E. Michael Gerli

Professor Emeritus, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish

Research Summary

E. Michael Gerli received his Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from UCLA in 1972. His research interests include the social, intellectual and cultural history of the Western Mediterranean, including North Africa, from the Middle Ages through early modernity. Gerli is the author of some 200 publications on medieval and renaissance Romance literary and linguistic themes, serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals and presses in both the U.S. and abroad (Hispanic Review, Biblioteca Española del Siglo XV de la Universidad de Salamanca, University of North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, Journal of Hispanic Philology, La Corónica, Medievalia, Anuario de Estudios Cervantinos, Convivencia, Cancionero GeneralOfficina Ispanica, la Sapienza, Università di Roma, and others), and is the General Editor of Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia (New York: Routledge, 2003), which was selected as a Choice Academic Book for 2003.

His Celestina and the Ends of Desire, was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2011 and was awarded the Modern Language Association of America’s twenty-second annual Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize for an outstanding book published in English or Spanish in the field of Latin American and Spanish literatures and cultures.  Professor Gerli’s Refiguring Authority: Reading, Writing, and Rewriting in Cervantes (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1995) was chosen as an “Outstanding Academic Book” by the American Association of College and University Libraries in 1996.

The latest of his sixteen books, Cervantes: Displacements, Inflections and Transcendence was published in 2019. Gerli is also a recipient of the Hispanic Review’s Edwin B. Williams Prize (1981) and the Modern Language Association’s Division of Medieval Spanish Language and Literature’s John K. Walsh Prize (1997). In 2009 he was named Distinguished Alumnus by the University of California, Los Angeles, and in 2015 he received Sigma Delta Pi’s (the Spanish National Honorary Society’s) Order of Don Quijote, its highest award.

Professor Gerli has been Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of America (1976), UCLA (1980), the University of Maryland (1986, 1989, 2012), Johns Hopkins University (1990, 1991), the University of Virginia (1992), the University of Pennsylvania (1993), Emory University (2002), the Universidad Pontificia del Perú (2006), and Duke University (2007). He has also lectured at many universities in the United States, Europe and Latin America, served as a consultant to foundations, government agencies, and university presses, and his views on medieval and early modern Iberian intellectual history and culture have appeared in interviews with various media.

Finally, Professor Gerli has served as an elected representative to the Modern Language Association’s Delegate Assembly and twice been elected chair of the MLA’s Division of Medieval Hispanic Languages and Literatures. Prior to moving to the University of Virginia in the fall of 2000, he was Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University (1982-1989, and 1997-2000) and served as Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor in Georgetown’s School of Languages and Linguistics.


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

M.A., Middlebury College

B.A., University of California, Los Angeles


Recent and Forthcoming Books

Celestina and the Ends of Desire (University of Toronto Press, 2011)

Reading, Performing, and Imagining the Libro del Arcipreste (University of North Carolina Press, 2016)

Cervantes: Displacements, Inflections, Transcendence (Juan de la Cuesta, 2019)

The Routledge Companion to the Iberian Middle Ages: Unity in Diversity (forthcoming, 2021)

Embajada a Tamorlán/Embassy to Tamburlaine: The Court of Timour at Samarcand. Attributed to Ruy González de Clavijo. An English translation and critical edition of MS 9218 of the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid. Trans., ed., and introduction E. Michael Gerli. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2022.

Selected Recent Articles

 “Nuestro gozo en el pozo:’’ Pleberio and the Place without a Telos.” e-Humanistsa: The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Studies 18 (2011) 23-37.

“Agora que voy sola”: Celestina, Magic, and the Disenchanted World.”  e-Humanista: The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Studies 19 (2011): 157-72.

"Melibea Feints." In Por s' entender bem a letra. Ed Manuel Calderón. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 2011. Pp. 191-202

“The Destiny of Iberian Empire: Alfonso X and the Cultural and Political Significance of the Libro de Alexandre,” in Studies in Homage to John Esten Keller. Ed. Roger Tinnell. 93-109. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2011.

“From Babel to Paradise: Typologies of Speech and Language and the Quest for the Word in Cervantes’ Persiles.” e-Humanistsa: The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Studies. Cervantes 1 (2012): 346-365.

“Cancionero/Cancioneiro.” In The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. 4th ed. Ed. Roland Greene, et al. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2012. Pp. 184-87.

“Reading Error, Finding Fault: On the Uses of Heresy in the Libro del Arcipreste.” In Two Spanish Masterpieces: Celestina and the Libro de buen amor. Ed. Ivy Corfis and Pablo Ancos. 245-273. New York: Hispanic Society of America, Seminary of Medieval Spanish Studies, 2013.

“La vida de Michael Gerli, y de sus fortunas y adversidades, escrita por su propia mano.” in ¿Por qué España? Memoria personal del hispanismo estadounidense. Ed Anna Caballé y Randolph Pope. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg, 2014. 151-174.

“Translating Events, Glossing Experience: European Texts, Memory, and American Experiences.” Medievalia, Institut d’Estudis Medievales, Universitat de Barcelona, 17 (2015): 39-55.

“The Novel Before the Novel.” In The Oxford History of the Spanish Novel. Ed. J.A.G. Ardila. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2015. Pp. 56-78.

“Córdoba and Seville.” In Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418. Ed. David Wallace. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2016. I, 138-154.

“‘As flies to wanton boys’: La ilustre fregona.” In “Los cielos se agotaron de prodigios”: Essays in Honor of Frederick A. de Armas. Ed. Kerry Wilks, Julio Vélez Sáinz, and Benjamin Nelson. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2016, 155-63.

“The Expulsion of the Moriscos: Seven Monumental Paintings from the Kingdom of Valencia.” In The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies. New York, London: Routledge, 2016. Pp. 184-200.

 “Sight, Scent, and Sense: Reading the Cancionero de Palacio.” In Sensory Worlds and Literature. Ed. Ryan D. Giles and Steven Wagschall. University of Toronto Press, 2017. 123-141.

“Xadraque Xarife’s Prophecy, Persiles III, 11: The Larger Setting and the Lasting Irony.” In ‘Si ya por atrevido no sale con las manos en la cabeza’: El legado del Persiles cuatrocientos años después. Ed. Mercedes Alcalá Galán, Antonio Cortijo Ocaña, Francisco Layna Ranz. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California Press. eHusmanista/Cervantes 5 (2017): 265-283.

’Mester es sen pecado’: Libertas Inquiriendi/Vitium Curiositatis en el Libro de Alexandre.” Miriada Hispánica 16 (2018): 35-45

“A Seventeenth-Century Castilian Rendering of the Tale of Pitas Payas: Origins and Significance” La Corónica, 49.2 (2021): 322-44.

“Julian of Toledo, Don Yllán de Toledo and Exemplum XI of Juan Manuel’s Libro del Conde Lucanor.” Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie. 38 137:2 (2021): 362-82.

“En una gentil floresta: Discovery and Desire in a Fifteenth-Century Villancico.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 98 (2021): 453-469.

“Reflections of the Long Thirteenth Century: Curiosity, the Politics of Knowledge and Imperial Power in The Libro de Alexandre.” In The Routledge Companion to Medieval Iberia: Unity in Diversity. London, New York: Routledge, 2021. 390-407.

"In Toletum daemones: el deán de Santiago, don Yllán de Toledo, y la ética de la sapiencia." Hispanic Review 89.4 (2021): 375-95.

Plus numerous extended articles on various subjects for The Routledge Online Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages

Selected Grants & Awards

National Endowment for the Humanities (1986, 1992, 1994, 2002, 2009, 2011)

American Council of Learned Societies (1978, 1981, 1989)

Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States Universities (1981, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2004)

Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998)

American Philosophical Society (1979)

Georgetown University (1977, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987)

Programa Hispanex of Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport (2013, 2015, 2017)