Paul Ilie

Paul Ilie

Fellow: Awarded 1965
Field of Study: Spanish and Portuguese Literature

Competition: US & Canada

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Paul Ilie is a literary scholar and critic in the fields of Hispanism, comparative literature, and the history of ideas. He is regarded as “one of the most significant authorities on modern Spanish literature,” according to a “Distinguished Alumnus” citation from Brown University in 1984. His breadth of expertise reflects “typical independence by branching off into new areas with new methods” of analysis in books and articles on such subjects as French-Spanish 18th-century intellectual relations, Nietzsche in Spain, Unamuno’s existentialism, Surrealism, Futurism, the literary grotesque, inner exile, poetry and fiction, and the painter Goya.

Mr. Ilie was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1932, the third and youngest child of poor immigrant Jewish parents from Romania. He attended Stuyvesant High School and Brooklyn College (B.A. 1954); his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Romance Languages and Literatures were taken at Brown (1956, 1959).

His career began in 1959 at the University of Michigan as instructor of Spanish in the Romance Languages Department. In 1962, his pioneering book on the novelist Cela, who later won the Nobel Prize for literature, earned him a promotion to assistant professor. In 1965, he became associate professor in recognition of publications beyond the scope of Hispanism, in major journals such as Comparative Literature, Criticism, and Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, as well as in PMLA and Hispanic Review. By 1968, when he was appointed professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, he had published books on the Spanish philosopher Unamuno, on the Surrealist “mode” in Spain, and on rare documents from the Spanish Vanguard period.

In 1968 he also met Paris-born Marie-Laure Bouscaren, who came to teach French in his Department on a Fulbright exchange fellowship. She later became an internationally successful artist. They were married in 1969. Thereafter the overseas dimension of Mr. Ilie’s research expanded. Habitually his summer grants and sabbatical years focused on research in Spanish libraries. Henceforth he would increasingly also work in Paris, at the Bibliothèque Nationale, on French-Spanish literary relations. The result was, in 1995, a two-volume study of 18th-century counter-rationalism and iconography titled The Age of Minerva.

In 1970, Paul Ilie accepted a guest professorship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Other honors included a visiting professorship at UCLA, and fellowships from the National Endowment for Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Del Amo Foundation, and the Horace Rackham Foundation. In addition to serving as advisory editor of numerous learned journals (Hispanic Review, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Anales de la literatura española contemporánea, etc.), he became a member of the the Modern Language Association, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Société Internationale d’Etudes du Dix-Huitième Siècle. He later joined the Sociedad Internacional de Hispanistas and the Centro de Estudios del Siglo XVIII in Oviedo. He also served on the Harvard Board of Governors Visiting Evaluation Committee for the Department of Romance Languages (1981-88); as Board Member for National Endowment for Humanities Fellowships; and as Board Member for the American Council of Learned Societies (Grants-in-Aid) (1973-76).

In 1982, Mr. Ilie joined the faculty of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He retired in 1997 as Professor Emeritus of Spanish and Comparative Literature. Throughout his careers at Michigan and USC, he matched productive scholarship with conscientious teaching and committee service to his universities. He exacted rigorous standards for doctoral dissertations while encouraging independent thought. Students from Spain and Latin American as well as from the United States worked under his supervision, some of them later becoming tenured professors at Columbia, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Vancouver.


1—1963: La novelística de Camilo José Cela. Madrid: Gredos, 1978: 238 pp. Expanded 3rd ed., 1978, 329 pp.

2—1967: Unamuno: An Existential View of Self and Society. Madison: Univ. Wisconsin Press, 299 pp.

3—1968: The Surrealist Mode in Spanish Literature. Ann Arbor: Univ. Michigan Press, 242 pp.

4—1969: Edition. Documents of the Spanish Vanguard. Chapel Hill: Univ. North Carolina Press, 451 pp.

5—1972: Los surrealistas españoles. Madrid: Taurus, 323 pp. (Expanded version of The Surrealist Mode)

6—1981: Literature and Inner Exile. Authoritarian Spain, 1939-1975. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 197 pp. Translated as Literatura y exilio interior. Madrid: Taurus, 1981.

7— 1995: The Age of Minerva. Volume I: Counter-Rational Reason in Eighteenth-Century Thought. Volume II: Cognitive Discontinuities in the Eighteenth Century: From Body to Mind in Biology and Art. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 411pp, 382pp.

8—2009: The Grotesque Aesthetic in Spanish Literature, from the Golden Age to Modernism. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta, 300pp.


1—1957: “Zunzunegui y la nueva moral española.” Cuadernos Americanos, 16 (Enero-Febrero 1957): 217-234.

2—1960: “Picturesque Beauty in Spain and England: Aesthetic Rapports Between Jovellanos and Gilpin.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 19(1960):167-74.

3—1961: “Benjamín Jarnés: Aspects of the Dehumanized Novel.” PMLA, 76 (196l): 247-53. Reprinted as “Benjamín Jarnés: Aspectos de la novela deshumanizada.” La novela lírica. Ed. D. Villanueva. Madrid: Alianza, 1983: II: 225-39.

4—1961: “Unamuno, Gorky, and the Cain Myth: Toward a Theory of Personality.” Hispanic Review, 29 (1961): 3l0-23.

5—1961: “La prosa de Solana: Estética de lo grotesco.” Papeles de Son Armadans. 65 (Agosto 1961): 165-80.

6—1961: “Dalí: El pintor como novelista. Cuadernos Americanos, 20 (Julio-Agosto 1961): 281-94.

7—1962: “Verlaine and Machado: The Aesthetic Role of Time.” Comparative Literature, 16 (1962): 261-65.

8—1962: “Primitivismo y vagabundaje en la obra de Cela.” Insula, 16 no. 170 (1962):14.

9—1963: “Antonio Machado and the Grotesque.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 22 (1963):209-16.

10—1964: “Introduction.” Camilo José Cela, Journey to the Alcarria. Translated by Frances M. López-Morillas. Madison: Univ. Wisconsin Press, 1964: vii-xix.

11—1964: “Futurism in Spain.” Criticism, 6 (1964): 201-11.

12—1964: “Nietzsche in Spain: 1890-1910.” PMLA, 79 (1964): 80-96.

13—1965: “The Structure of Personality in Unamuno.” Studies in Honor of M. J. Benardete. Eds. Langnas and Sholod. New York: Las Américas, 1965: 177-92.

14—1967: “Moral Psychology in Unamuno.” Unamuno: Creator and Creation. Eds. J. Barcia and M. A. Zeitlin. Berkeley: Univ. California Press, 1967: 72-90. Reprinted in Miguel de Unamuno. Ed. A. Sánchez Barbudo. Madrid: Taurus, 1974: 181-200.

15—1968: “Impressionism and Spanish Literature. Symposium on Literary Impressionism.” Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature, 17(1968): 46-53.

16—1968: “Grotesque Portraits in Torres Villarroel.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 45(1968): 16-37.

17—1968: “Bécquer and the Romantic Grotesque.” PMLA 83 (1968): 312-31.

18—1968: “The Grotesque in Valle-Inclán: A Monograph.” In Ramón del Valle-Inclán. Ed. A. Zahareas. New York: Las Américas: 493-539.

19—1969: “Two More Spanish Surrealists.” Books Abroad, 43 (1969): 189-93.

20—1970: “The Disguises of Protest: Contemporary Spanish Poetry.” Michigan Quarterly Review, 10 (1970): 38-48.

21—1970: “The Surrealist Metaphor in Juan Larrea.” Symposium, 24 (1970): 330-39. Reprinted as “La metáfora surrealista en Juan Larrea.” El surrealismo. Ed. V. G. de la Concha. Madrid: Taurus, 1982: 201-10.

22—1971: “Gracián and the Moral Grotesque.” Hispanic Review, 39 (1971): 30-48.

23—1971: “Grotesque Elements in the Pastoral Novel.” Homenaje a W. L. Fichter. Eds. A. D. Kossoff and J. Amor y Vázquez. Valencia: Castalia, 1971: 319-28.

24—1972: “Espronceda and the Romantic Grotesque.” Studies in Romanticism, 11 (1972): 94-112.

25—1973: “The Poetics of Social Awareness in the Generation of 1936.” La Generación de 1936. Eds. D. Testa and J. Ferrán. London: Támesis, 1973: 109-23.

26—1974: “Benjamin Franklin and Torres Villarroel: Social Consciousness in Two Autobiographies.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, 7 (1974): 321-42.

27—1974: “Voltaire and Spain: The Meaning of Don Pèdre.” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, 117 (1974): 153-78.

28—1974: “La psicología moral en Unamuno.” Miguel de Unamuno. Ed. A. Sánchez Barbudo. Madrid: Taurus, 1974: 181-200.

29—1974: “Fictive History in Gironella.” Journal of Spanish Studies: Twentieth Century, 2 (1974): 77-94.

30—1975: “Larra’s Nightmare.” Revista Hispánica Moderna, 38 (1974-75): 153-66.

31—1975: “Le roman de l’ambigüité historique.” Les écrivains et la Guerre d’Espagne. Ed. M. Hanrez. Paris: Panthéon Presse, 1975: 157-63.

32—1976: “Exomorphism: Cultural Bias and the French Image of Spain from the War of Succession to the Age of Voltaire.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, 9 (1976):375-89.

33—1976: “Concepts of the Grotesque Before Goya.” Eighteenth-Century Culture. Vol. 5. Ed. R. Rosbottom. Madison: Univ. Wisconsin Press, 1976: 185-201.

34—1976: “Capricho/Caprichoso: A Glossary of Eighteenth-Century Usages.” Hispanic Review, 44 (1976): 239-55.

35—1976: “The Politics of Obscenity in San Camilo 1936.” Anales de la Novela de Posguerra,  l (1976): 25-63.

36—1976: “The Voices in Candide’s Garden, 1755-1759: A Methodology for Voltaire’s Correspondence.” In Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, 148 (1976): 37-113.

37—1977: “El surrealismo español como modalidad.” Surrealismo / surrealismos. Latinoamérica y España. Ed. P. G. Earle and G. Gullón. Philadelphia: Univ. Pennsylvania Press, 1977: 109-17. Reprinted in El surrealismo. Ed. V. G. de la Concha. Madrid: Taurus, 1982: 95-103.

38—1978: “The Term Surrealism and its Philological Imperative.” Romanic Review, 68 (1978):90-102.

39—1978: “La lectura del “Vagabundaje’ de Cela en la época posfranquista.” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, 337-338 (Julio-Agosto 1978): 61-80.

40—1981: “Descent and Castration in the Poetry of Aleixandre.” Vicente Aleixandre. A Critical Appraisal. Ed. S. Daydí-Tolson. Ypsilanti: Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 1981: 104-21. Reprint of Chapter Three, “The Surrealist Mode in Spanish Literature” [1968]).

41—1983: “Dictatorship and Literature: The Model of Francoist Spain.” Ideologies & Literature, 4 (1983): 238-55.

42—1984: “Cultural Norms in the Spain of Soler (1729-1783).” Ideas and Letters in Eighteenth-Century Spain. Ed. P. Goldman. Special number of Modern Language Studies 14: 2 (Spring 1984): 10-35.

43—1984: “Goya’s Teratology and the Critique of Reason..” Eighteenth-Century Studies, 18 (1984): 35-56.

44—1984: “Autophagous Spain and the European Other.” Hispania, 67 (1984): 28-35.

45—1984: “Polymorphosis in Sade.” Symposium, 38 (1984): 3-12.

46—1985: “Toward a Concept of Literary Relations: Spain and France in the 18th Century.” Neohelicon. Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universarum. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó: 12: 2 (1985): 149-70.

47—1985: “Exolalia and Dictatorship: The Tongues of Hispanic Exile.” Fascismo y experiencia literaria: Reflexiones para una recanonización. Ed. H. Vidal. Minneapolis: Institute for the Study of Ideology and Literature, 1985: 222-52.

48—1986: “Cadalso and the Epistemology of Madness.” Studies for I. L. McClelland. Ed. D. Gies. Dieciocho, 9: 1-2 (1986): 174-87.

49—1986: “Dream Cognition and the Spanish Enlightenment: Judging Torres Villarroel.” MLN, 101 (March 1986): 270-97.

50—1986: “The Vanguard Infrastructure of ‘Poema doble del lago Eden.’” Hispania, 69 (1986): 770-78.

51—1986: ” Exile Studies: Sum-Up and Theory.” Spanish Literature of Exile. Ed. Janet Pérez and Genaro Pérez. Monographic Review/Revista Monográfica. Special issue, 2 (1986): 216-22.

52—1987: “Philosophy as Performance: the Anti-Orteganists.” José Ortega y Gasset. Proceedings of the Espectador Universal. International Interdisciplinary Conference, Hofstra University. Ed. Nora de Marval-McNair. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987: 51-56.

53—1988: “Three Shadows on the Early Aesthetic of Lorca.” “Cuando yo me muera . . .” Essays in Memory of Federico García Lorca. Ed. C. Brian Morris. Lanham, New York, London: University Press of America, 1988: 25-40.

54—1988: “La lirosofía, entre poesía pura y deshumanización.” Ojáncano. Revista de literatura española (Chapel Hill), 1 (October 1988): 23-36.

55—1989: “Purifying Poetry: The Ineffable and the Dehumanized.” Studies in Honor of Bruce W. Wardropper. Ed. Dian Fox et al. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta, 1989: 163-79.

56—1989: “Self-Images in the Mirror of Otherness.” Iberian Identity. Essays on the Nature of Identity in Portugal and Spain. Ed Richard Herr & John H. R. Polt. Berkeley: Univ. of California Institute of International Studies, 1989: 156-80.

57—1989: “El surrealismo de Cela: Pisando la dudosa luz del día y Mrs. Caldwell habla con su hijo.” Insula, núm. 518-519, 45(1989): 40-42.

58— 1995: “La cultura postfranquista, 1975-1990: La continuidad dentro de la descontinuidad.” In Del franquismo a la posmodernidad. Cultura española 1975-1990, ed. José B. Monleón. Madrid: Alkal, 1995: 21-39.

59— 1996: “¿Luces sin Ilustración? Las voces «imaginación/fantasía» como testigos léxicos.” Francisco La Rubia Prado y Jesús Torrecilla (directores). Razón, tradición y modernidad: re-visión de la Ilustración española. Madrid: Tecnos, 1996: 133-92.

60— 1997: “La imagen visual en la obra de C.J.C: Cela y la pintura.” El Extramundi y Papeles de Iria Flavia, núm. 12, Invierno: 305-56.

61— 1998: “Fortunata’s Dream: Freud and the Unconscious in Galdós.” Anales Galdosianos, 33(1998):13-100.

62— 2003: “Spain in the Thought of Anderson-Imbert.” Studies in Honor of Enrique Anderson Imbert. Ed. Nancy A. Hall and Lanin A. Gyurko. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta, 2003:71-89.

63— 2003: “Dream Cognition in the West European Context.” The Dream and the Enlightenment. Le rêve et les lumières. Ed. Bernard Dieterle & Manfred Engel. Paris: Honoré Champion, 53-69.

64— “The Phantom Presence of Jews in Eighteenth-Century Spain.” A Celebration of Brooklyn Hispanism. Ed. Filer et al. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta, 2004, 95-116.


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