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Unit information: The Novels of Carmen Laforet in 2018/19

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Unit name The Novels of Carmen Laforet
Unit code HISP31026
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Wells
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit provides a detailed analysis of the major novels of one of Spain's most important post-war women writers Carmen Laforet. Laforet's famous first novel Nada (1944) launched her literary career and marked the beginning of the recovery of the Spanish novel following the end of the Spanish civil war. This unit examines the social, political and cultural background to Laforet's writing and, through a close reading of her major novels, it explores the themes of female development, freedom and the importance of aesthetics to her writing.

Students should read all of the set texts before commencing this unit.


  • Students will analyse the four novels in depth. They will consider the historical context in which Laforet wrote her novels and explore the major themes that present themselves across these texts. Students will be encouraged to engage critically with key questions, such as:
  • How was female artistic vocation compromised or enhanced by writing under dictatorship conditions?
  • How do the texts reflect the writer's personal life experiences and what might we gain from approaching texts through the perspective of life-writing?
  • What broader philosophical and moral issues are raised in Laforet's fiction?

Intended learning outcomes

Students on the unit will critically engage with the narrative techniques, themes and relationship between literature and life-writing across the key texts.

Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of the life and work of one of twentieth-century Spain's most important female writers.

Students will be encouraged to present their views (about the texts and relevant debates on life- writing) orally to the class in a concise and coherent form and they will work on developing their essay writing skills - namely the ability to present a clear, well-argued, well-structured and well-researched piece of written work.

Teaching details

Two seminar hours per week across one teaching block (22 contact hours).

Assessment Details

5000 word essay (100%)

Reading and References

  • Carmen Laforet, Nada (1945)
  • Carmen Laforet, La isla y los demonios (1952)
  • Carmen Laforet, La mujer nueva (1955)
  • Carmen Laforet, La insolación (1963)