Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Nicolás Fernández-Medina

Nicolás Fernández-Medina
Professor of Spanish and Philosophy

141 Burrowes

Phone: (814) 865-1161


Nicolás Fernández-Medina Profile Image


PhD, Modern Spanish Literature, Stanford University, 2007
PhD, Humanities, Stanford University, 2007


I specialize in late eighteenth- to early twentieth-century Spanish literature, philosophy, and culture, including Enlightenment thought, interdisciplinary nineteenth-century studies, philosophy of science and the body, Gender Studies, social history of ideas in medicine, modernism, and the avant-garde.

My books include Life Embodied: The Promise of Vital Force in Spanish Modernity (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2018), Modernism and the Avant-garde Body in Spain and Italy (co-edited with Maria Truglio, New York: Routledge, 2016), and The Poetics of Otherness in Antonio Machado’s ‘Proverbios y cantares’ (U of Wales P, 2011). My current monograph titled Raising the Dead: The Science and Literature of Resuscitation in Spain explores Spanish modernity’s unending fascination with the life/death divide and analyzes the numerous social narratives of existence and mortality that have shaped Spain’s cultural imaginary. My translation and critical edition of Ramón Gómez de la Serna’s early autobiography Morbideces (1908) and his manifesto “El concepto de la nueva literatura” (1909) will appear with the Modernist Constellation Series at Clemson UP. My articles on Spanish literature, philosophy, and culture have appeared in Revista Hispánica Moderna, Hispanic Review, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, Anales de la literatura española contemporánea, Romance Notes, Cincinnati Romance Review, Latin American Literary Review, Luso-Brazilian Review, and Insula, among others. Beginning in 2021, I will serve on the PMLA Advisory Committee.

I am the co-director of the Iberian Modernist Studies Forum (IMSF) at PSU dedicated to the study of Iberian modernisms. I am also the recipient of the François Chevalier Fellowship from the Madrid Institute of Advanced Studies (2020), the Edward and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund (2016), Institute of Arts and Humanities Resident Scholar Grant (2012-2013), Richard Rorty Fellowship from the Benjamin Franklin Institute at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (2010), as well the Team-Teaching Grant and Challenge Grant from the Institute of Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (2008). I was awarded Stanford University’s distinguished Centennial Teaching Award in 2007. In 2005, I had the honor of participating as a respondent to the roundtable debates commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Príncipe de Asturias Awards in Oviedo, Spain.

I am the Series Editor of the Iberian and Latin American Cultures monographic series with McGill-Queen’s UP. I am always eager to receive proposals for innovative and interesting books. To reach me with a book proposal, please contact me directly or visit McGill-Queen’s UP website.


Graduate Courses

  • (Anti)Bodies: Embodiment and the New Self in Spanish Modernism
  • Spanish Romanticism: Literature, Philosophy, Art
  • The Romantic Legacies of Modernity
  • The City as Text: Theory and Philosophy of Urban Spaces (Madrid)
  • The Spanish Avant-garde
  • Liberty and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Spain
  • Liberalism and Theory: Authority, Politics, Power
  • Decadentism, Eroticism, and the Diseased Imagination
  • Changing the Subject: Literature in Spain and Italy, 1880-1914

Graduate Independent Studies Directed

  • Literature of the Spanish Civil War and its Transatlantic Connections
  • Nation and Subject in Nineteenth-Century Spanish Literature
  • Decadent Empire and the Fictionalization of National Subjects in Spain
  • La España Negra: Art and Literature in Modernist Spain
  • Ramón del Valle-Inclán’s Visual Aesthetics
  • Testimonio and Post-Dictatorship Literary Production in Spain
  • Biopolitics in Latin American Literature
  • Spanish Women Writers, 1939-2000

Undergraduate Courses

  • Readings in Iberian Civilization
  • Introduction to Hispanic Literature
  • Crossing Borders: The Cultures of Modernity in Spain
  • Advanced Conversation
  • Don Quijote
  • War, Revolution, and the Struggle for Modernity: Spain 1808-1939
  • Masterpieces of Spanish Prose
  • The Dilemma of Identity in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Spain
  • Love, Trickery, and Seduction: The Myth of Don Juan
  • The Spanish Avant-garde
  • The Spanish Civil War and its Aftermath

Recent Publications

“Staging Reform: Death and The Dream of Embodimentin Ramón Gómez de la Serna’s El drama del palacio deshabitado (1909).” Icons of the Luso-Hispanic World: Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Ed. Ricardo Fernández-Romero. London: Tamesis. Forthcoming.

“Antonio Machado en diálogo con Emmanuel Lévinas: El compromiso con la objetividad y la otredad.” Hispanic Review 88.4 (2020): 373-94.

“The Defeated Subjects of Spanish Modernity: Progress and the Anatomy of Fatigue in José de Letamendi’s Sociocultural Theory.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies 96.10 (2019): 2-29.

“A Few Thoughts on Spanish Modernism Today.” Romance Quarterly 66.4 (2019): 165-66.

“Reality, Idealism, and the Subject/Object Divide: Antonio Machado and the Modernist Crisis of Knowledge.” Poéticas—Revista de Estudios Literarios Vol. III.3 (2016): 59-83.

“A Return to the Body: On Fetishism and the Inscrutable Feminine in Ramón Gómez de la Serna’s Senos.” Modernism and the Avant-garde Body in Spain and Italy. Eds. Nicolás Fernández-Medina and Maria Truglio. New York: Routledge, 2016. 3-27.

“The Body of the Letter: Vital Force and the Practice of Spanish Medicine in Juan de Cabriada’s Carta filosofica, medico-chymica (1687).” Revista Hispánica Moderna 68.2 (2015): 109-25.