AMHERST, Ma. – “Unbe-fucking-leavable,” mumbled a clearly emotional Professor of Spanish James Maraniss Tuesday, as he made slow progress through the stack of one-paragraph responses the students in his SPAN-316 Golden Age Literature left for him in response to an open-ended question about basic plot structures in Calderón de la Barca’s infamous 1636 play El alcalde e Zalamea.
Professor Maraniss reportedly whimpered continuously for several hours in his intimate Grosvenor House office, amazed that his students had picked up on some of the more subtle elements in the work, such as the importance of nobility in shaping self-identity, the setting of the play, and the cover art.
“Obviously, they all deserve an A+,” said the almost speechless cross-listed European Studies and Spanish Department Professor.
Mariniss was especially impressed that multiple students correctly contextualized El alcalde e Zalamea in relation to the other plays produced by Calderón de la Barca in spite of the fact that many of those same students missed the three lectures devoted entirely to the subject. One group of students reportedly turned in a collaborative paragraph, which Professor Maraniss acknowledged was “especially tremendous” in its minimal number of egregious plot confusions and spelling errors.
“They are all so great,” said Marinass, collecting his thoughts after what was clearly a mentally exhausting, but rewarding, afternoon. “I’m just so fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from them, really.”