.
  • 10. Present a cogent and sustained argument on a topic chosen from a range of options provided, following broad guidelines but selecting and adapting them as required
  • 11. Using course material provided, research, plan and write an essay on a chosen aspect of the subject, to a specified length and deadline
  • 12. Contribute to a group presentation
  • 13. Demonstrate general competence in word-processing and in use of the Internet

Syllabus plan

Lectures (two separate hours each week) will focus on the following:

  •     Week 1: Introduction to the ‘Generation of 1898’

  •     Week 2: Spanish townscapes in Castilla and their historical meaning.

  •     Week 3: Spanish literary tradition in Castilla

  •     Week 4: Machado’s landscapes in Campos de Castilla

  •     Week 5: The theme of time in Campos de Castilla.

 Seminars (one hour each week) will deal with the following issues:

  •     Week 7: Castilla: Social Change and its meaning for Spai

  •     Week 8: Castilla: Parables for a generation

  •     Week 9: Campos de Castilla: The Meaning of Soria

  •     Week 10: Campos de Castilla: Personal loss and grief for Spain

  •     Week 11: Reinventing Spain and Spanishness

  •     Week 12: Revision

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Seminars
Guided independant study134Private study time

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation plan750 words1,2,3,4,6,7In class and individually

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002500 words1,2,4,5,7Feedback sheet and personal appointment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
as above

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


Azorín, Castilla, ed. Inman Fox(Madrid: Espasa-Calpe)


Inman Fox, E,  La crisis intelectual del 98 (Madrid: Cuadernos para el diálogo, 1976)


Machado, Antonio, Campos de Castilla, ed. Geoffrey Ribbans (Madrid: Cátedra)


Shaw, Donald L.  The Generation of 1898 in Spain (London: Benn, 1975)


Terry, Arthur, Critical Guide to Campos de Castilla


Unamuno, En torno al casticismo (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe)

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