The North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures supports and disseminates scholarship in the Romance literatures. The more than 300 works in the series treat a multitude of topics on French, Italian, Luso-Brazilian, Portuguese, and Spanish literatures. Our books have explored literary movements, individual authors and works, themes, figures of speech and thought, archetypes, poetics, and, on occasion, editions of unpublished literary works.

Recent Publications

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Narrating Desire

Narrating Desire. Moral Consolation and Sentimental Fiction in Fifteenth-Century Spain

By Sol Miguel-Prendes

Narrating Desire: Moral Consolation and Sentimental Fiction in Fifteenth-Century Spain proposes a new taxonomy and conceptual frame for the controversial Iberian genre of sentimental fiction. It traces its origin to late-medieval education in rhetoric, philosophy, and medicine as the foundation for virtuous living. In establishing the genre’s boundaries and cultural underpinnings, Narrating Desire emphasizes the crucial link between Eastern and Western Iberian sentimental traditions, and offers close readings of a vast array of Catalan and Castilian fictions, translations, narrative poems, letters, and doctrinal treatises: the Catalan translations of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, Santillana’s El sueño, Bernat Metge’s Lo somni, Romeu Llull’s Lo despropiament d’amor, Pedro Moner’s La noche and L’anima d’Oliver, Rodríguez del Padrón’s Siervo libre de amor, Carrós Pardo de la Casta’s Regoneixença, Roís de Corella’s Parlament and Tragèdia de Caldesa, Pedro de Portugal’s Sátira, Francesc Alegre’s Somni and Raonament, Pere Torroella’s correspondence, and the well-known works by Diego de San Pedro (Arnalte y Lucenda; Cárcel de Amor) and Juan de Flores (Grisel y Mirabella; Grimalte y Gradissa) among others. From them, Miguel-Prendes singles out a group of dream visions whose interpretive and compositional practices sire the sentimental genre. Social interactions lead to either a consolatory or a sentimental form, which imply very different ways of seeing: the allegorical gaze of consolation gives way to narrative fiction. In distorting moral conversion, the sentimental genre heralds the novel.

Orientaciones transpací­ficas

Orientaciones transpacíficas. La modernidad mexicana y el espectro de Asia

By Laura J. Torres-Rodríguez

Orientaciones transpacíficas is a wide-ranging study that presents a cross-temporal examination of the discernible orientation toward East and South Asia that pervades the work of well-known intellectual and artistic Mexican figures. It goes from the later years of the regime of Porfirio Díaz in the 1900s to the cultural imaginaries of nationalism in the 1920s, and from the Cold War to the global spread of neoliberalism at the turn of the new century. Understanding Orientalism as a form of situated and historical orientation grounded in Mexico’s own (post)colonial formation, the book argues that, although after its independence Mexico’s important commercial connection with the Asian continent became attenuated, East and South Asia continued to be a crucial point of reference for Mexico to assert global centrality and to anchor discourses of cultural singularity or political exception.

By tracing the intellectual turn to Asia in José Juan Tablada’s travel narratives and art essays, Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s photography landscapes, José Vasconcelos’s writing about mestizaje and in his literacy campaigns, Roger Bartra’s Marxist political economy writings, Rafael Bernal’s hard-boiled novel, Marcela Rodríguez and Mario Bellatin’s musical composition in Ciudad Juárez, and Shinpei Takeda’s art installations in Tijuana, the book recasts the colonial emphasis on a transatlantic relationship with Europe and displays a transpacific and planetary imagination–eschewing the Atlantic dialectic between ex-colony and metropole–that defined Mexican conceptualizations of literary and cultural modernity. Thus, Orientaciones transpacíficas shows that Mexican orientalism played an instrumental (though often unremarked) role in the cultural definitions that became fundamental to the field of Mexican and Latin American Studies, such as the notion of hybrid modernity (in racial, aesthetic, economic, or temporal terms).

Home Away from Home: Immigrant Narratives, Domesticity, and Coloniality in Contemporary Spanish Culture

By N. Michelle Murray

Home Away from Home: Immigrant Narratives, Domesticity, and Coloniality in Contemporary Spanish Culture examines ideological, emotional, economic, and cultural phenomena brought about by migration through readings of works of literature and film featuring domestic workers. In the past thirty years, Spain has experienced a massive increase in immigration. Since the 1990s, immigrants have been increasingly female, as bilateral trade agreements, migration quotas, and immigration policies between Spain and its former colonies (including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, and the Philippines) have created jobs for foreign women in the domestic service sector. These migrations reveal that colonial histories continue to be structuring elements of Spanish national culture, even in a democratic era in which its former colonies are now independent. Migration has also transformed the demographic composition of Spain and has created complex new social relations around the axes of gender, race, and nationality. Representations of migrant domestic workers provide critical responses to immigration and its feminization, alongside profound engagements with how the Spanish nation has changed since the end of the Franco era in 1975. Throughout Home Away from Home, readings of works of literature and film show that texts concerning the transnational nature of domestic work uniquely provide a nuanced account of the cultural shifts occurring in late twentieth- through twenty-first-century Spain.

La abolición del tormento. El inédito Discurso sobre la injusticia del apremio judicial (c. 1795), de Pedro García del CañueloLa abolición del tormento

By José Manuel Pereiro Otero

The abolition of judicial torture—alongside the eradication of both slavery and capital punishment—was one of the most consequential issues debated in eighteenth-century continental Europe. A revealing component of this controversial debate was presented in the unpublished “Discurso sobre la injusticia del apremio judicial,” written by the attorney Pedro García del Cañuelo. Seeking support for its publication, he forwarded the manuscript to Prime Minister Manuel Godoy in 1795. The savvy Spanish politician, however, not only rejected the text but also warned its author against further discussing the issues raised in his treatise. As a result, although its title was known, the essay was lost to history.

The current volume, La abolición del tormento, analyzes, transcribes, and reproduces the complete “Discurso” while framing its proposals within the European debate regarding the abolition of torture and the prohibition of other methods of mental and physical coercion allowed by diverse tribunals. The monograph additionally considers the extent of the controversy associated with torture in Spain as it provides biographical information on García del Cañuelo and examines the philosophical and juridical foundations related to this atrocious practice, one which produced one of the fiercest exchanges of the Enlightenment. The aforementioned dispute reflects the political tensions of an era because a discussion on the legality of torture involves a consideration of what constitutes a human being, what is the relationship between legality and justice, and what are the limits of lawful power in relation to the natural rights and the intrinsic value of the individual. Thoroughly documented, this study should be of particular interest to those concerned with intellectual processes and practices during the modern era, not only in Spain, but throughout the Western world as a whole.

Los espíritus de la ciencia ficciónLos espíritus de la ciencia ficción. Espiritismo, periodismo y cultura popular en las novelas de Eduardo Holmberg, Francisco Miralles y Pedro Castera

By Luis C. Cano

This book examines the development of Latin American science fiction from the mid-nineteenth century until the early days of Modernsmo via an in-depth discussion of the first three novels published in Spanish America: Viaje maravilloso del señor Nic-Nac al planeta Marte by Argentinian writer Eduardo Ladislao Holmberg, Desde Júpiter by the Chilean Francisco Miralles, and Querens by Pedro Castera from Mexico. These three novels incorporate all the attributes that consistently appear in a science fiction work through a blend of Darwinism and Spiritism, the two most dominant and widely-debated scientific discourses of their time. Consistent with the social and political interests in the recently independent Latin American nations, the three writers address scientific, aesthetic, intellectual and personal beliefs through a combination of utopian optimism and dystopian pragmatism.



Fashioned Texts and Painted BooksFashioned Texts and Painted Books. Nineteenth-Century French Fan Poetry

By Erin E. Edgington

Fashioned Texts and Painted Books examines the folding fan’s multiple roles in fin-de-siècle and early twentieth-century French literature. Focusing on the fan’s identity as a symbol of feminine sexuality, as a collectible art object, and, especially, as an alternative book form well suited to the reception of poetic texts, the study highlights the fan’s suitability as a substrate for verse, deriving from its myriad associations with coquetry and sex, flight, air, and breath. Close readings of Stéphane Mallarmé’s éventails of the 1880s and 1890s and Paul Claudel’s Cent phrases pour éventails (1927) consider both text and paratext as they underscore the significant visual interest of this poetry.

Works in prose and in verse by Octave Uzanne, Guy de Maupassant, and Marcel Proust, along with fan leaves by Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, and Paul Gauguin, serve as points of comparison that deepen our understanding of the complex interplay of text and image that characterizes this occasional subgenre. Through its interrogation of the correspondences between form and content in fan poetry, this study demonstrates that the fan was, in addition to being a ubiquitous fashion accessory, a significant literary and art historical object straddling the boundary between East and West, past and present, and high and low art.


Mujeres en tránsitoMujeres en tránsito. Viaje, identidad y escritura en Sudamérica (1830-1910)

By Vanesa Miseres

Winner of the Premio Roggiano para la Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana 2018, awarded by the Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana (IILI).

Mujeres en tránsito examines in detail the insightful accounts of four prominent female writers who traveled to and from Latin America in the nineteenth century: the French Peruvian socialist and activist Flora Tristan (1803-44), the Argentines Juana Manuela Gorriti (1816-92), Eduarda Mansilla (1834-92), and the Peruvian Clorinda Matto de Turner (1852-1909). Each author traveled and wrote in different and significant moments in the history of the Latin American nations, and their texts touch upon the nature of hemispheric and European cross-cultural relations.

Mujeres en tránsito revises the limited consideration that women’s travelogues have received within the Latin American literary tradition. It demonstrates how women’s commentaries on their own and other nations speak to their own engagement in the project of modern citizenship. More importantly, the act of traveling often helps female authors challenge the strictly political, legal, and geographic conceptions of nationhood and national identity articulated in canonical texts. Their improved yet marginal position in society as women, their particular reasons to travel, and the personal and symbolic connections with more than one nation or culture lead these four women to articulate a “transnational imaginary” through which they revise the categories of gender, class, modernity, and cultural homogeneity that shaped nineteenth century Latin American societies.


Erotic MysticismErotic Mysticism. Subversion and Transcendence in Latin American Modernista Prose

By Nancy LaGreca

Modernismo, Latin America’s first homegrown literary movement, has garnered critical attention for its political and social import during a time of intense nation building and efforts to propel the region into modernity. LaGreca’s Erotic Mysticism explores two dominant discourses of the period, Catholicism and positivism, which sought to categorize and delimit the desires and behaviors of the ideal citizen. These discourses, LaGreca argues, were powerful because each promised to allay the individual’s existential fears. Yet the coexistence of these two competing ideologies, one atheist and one religious, sowed doubt and unease in the modern intellectual who sought an alternative mode of understanding the human condition. From these uncertainties sprang a seductively liberating mode of writing: non-theistic erotic mysticism. Through analysis of key essays and fiction of Carlos Díaz Dufoo (Mexico), Manuel Díaz Rodríguez (Venezuela), José María Rivas Groot (Colombia), Aurora Cáceres (Peru), and Enrique Gómez Carrillo (Guatemala), LaGreca establishes erotic mysticism as a central philosophical substratum of the movement that anticipated the work of twentieth-century theorists such as William James and Georges Bataille. In modernista texts, the mystic’s ecstatic state is achieved through a sublime erotic or sensual experience. The noetic mystical state expands one’s consciousness, opening his or her mind to embrace diverse ways of loving and engaging. While science and religion sought to mold heteronormal and pragmatically useful citizens, modernista writers employed mystical discourse to transcend boundaries, opening readers’ minds to alternative notions of sexuality, gender, desire, acceptance, and, ultimately, art.


Lima fundada by Pedro de Peralta BarnuevoLima fundada by Pedro de Peralta Barnuevo. A Critical Edition

Edited by David F. Slade & Jerry M. Williams

Pedro de Peralta Barnuevo (1664-1743), a writer of early eighteenth-century viceregal Peru, believed that his epic poem Lima Fundada (1732), in tandem with Historia de España Vindicada (1730), were his crowning literary achievements. His instincts have proven correct. However, in spite of the fact that Lima Fundadais Peralta’s most cited work, it has not been published in its entirety since it appeared. For the first time in more than 280 years, Slade and Williams have edited the entire poem, including all of its original paratexts, introductory compositions, prologue, footnotes, marginal notes and index.

Lima Fundada by Pedro de Peralta Barnuevo: A Critical Edition recounts the founding of Peru’s capital city by Fernando Pizarro, a hero that gives shape to a conflicted discourse about colonization and empire. Lima fundada is implicitly about criollo identity, history, and power in the face of a hierarchical system that gives preference to the Peninsular-born. The text is a complex history of the conquest in which a cast of nations, empires, rulers and peoples join to create Peralta’s vision of Peru, while celebrating creoles as the true inheritors of the city’s heroic founding.


La madre muertaLa madre muerta. El mito matricida en la literatura y el cine españoles

By María Asunción Gómez

Drawing on feminist psychoanalysis and Greek mythology, La madre muerta explores how matricide and unconscious matricidal fantasies have been portrayed in Spanish narrative, drama, and film. The book examines individual and social perceptions regarding gendered subjectivity, the operation of power relations, gender violence, and the economies of desire. It provides a comparative study of different theoretical approaches to matricide and a close reading of five films–Furtivos (1975) by José Luis Borau, Sonámbulos (1978) by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, La madre muerta (1993) by Juanma Bajo Ulloa, La madre(1995) by Miguel Bardem, and Los ojos de Julia (2010) by Guillem Morales; three novels–La familia de Pascual Duarte (1942) by Camilo José Cela, Isabel and Maria (1992) by Mercé Rodoreda, and La intimidad(1997) by Nuria Amat; and two plays–Clitemnestra (1986) by María José Ragué i Arias, and La reivindicació de la senyora Clito Mestres (1990) by Monserrat Roig. This study attempts to unveil the mechanisms by which the matricidal myth has been introduced and continues operative in twentieth and twenty-first century Spanish literature and film. It also explores the process of continuous reprojection of a phobic, monstrous mother figure associated with danger, persecution, and abjection, and suggests that the male fantasy of matricide does not necessarily reveal itself in the literal murder of the mother, but it is projected onto other women, thus leading to various acts of gender violence. In this study, Gómez claims that the absence of a positive symbolic mediation with the maternal body is detrimental for the configuration of gendered identities.


Reading, Performing, and Imagining the Libro del Arcipreste

Reading, Performing, and Imagining the Libro del Arcipreste

By E. Michael Gerli

Reading, Performing, and Imagining the Libro del Arcipreste examines how reading, writing, and interpretation reside at the core of the cultural history of the Castilian Libro del Arcipreste (often called the Libro de buen amor) from the moment of its creation in the first part of the fourteenth century. The study comprises three sections. In the first, the author situates the Libro within the tradition of Augustinian hermeneutics and exegetics, relating the work to the schools at Toledo and Salamanca. The detailed argument makes notable connections between contemporary reception theory and medieval reading and scholarly practices. The second part develops hypotheses concerning the performative cues in the Libro, emphasizing the audible/visible aspect of medieval reading and performance. Here Gerli focuses on the orthodoxy of the Libro, revealing how by presenting heretical content in accordance with Augustinian/ethical reading strategies, the work advances the novel and convincing hypothesis that the Libro provides its audience an opportunity to recognize heterodoxy rather than espouse it. The final section deals with the rewriting and reimagining of the Libro on into modernity. Significantly, Gerli demonstrates the manner in which the work served as a poetic manifesto for fifteenth-century cancionero poets, especially in relation to the Cancioneros de Baena, Estúñiga, and Palacio, and how it formed part of the horizon of expectations of courtly audiences. The last chapter of this section presents a troubling case study of the modern American reception of the book and the figure of its putative author, Juan Ruiz, as it tells a gripping tale about a Libro scholar and translator of the work, Elisha Kent Kane. But it is not just a great story–it is a profound one–that constitutes another ethical parable of interpretation generated by the Libro itself and raises two abiding questions: Was the great scholar in question an innocent and mischievous wit–a carefree bon vivant–or was he a philandering, callous murderer?


Histéresis creativa. La injusticia distributiva en el origen de la cultura espectacular de la corte barroca, el entremés nuevo y la estética picaresca

By Vicente Pérez de León

Histéresis creativa traces how courtly spectacles, short and full-length plays, and picaresque narratives arose under Philip III of Spain, and were then adopted by popular culture. The book focuses on some of the most prominent writers of the early, middle, and late Baroque (Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega and Alonso de Castillo Solórzano) but considers their works through the optic of creative hysteresis, i.e., the artistic appropriation of the past to defend the present. The prestige system under Philip III was in need of justifying the imbalance between the increasing material and symbolic power of their patrons, their courtly prestige, and the consent of their subjects. These writers’ commitment to the principles of distributive justice and their application to the acts of court oligarchs is reflected in the fundamentals of many of the spectacles and literary works produced during this period.



La modernidad insufrible. Roberto Bolaño en los límites de la literatura latinoamericana contemporánea

By Oswaldo Zavala

Has Chilean author Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) written the final word on Latin America’s insufferable modernity? This investigation asserts that Bolaño’s novels, short stories, poetry and essays examine to a point of exhaustion the most important aspects of Latin America’s modern literary tradition. Bolaño’s critique of modernity as a violent historical condition is a radical mode of literary articulation. With it, the current models of criticism—world literature, the global novel, postcolonial and transatlantic studies—are undermined, while the very notions of margin and center are ultimately disolved. Oswaldo Zavala contends that Bolaño deliberately dismantles the symbolic capital of the Western literary tradition by generating a counterhegemonic horizon of meaning that arises from and defines Latin American writing. The book offers innovative readings of Distant Star, By Night in Chile, The Savage Detectives, Last Evenings on Earth and 2666, among other works. It ultimately demonstrates that Bolaño transcends the neoliberal dream of a global consciousness by revealing the discontinuous, contingent and savage reality of our pernicious modernity. Bolaño forges the most urgent critique of 21st century Latin American and Western literature alike.


parra_materiaMateria médica. Rareza, singularidad y accidente en la España temprano-moderna

By Elena del Río Parra

Materia médica explores the intersection of the sciences and humanities in Spanish 16th and 17th centuries representations of the extraordinary within the larger scheme of the Baroque. Medical and chirurgical treatises, discourses, letters, broadsheets, and paratexts of the period share with the humanities thought processes, methods, patterns, and—most importantly—some forms of description. Archival evidence broadens the spectrum of these texts, and cases are frequently compared to similar instances in disciplines such as theology, literature, and the law.

Materia médica maps, among other notions, the imagination, the spectacular, the legendary and the “novelesque” in scientific writing, and examines the influence of the theatrical in representations of medical cases as stated by doctors themselves. The analyses of Materia médica tilt between the world of fact and fantasy, and explore the effect of the descriptions of its cases on the social sphere. An eclectic monograph, it is intended for specialists in both early-modern culture and intellectual history. It also appeals to scholars who are particularly interested in the history of the rare, the unusual, and the monstrous, a fertile niche that is very much in the spirit of 16th and 17th century Western thought.



Gendered Geographies in Puerto Rican Culture. Spaces, Sexualities, Solidarities

By Radost Rangelova

This is a critical study of the construction of gendered spaces through feminine labor and capital in Puerto Rican literature and film (1950-2010). It analyzes gendered geographies and forms of emotional labor, and the possibility that they generate within the material and the symbolic spaces of the family house, the factory, the beauty salon and the brothel. It argues that by challenging traditional images of femininity texts by authors and film directors like Rosario Ferré, Carmen Lugo Filippi, Magali García Ramis, Mayra Santos-Febres, Sonia Fritz and Ana María García, among others, contest the official Puerto Rican cultural nationalist discourse on gender and nation, and propose alternatives to its spatial tropes through feminine labor and solidarities.

The book’s theoretical framework encompasses recent feminist geographers’ conceptualizations of the relationship between space and gender, patriarchy, knowledge, labor and the everyday. It engages with the work of Gillian Rose, Rosemary Hennessy, Doreen Massey, Patricia Hill Collins, and Katherine McKittrick, to argue that spaces are instrumental in resisting intersecting oppressions, in subverting traditional national models and in constructing alternative imaginaries. By introducing Caribbean cultural production and Latin American thought to the concerns of feminist and cultural geographers, it recasts their understanding of Puerto Rico as a neo-colonial space that urges a rethinking of gender in relation to the nation.