Boom Literature: Language and Creation

Module code: SP3134
Module co-ordinatorDr Sheldon Penn

Module Aims

In this module, you will study some of the major authors of the ‘Boom’ and pre-‘Boom’ period of Latin American literature from the 1940s to the 1960s. In particular, we will look at ways in which these texts demonstrate the authors’ desire to find a new literary language and to explore the relationship between the text and the concrete world. Close consideration will be given to the ways in which these texts explore language both as a creative force in a philosophical/mystical context, and as a shaper of identity within a socio-historical context.

Module Outcomes

By the end of this module you will have gained an understanding of the themes of the works studied and be able to relate them to the wider context of the ‘Boom’ literature movement. You will also understand how these texts function in relation to the reader and to their wider social and historical contexts. Your skills of textual close reading and presentational delivery will also be extended.


  • 5 hours of lectures
  • 15 hours of seminars
  • 5 hours of tutorials
  • 125 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, 2,500-3,000 words (60%)
  • Presentation (10%)
  • Exam, 90 minutes (30%)

Texts for study

  • Carlos Fuentes: Aura
  • Jorge Luis Borges: El Aleph
  • Rosario Castellanos: Balún Canán
  • Gabriel García Márquez: Cien años de soledad