SPAN40310 Surrealism in Spain

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module traces the chronological and geographical evolution of Surrealism in the Spanish-speaking world in painting, poetry and film. Focusing on key figures of the 1927 Generation in Spain and three artists who played key roles in ‘post-Surrealism’, or the evolution of the movement in Mexico in the 1940s, this module investigates how Surrealism provided the perfect vehicle for artists and poets to fashion their own image; to paint and write a Surrealist self. The layout of the module mimics the evolution of Surrealism as the movement was initially dominated by male voices until more women became involved in the 1930s and 40s. The module begins by asking how male artists interrogated their gender identities through the Surrealist aesthetic, before turning to questions of female identity and self-representation. Students will study works by Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington and Frida Kahlo.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
o Identify Surrealist imagery in painting, poetry and film
o Relate key images and texts to their wider historical context
o Analyse and interpret a painting or a piece of text
o Understand and explain the correlation between visual and textual imagery that characterised the Surrealist movement
o Understand and expand on the key concepts of self-fashioning and gender identity
o Create a substantial bibliography on a relevant aspect of the topic
o Argue in detail and at length about an aspect of the topic, based on independent research

Indicative Module Content:

Works Studied:
Luís Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, Un Chien Andalou (1929); L'Age D'Or (1930); Luís Buñuel El ángel exterminador (1962)
Federico García Lorca, Poemas en prosa (1927-28)
[Poems studied in order: ‘Santa Lucía y San Lázaro’, ‘Nadadora sumergida’, ‘Degollación del bautista’, ‘Amantes asesinados por una perdiz’, ‘Suicidio en Alejandría’.]
Rafael Alberti, Sermones y moradas (1929-30)
Selected works by the following artists:
Salvador Dalí
Leonora Carrington
Remedios Varo
Frida Kahlo

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The classes comprise of a lecture/tutorial hybrid as the first weeks are spent introducing students to the conceptual framework of Surrealism before interactive analytical activities can take place. Students are encouraged to analyse paintings, film and poetry in small group settings and in larger class discussion.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: End of trimester essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: Critical commentary on a painting Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Critical commentary on a poem Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will engage in peer feedback activities of critical commentary before the first summative critical commentary assessment. They will receive written feedback on the critical commentaries which will help them to prepare for the final essay.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 13:00 - 13:50