Romance Languages and Literatures

Frederick de Armas

Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, Spanish Literature, and Comparative Literature


Wieboldt 409A

Office Hours: 

By appointment

Phone Number: 




PhD in Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1969

Program(s): Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies

Frederick A. de Armas is a literary scholar, critic and novelist whose scholarly work focuses on the literature of the Spanish Golden Age (Cervantes, Calderón, Claramonte, Lope de Vega), often from a comparative perspective. His interests include the politics of astrology; magic and the Hermetic tradition; ekphrasis; the relations between the verbal and the visual particularly between Spanish literature and Italian art; and the interconnections between myth and empire during the rule of the Habsburgs.

His books and edited collections include: The Invisible Mistress: Aspects of Feminism and Fantasy in the Golden Age; ThReturn of Astraea: An Astral-Imperial Myth in Calderón; The Prince in the Tower: Perceptions of "La vida es sueño"; Heavenly Bodies: The Realms of "La Estrella de Sevilla"; A Star-Crossed Golden Age: Myth and the Spanish Comedia; Cervantes, Raphael and the Classics (1998); European Literary Careers: The Author from Antiquity to the Renaissance (2002); Writing for the Eyes in the Spanish Golden Age (2004); Ekphrasis in the Age of Cervantes (2005); Quixotic Frescoes: Cervantes and Italian Renaissance Art (2006); Hacia la tragedia áurea: lecturas para un nuevo milenio (2008); Ovid in the Age of Cervantes (2010); Calderon: del manuscrito a la escena (2011); Don Quixote Among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres (2011); Objects of Culture in the Literature of Imperial Spain (2013); an edition of Cervantes’ La fuerza de la sangre (2013); Qué nuevas sonoras aves: ensayos sobre Calderón de la Barca (2015); El retorno de Astrea: astrología, mito e imperio em Calderón (2016); Las memorias de un honrado aguador: Ámbitos de estudio en torno a la difusión de Lazarillo de Tormes (2017); Autoridad y poder en el teatro del Siglo de Oro: estrategias y conflictos (2017); La astrología en el teatro clásico europeo (Siglos XVI y XVII); and the collection Women Warriors in Early Modern Spain, co-edited with Susan L. Fischer (2019).

He also writes fiction. His first novel, El abra del Yumuri (Madrid: Verbum, 2016) deals with Cuba before Castro. A presentation of the novel and interview with Professor de Armas can be found here. His second novel Sinfonia Salvaje (2019) deals with Cuba in 1959. He is now working on a third, dealing with Cuba in 1960. He has also co-edited a collection of short-stories, Doce cuentos ejemplares y otros documentos cervantinos (2016).                                                          



Awards, Honors, and Professional Experience

  • Doctorate honoris causa, Université de Neuchatel (2018)
  • PROSE Award in Literature, Honourable Mention, for Don Quixote among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres published by University of Toronto Press (American Publishers Association, 2012)
  • Co-Editor, Iberica Series, University of Toronto Press (2011- )
  • Faculty Graduate Teaching Award (Chicago, 2007)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowships (1985, 1995, 2004)
  • Director, NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Faculty "Recapturing the Renaissance: Cervantes and Italian Renaissance Art" (Chicago, 2003)
  • Director, NEH Summer Institute for College and University Faculty "A Star-Crossed Golden Age: Myth and the Spanish Comedia" (Pennsylvania 1994)
  • President, Cervantes Society of America (2007-10)
  • Corresponding Member, Hispanic Society of America
  • Co-Founder and Co-Editor, Penn State Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures (1990-2000)
  • Has taught at Louisiana State University, the University of Missouri (Visiting Professor), Duke University (Visiting Professor) and Pennsylvania State University (Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature)
  • President, AISO Asociación Internacional Siglo de Oro (2014-2017)

Selected Courses Taught

  • Spanish Classical Texts (Textos clásicos)
  • Court Theater under Philip IV
  • Cervantes and the Renaissance
  • Luna/Diana: Myth, Astrology and the New Science in Seventeenth-Century Spain
  • Ekphrasis Onstage: From Terence to Calderon
  • Trans-Pyrenees Baroque: 17th century Theater in France and Spain