Frederick de Armas

Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Romance Languages and Literatures, Comparative Literature, and the College.
Wieboldt 409A
Office Hours: By appointment
PhD, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1969

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 AgeThReturn of Astraea: An Astral-Imperial Myth in CalderónThe 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 ComediaCervantes, 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); Women Warriors in Early Modern Spain (2018); Faraway Settings: Spanish and Chinese Theaters in the 16th and 17th Centuries (2019); The Gastronomical Arts in Spain: Food and Etiquette (forthcoming with the University of Toronto Press); and Cervantes’ Architectures: The Dangers Outside (2022).

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)
Recent Courses in RLL
  • SPAN 21703 Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos españoles clásicos (Winter 2018, Autumn 2018, Winter 2019, Autumn 2020)
  • SPAN 21705 Iberian Literatures and Cultures: Medieval and Early Modern (Autumn 2023)
  • SPAN 23201/33201 Myth, Art and Ekphrasis in Early Modern Spanish Theater (Autumn 2018)
  • SPAN 24202/34202 Don Quixote (Winter 2019, Spring 2022)
  • SPAN 33900 El teatro en la corte de Felipe IV (Winter 2021, Winter 2024)
  • SPAN 34200 Cervantes' Novelas ejemplares and the mysteries of narrative (Winter 2018, Autumn 2022)


Affiliated Departments and Centers: Center for Latin American Studies, Department of Comparative Literature