On Traveling, Quixote, and the World

Amherst's Dr. Ilan Stavans to deliver George Sommer Lecture

Poughkeepsie (Oct. 26, 2015) – Dr. Ilan Stavans will deliver the 2015 George Sommer lecture, entitled "On Traveling, Quixote, and the World" on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. The lecture will take place in the Nelly Goletti Theatre in the Marist College Student Center. It is free and open to the public. Dr. Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture and Five College-Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst College.Dr. Ilan Stevens

His books include The Hispanic Condition (HarperCollins, 1995), On Borrowed Words (Viking, 2001), Spanglish (HarperCollins, 2003), Dictionary Days (Graywolf, 2005), The Disappearance (TriQuarterly, 2006), Love and Language (Yale, 2007), Resurrecting Hebrew (Nextbook, 2008), Mr. Spic Goes to Washington (Soft Skull, 2008), and Gabriel García Márquez: The Early Years (Palgrave, 2010). 

He has edited The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (Oxford, 1998), The Poetry of Pablo Neruda (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories (3 vols., Library of America, 2004), The Schocken Book of Sephardic Literature (Schocken, 2005), Cesar Chavez: An Organizer’s Tale (Penguin, 2008), Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing (Library of America, 2009), With All Thine Heart (Rutgers, 2010), The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (W.W. Norton, 2010), and The FSG Books of 20th-Century Latin American Poetry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011).

His play The Disappearance, performed by the theater troupe Double Edge, premiered at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and has been shown throughout the world.

His story “Morirse está en hebreo” was made into the award-winning movie My Mexican Shivah (2007), produced by John Sayles. Stavans has received numerous awards and honors, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award, the Southwest Children Book of the Year Award, an Emmy nomination, the Latino Book Award, Chile’s Presidential Medal, the Rubén Darío Distinction, and the Cátedra Roberto Bolaño. Dr. Stavans was the host of the syndicated PBS show, Conversations with Ilan Stavans (2001-2006). His work has been translated into a dozen languages. His most recent books are, Return to Centro Histórico: A Mexican Jew Looks for His Roots (Rutgers, 2012), the graphic novel El Iluminado (Basic, 2012, with Steve Sheinkin), and the children’s book Golemito (New South), and A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States (Basic, 2014). His books Reclaiming Travel (Duke) and Quixote: The Novel and The World (Norton) will be published in 2015. He is the publisher of Restless Books and the co-founder of Great Books Summer program.

He has taught courses on a wide array of topics such as Spanglish, Jorge Luis Borges, modern American poetry, Latin music, Don Quixote, Gabriel García Márquez, Modernismo, popular culture in Hispanic America, world Jewish writers, the cultural history of the Spanish language, Pablo Neruda, the history of the Spanish language, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Yiddish literature, Jewish-Hispanic relations, cinema, Latin American art, and U.S.-Latino culture.

He received a Ph.D. and M.A. from Columbia University,  an M.A. from The Jewish Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from Mexico's Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana.