Personal Information

My family lineage can be traced for several generations to the highlands of Quirós, in Asturias, and the village of Piedrafita, on the upper valley of the Torío River, in León, on both sides of the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain, an area that prides itself in being the cradle of the Spanish nation.  I was born in the quaint town of Avilés on September 22, 1959 (although the date reflected on all official documents is the 23rd).   Although I’ve been away from Avilés for almost a quarter of a century I still call Avilés my home.

After earning a degree in Anglo-Germanic Philology from the Universidad de Oviedo, I taught at the Colegio Santo Ángel before I decided to pursue graduate studies in the United States, a country I had visited twice in my teenage years.  In January 1985 I began my “American experience” as I arrived in Urbana-Champaign in the midst of an intimidating blizzard to be a graduate student and teaching assistant at the University of Illinois, where I completed a Master’s and a Ph.D. (with a perfect 4.0 GPA, I am proud to add), specializing in Golden Age Spanish literature.  My first academic appointment was as an Assistant Professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, a small, private, and very expensive college one hour away from Urbana, where I made very good friends and spent a couple of very chilly winters.  In 1992, after listening to Ray Charles, I got “Georgia on my mind” and accepted an appointment as an Assistant Professor at The University of Georgia.  In 1996 I competed for and obtained the position of Profesor Asociado de Filología at the Universidad de Oviedo, my Spanish alma mater, thus fulfilling a lifelong dream of teaching at the university that first taught me.  This also allowed me to spend time with my dad, who by then was in his nineties.  In 1998 I returned to the US and joined the faculty of Georgia College & State University, where I reached the rank of Professor and enjoyed a reputation for being enthusiastic, energetic, quite prolific as a writer, passionate about everything (a little too opinionated, some might say), and indifferent about nothing.  After nine years at GCSU I moved to North Carolina, where I am currently Professor of Spanish and Head of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages.

Today I find joy and relaxation in the serene environment of the Appalachians (ten months a year), the seafood and hard cider of Asturias (two months a year), and the sharp, inquisitive, brown eyes of my children, Santi and Laura (all year-round).  In my ever-shrinking free time, I cook Spanish food and write poetry and fiction.  You can read some of my stuff on this web site.  My historical novels El castillo de los halcones and Vida y fabulosas aventuras de Pedro Menéndez de Avilés were published in 2004 and 2006, respectively.  Also completed and awating publication are four more novels --El coleccionista,  El reportaje, Editio princeps, and Después del fuego.  I am also the author of four published poetry collections, Tiempos imperfectos (1994), Entre las sombras (1996), Lo que queda (2002), and Rota memoria (2006).  I have other publications that belong to the category of “scholarly research,” including editions of previously unpublished sixteenth and seventeenth century Spanish manuscripts and a Diccionario de epónimos del español (2001).

My research interests fall mostly within the chronological boundaries of 1500 and 1700, the so-called Golden Age (or Early Modern Studies, as some prefer to call the period).  I am equally moved by the equilibrium of Garcilaso and the excesses of Góngora; by the spontaneity and passion of Lope de Vega and the profound thoughts of Calderón; by the freshness of Lázaro’s narrative and the multi-sided richness of Cervantes.  I am also a lexicography buff, a history aficionado, an avid fountain pen collector, a passionate fan of nineteenth-century Italian opera, and an amateur oenologist.