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Spanish Professor Gerli to Receive Book Prize at MLA Convention

E. Michael Gerli, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish in the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences, has been named winner of the Modern Language Association of America’s Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize for his 2011 book, “Celestina and the Ends of Desire,” published by the University of Toronto Press.

The prize is given for an outstanding book published in English or Spanish in the field of Latin American and Spanish literatures and cultures.

Gerli will receive the award Jan. 5 during the association’s annual convention in Boston.

The award citation reads, in part: ‘“Celestina and the Ends of Desire’ offers an insightful critical re-examination of Fernando de Rojas’ canonical work that is predicated on an in-depth analysis of the language of desire. ... The book offers new approaches to understanding ‘Celestina’ as a precursor of modern literary forms. This is a major contribution to both Hispanic and early modern studies; undoubtedly, it will be an important resource for scholars and students for years to come.”

Published in 1499, “Celestina” is considered to be one of the greatest works of Spanish literature and traditionally marks the end of medieval literature and the beginning of the literary renaissance in Spain.

Gerli is the general editor of “Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia.” He is the author or editor of 13 other books, including “Poetry at Court in Trastamaran Spain” and “Refiguring Authority: Reading, Writing, and Rewriting in Cervantes,” chosen as an Outstanding Academic Book by the American Association of College and Research Libraries. He also serves on the editorial boards of several professional journals and presses, including Hispanic Review and Biblioteca Española del Siglo XV.

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