Cervantes Symposium to honor retiring professor Manuel Duran

The achievements and contributions of Manuel Duran during his 36-year career at Yale will be celebrated at a symposium on the novelist, poet and dramatist Cervantes. Scholars from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, including Professor Duran’s past and present students, will participate in “CERVANTES A Celebration: Symposium in Honor of Manuel Duran,” on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2.

Professor Duran, who is retiring this fall, is an authority on the writers of the Spanish Golden Age, including Cervantes and Francisco de Quevedo, as well as 20th-century Spanish literature and poetry. He has authored or coauthored 40 books and more than 150 articles on Hispanic writers, poets and culture, including two major volumes on Cervantes: “La ambiguedad en el Quijote” or “The Ambiguity in Don Quixote” and “Cervantes.” He has also published five volumes of his own poetry.

Born in Barcelona, Spain, Professor Duran fled with his family from fascist Spain in 1939. The family lived for a time in France before settling in Mexico, where Professor Duran earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Mexico and advanced degrees from the National University of Mexico. He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris on a fellowship and later received his doctorate at Princeton University in 1953, by which time he was already a highly regarded poet.

Professor Duran joined the Yale faculty in 1960 after teaching for seven years at Smith College. He has led international symposia on Spanish literature and lectured widely in the United States and abroad, all the while continuing a steady output of scholarly books, articles, including a dozen on Cervantes and poetry. His books include “Calderon ante la critica: historia y antologia” with Yale Professor Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, “Earth Tones: The Poetry of Pablo Neruda” with Margery Safir, “Francisco de Quevedo,” and “Intimate Companions: Poetry and Philosophy.” He is editor of “Poesias completas del Marques de Santillana” and “Rafael Alberti: Poesia,” and coeditor of “Lorca’s Legacy: Essays on Lorca’s Life, Poetry and Theatre” and several volumes of poetry by Luis de Leon.

Gonzalez Echevarria, Sterling Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature and a former student of Professor Duran, calls his colleague one of “the most prominent exiles from Spain who have devoted themselves to disseminating Spanish culture in the United States and Latin America.”

“He has always represented for me the best of Spain and the best of literary studies,” says Professor Gonzalez Echevarria. “His work on Ortega, ‘Don Quixote’ and Spanish poetry in general were an inspiration for all of his students. As a colleague, he will be greatly missed in his retirement.”

The celebratory symposium is one of many honors Professor Duran has received throughout his career. In 1981 he won the Cross of the Order of Queen Isabella in Spain for his achievements as a scholar and for promoting the dissemination of Spanish culture to the United States.

“CERVANTES A Celebration” will begin on Friday at 1 p.m. At 6 p.m., there will be a reception in Rm. 410 of Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, corner of Grove and Prospect streets. Saturday’s events will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude with a dinner that will draw many of Professor Duran’s former students together at Rose Alumni House, 232 York St. With the exception of the reception and dinner, all symposium events will take place in Rm. 211 of the Hall of Graduate Studies, 320 York St. All events, excluding the closing dinner, are free and open to the public.

Symposium speakers include Yale professors Georgina Dopico-Black, Giuseppe Mazzotta, Maria Rosa Menocal, David Quint and Professor Gonzalez Echevarria, as well as John J. Allen, University of Kentucky; Diana de Armas-Wilson, University of Denver; Antonio Carreno, Brown University; Alicia Colombi Monoguio, State University of New York, Albany; Patricia S. Finch, Centre College; Javier Herrero, University of Virginia; John Hughes, New York University; Jacques Lezra, University of Wisconsin; Ciriaco Moron Arroyo, Cornell University; Hugo Rodriquez-Vecchini, Universidad de Puerto Rico; and Gonzalo Sobejano, Columbia University.

For more information on the symposium, call 432-1150.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325