A Tribute to Ricardo Gutiérrez-Mouat (1951-2015)
We have set up this page of remembrances as a tribute to our dear colleague and friend Ricardo Gutiérrez-Mouat.
If you wish to share your recollections, including accolades, anecdotes, memorable quotations and photos, please send them to Amy Linenberger (email@example.com).
Campus memorial service planned for Spanish professor Ricardo Gutiérrez-Mouat
By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | Sept. 29, 2015
A campus memorial service for longtime Emory Spanish professor Ricardo Gutiérrez-Mouat is planned for Saturday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m. in Cannon Chapel.
Gutiérrez-Mouat came to Emory in 1978, where he taught courses on Latin American literature and culture, among others, and served as the first director of the Latin American Studies program.
In fact, Gutiérrez-Mouat had already begun teaching two classes this semester — an advanced Spanish seminar and a large lecture class for Latin American and Caribbean Studies — when he received a cancer diagnosis. He died two weeks later on Sept. 18. He was 63.
Colleagues and students say that he will be remembered both as a noted scholar and fierce defender of Latin American literature and culture, as well as for his playful wit and passionate engagement in the classroom.
Within the department, Gutiérrez-Mouat was viewed as something of a senior statesman — no one had been there longer, says María M. Carrión, a fellow professor of Spanish. “Ricardo was a terrific person, a force of nature in the department,” she says.
Each fall, Gutiérrez-Mouat traditionally taught Latin American and Caribbean Studies 101, a large, popular lecture class that has helped introduce thousands of Emory students to the topic over the years.
“He’s done a beautiful job of introducing generations of students to the study of Latin America, dispelling myths, piquing the curiosity of students, and helping them to understand the importance of what they were studying,” recalls Carrión.
“He was a phenomenal teacher, just arresting in the classroom,” she adds. “In general, the students adored him.”
Don Tuten, chair of the Spanish and Portuguese department recalls that Gutiérrez-Mouat was “willing to challenge students’ preconceptions, and even upset them in doing so, but he was always there to support them. He spent countless hours meeting individually with his students to talk about and help them improve their learning, writing and research.”
Amy Linenberger, graduate program coordinator for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, said that many students remember Gutiérrez-Mouat for his love of teaching, characterized by both his warmth and distinctively playful wit.
She related a story shared by former Emory PhD student Nanci Buiza, now an assistant professor of Spanish at Swarthmore College, who recalls being stopped in the hall one day by Gutiérrez-Mouat, who asked her for the date of the Mexican Revolution.
When Buiza answered, the professor smiled, saying, “Well, it’s been about that long since I’ve received a chapter from you!” she recalls.
“He was always on top of everything — a phenomenal mentor who was truly committed to his advisees’ success,” Linenberger adds.
‘An athletic, powerful thinker’
Born in Santiago, Chile, Gutiérrez-Mouat grew up in Santiago, Buenos Aires and Lima, Peru. His family moved to the United States in 1968. Over the next decade, he received his B.A. from Duke University and his PhD in Latin American literature from Princeton University.
At Princeton, Gutiérrez-Mouat met José Donoso and was inspired to write his dissertation on the Chilean writer, which would prove an enduring interest.
He had recently finished final corrections on a new book, “Understanding Roberto Bolaño,” which is to be published by the University of South Carolina Press next year, according to Tuten. Gutiérrez-Mouat’s larger research interests focused on contemporary Latin American narrative.
In addition to teaching classes on Latin American literature, Gutiérrez-Mouat also taught courses on topics of violence, human rights, cosmopolitanism and globalization, and soccer as a cultural phenomenon.
An avid soccer fan, he was widely known for his willingness to play pick-up soccer with students and colleagues alike, whenever and wherever the opportunity arose.
“He was enamored of soccer,” Carrión says. “He was playful, a ‘catch me if you can’ person — that’s the way he was in the classroom, too, an athletic and powerful thinker.”
In a tribute page set up through the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, a friend posted a message that Ricardo had earlier shared outlining “Things I have done and would do again,” which included activities such as:
- Coach young kids at playing soccer;
- Be invited to a conference and spend the previous night in a hotel room preparing for it — exciting.
- Turn students on to my subject of interest. Receive gifts from them in gratitude.
Under the category of “Things I haven’t done (in recent memory) but would like to do,” Gutiérrez-Mouat had noted, “Keep in touch more regularly with friends and colleagues and tell them how much I appreciate them.”
Those who wish to celebrate the life and achievements of Gutiérrez-Mouat are invited to submit memories, anecdotes and photographs for inclusion on the department’s tribute page. Memorial tributes may be sent directly to Linenberger.
Because tributes may be shared at the Saturday, Oct. 3, campus memorial service, they should be submitted no later than Friday, Oct. 2. A reception will follow the service in Brooks Commons, which is located in the chapel.
Gutiérrez-Mouat is survived by his mother, Sylvia Heller; former spouse, Disa Mouat; and two sons, Aidan and Asher Mouat. Asher is a freshman at Emory’s Oxford College. His family has asked that memorial donations be directed to Hospice Atlanta. For instructions, visit http://www.vnhs.org/support-us/.
I’d like to share with Ricardo’s many students over the years an inside view of his commitment to his teaching. In over 35 years I think he missed no more than 2 or 3 scheduled classes. No matter how bad the cold was or what else was going on, he went to class and he went to class prepared. The last few days of his final illness were the only time I saw that vary. He took a lot of care and time in preparing his syllabi. When a student (grad or undergrad) showed particular promise, he would grade the exam or read the paper and exclaim aloud “Excellent! This guy/woman has really got it!” or something similar. He was satisfied and pleased when he could write a good letter of recommendation, put a student in touch with someone else who could help them, and follow some of you in your later careers. While I may not have faces to put with the names, many of your names are familiar from the way he talked about you over the years. I believe nothing gave him as much professional satisfaction as meeting his responsibility, as he saw it, to his students.
Ricardo's message to a friend about things he liked:
From: Ricardo Gutierrez-Mouat >
A) Things that I have done and would do again.
-Coach young kids at playing soccer.
-Be invited to a conference and spend the previous night in a hotel room preparing for it. Exciting.
-Turn students on to my subjects of interest. Receive gifts from them in gratitude.
-Take my kids out to dinner, one or both together.
-Run on the beach at sunset and rest with a champagne cocktail afterward with the waves lapping near my feet.
-Walk on the snow and hear the snow crunching under my feet on a perfectly still evening.
-Take my dog out for a walk in the woods.
-Feed five kitties at the same time...
B) Things I have done but would not do again.
-Ignore the needs and wishes of others.
C) Things I haven't done (in recent memory) but would like to do.
-Take my mother out to dinner on her birthday.
-Keep in touch more regularly with friends and colleagues and tell them how much I appreciate them.
Ricardo and Carlos Alonso in Oklahoma in 1986, cuando éramos jóvenes e indocumentados.
Ricardo with José Donoso 1993-1994
The day that Ricardo came for his interview, my one year old daughter Eunice was running a sudden, very high temperature. I explained the situation to Ricardo, and he immediately offered to come back some other time. I responded that we would play the circumstances by ear, literally, because quite often during the evening I would be phoning my wife at home.
Time has erased from my memory the name and location of the restaurant where we ate that night. But I do remember the maître who kindly placed a phone next to me on the table, as soon as I told him the problem I was facing. Two hours later I had the best news. Eunice, then my wife and not my daughter, called and said that the child was much better. The fever was in remittance, and the pediatrist had assured her that it would not come back.
I invited Ricardo to come home with me, meet my wife, and share a night-cap to celebrate the happy ending. As it was inevitable we proceeded the conversation that we began at the restaurant. We discovered mutual convictions and inclinations. The two of us believed that literature should be not only part of humanities but also of social sciences. Truthfully or not we confessed not to have written a verse in our lives, but enjoy the delight of teaching poetry rather than narrative or drama.
At home, with the help of my modest and highly disorganized library, we shuffled poetry, poets, artists and films. Also we discussed the kind of theses and dissertations that will always be impossible to write in this arid post-modern world. For example Ekphrasis in Santos Chocano's Alma América, Illustrated by Juan Gris, and Neruda's Canto General Painted by Siqueiro's, Ekphratic Aproaches to Ruben Darío and Santiago Rusiñol.etc, etc..
I drove Ricardo to his hotel, and we shook hands on the street. All of a sudden one of the two, I do not remember which one, quoted the last line of Casablanca, " I think that this is the beginning of an excellent friendship". The other, whoever he was, wholeheartedly agreed.
Charles Howard Candler Professor of Spanish, emeritus
Ricardo was born in Chile but he went to high-school in Lima, and, as a
Peruvian, I used to tell him that he was our "revanche" on Chile. We laughed
about mutual misperceptions and national borders because, in fact,
some of my best students and friends are Chilean; and Ricardo,
one year ago,in Lima, the last time we met, was still looking for his classmates.
Of course they took Ricardo´s visit to show off the Peruvian restaurants
and, thanks to him, to act again as forever young. When I started at Brown
the Transatlantic Project, 14 years ago, Ricardo was the first to join
the cross-borders talk. When in Providence, he declined the hotel to stay
with another friend of his youth, Youenn Kervennic, a colleague in French,
"el franchute mochilero." Ricardo was always ready to share new meetings,
projects and plans. Of course, he was a reader of some dissertations at
my Department, and I have visited Emory for talks and conferences. At the
end, I gave him more work, and I got more inspiration from his fresh and
lively readings of the new international literature. I used to tell him: you are
the lucky one among us--you have the best colleagues, the best campus,
and the best airport. Ricardo added happiness to our profession.
Suddenly you swerved around the rest of us
and fairly bolted through the door of ghosts
last seen only weeks before
striding tall and dapper
across your flag-poled turf.
Quick to laugh
quick to damn
quick to raise a glass
and kiss a cheek
yet far too quick to leave us
without our self-appointed, lovely, disappointed prince.
As I'm sure was the case with Ricardo's family, friends, colleagues and students, his sudden illness
and passing came as a stunning and most painful development. I regarded him as a great friend
and colleague, and enjoyed his company and outlook on life. He made lasting contributions to his
department and indeed to the program of Latin American Studies, which he guided and directed. As a man
and a scholar, Ricardo stood for the best values and traditions of Chile and the United States, which
define his life and academic achievements. Adios, amigo.
Juan M del Aguila
Coral Gables, Florida
Ricardo with Antonio Skármeta, circa 1990
During these past weeks in which we first learned of Ricardo’s illness and then so quickly were called to come to stark terms with his death, Pablo Neruda’s elegy to his dear friend Alberto Rojas Giménez has been in my head: “Más allá de la sangre y de los huesos, /más allá del pan, más allá del vino, / más allá del fuego, /vienes volando.” The words suggest the impossibility of imagining Ricardo – chileno, cien por cien – as gone from us. Ricardo was my colleague for over two decades, during which we shared countless conversations and copas, meals and meetings, doctoral exams and dissertation defenses. He could be charming (the first time we crossed paths on campus after I was hired, he presented me with a magnolia he’d quickly plucked from a nearby tree) or infuriating – sometimes in equal measure. We often disagreed, but Ricardo had a remarkable capacity for never taking disagreements personally, and he was always so smart, so curious, and deeply engaged. Ricardo’s collegial generosity and his commitment to his students were not something he trumpeted, but they were real and constant…as so many of the recent tributes sent to the Department reflect. I will miss him very much.
-- Karen Stolley
Ricardo reading at a conference, Lima, Peru, July 2014
During my time at Emory, no professor has had as big of an impact on my education as Professor Mouat did. Last semester, I had the great pleasure of taking Professor Mouat’s course on literature and politics in Latin America. This was by far my favorite course I have taken anywhere as a student. Professor Mouat opened doors I had not known existed.
Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in the bottom floor of the Schwartz Center, Professor Mouat unraveled both classic and obscure novels that I would have never encountered on my own with both a passion and precision unrivaled by anyone. He had such poise over the lecture material, and above all was a walking encyclopedia of all of Latin America. If I simply mentioned the title of any movie that I was watching in a Spanish film seminar I was taking at the time, or novel or historical essay that I had read in past classes, he would offer an abundance of unbridled insight, interpretations, and always his time for after class discussions. Additionally, he took the time to gather an extensive reading list for me at the end of the semester that I am still steadily working through, and as all of his selections, they are without fail.
I left his Latin American studies class with a huge skillset of knowledge, a new lens for examining literature, a new niche interest, and ultimately an intellectual idol. Although it was devastating for me to receive the loss of this great man and professor, his impact on my intellectual growth and the development of my interest in Latin America and its literature and politics will be forever part of me. As I currently find myself abroad, I deeply regret not being able to attend the memorial services and send my condolences to his friends, family, colleagues, and students.
--Jason Ehrenzeller. Emory College junior and former student of Prof. Mouat
I have many good memories of Ricardo from my years as a doctoral student at Emory. His jovial spirit always struck me as the attitude to emulate in a profession unfortunately marked by too much seriousness. He was a truly generous mentor and the best goalie ever in our intramural soccer games!
Nestor E. Rodriguez
I met Ricardo in the fall of 1984. He was my professor in a graduate level literature course that included readings by several authors like Manuel Puig, Roberto Arlt and Juan C. Onetti. He wore bell bottom jeans with open-necked shirts and medallions to class and he struck me as arrogant. While it's true, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, my opinion of Ricardo changed over time. As I got to know him better, I decided that his arrogance was justified because he was super brilliant and an awesome teacher who always came to class prepared and knew how to engage his students. He was up to date on literary theory and the critics and he incorporated them in a meaningful way into the discussion of texts. I also took courses on García Márquez, Cortázar, Borges and Neruda with Ricardo. In addition to learning to interpret and appreciate those authors' works, I learned about Freud, Marx, Lacan, Saussure, Foucault, Derrida, Barthes, González Echevarría and many more great thinkers while reading the assignments for Ricardo's classes. I thank Ricardo for introducing me to these philosophers and social critics and for enabling/fostering the evolution and expansion of my world view.
Ricardo was responsible for bringing many outstanding Latin American literary figures to Emory over the years. I remember feeling privileged to share presentations, meals and classes with Ricardo Piglia, Antonio Skármeta and Antonio Benítez Rojo, just to name a few.
Ricardo was not an easy man to see outside of class. On more than one occasion I visited him during his posted office hour and was greeted with a not very welcoming, "I don't really have time to talk with you right now." At first, I found this intimidating and would leave him alone but I came to realize that he didn't really mean it because, after saying that, if I just stood there looking at him for a moment, he would invariably make time for me and my questions.
Ricardo gave useful feedback on papers and exams, sometimes beyond the classroom setting. With his guidance, I revised two papers I had written for him and submitted them for publication. Both were accepted. As a literary critic in formation, I was eternally grateful for his assistance.
Ricardo became a replacement member of my dissertation reading committee as I was finishing the last chapter. This made me very nervous because I knew that his manner of approaching literature was quite different from that of Dr. Rojas. I needn't have worried though because, although my critical approach was probably not what he would have recommended, he was generous in his praise and made me feel that I had written a worthwhile study that he was happy to approve.
I graduated in 1992, but Ricardo and I stayed in touch by email over the years. We saw each other a few times, but not recently. He sometimes gave me advice on counseling my undergraduate students and we exchanged information about projects we were working on. Knowing that he was still at Emory and available to be my mentor was very comforting to me as I progressed through my career as a professor of Latin American literature. The news of his death has destroyed that feeling of comfort and made me feel like I have lost one of my intellectual parents. César Vallejo's famous verse, "Hay golpes en la vida, tan fuertes...Yo no sé!" pretty much sums up how I am feeling today. I am really going to miss you, Ricardo!
Vicki McCard, Ph.D.
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, December 2014
I'll remember and cherish Ricardo's forthwrightness, style, support, warmth, and frank abrazos.
With all best wishes,
Ricky, as his tennis team called him, was a singular presence on the court. His wit, honesty and charm were surpassed only by his ability to get to every damn ball you hit at him. He made me smash a racket once!
He played with finesse and intelligence; I always looked forward to playing with (or against him), and then laughing and lounging afterward. He is sorely missed by the Atlanta tennis community.
My favorite memories of Ricardo are of him teaching. In his graduate classes, he always made teaching seem effortless with his cool style and encyclopedic knowledge, as though he could give doctoral seminars on Latin American literature in his sleep. Once I began as his teaching assistant, however, I realized that he prepared his classes with a meticulousness and a dedication to students that I had never seen. I wondered why. He was a full professor and had been teaching this course for decades. Why did he care so much that every single student in the class like the course and get as much out of it as possible? It was because he cared. He cared about Latin American Studies. He cared about his students. Ricardo took pride in his teaching and regarded our field and the profession with dignity.
At the same time, I don't think I ever left one of Ricardo's classes without having laughed. He had a charming way of bringing his sportive sense of humor into everything he did. When we were teaching his Latin American studies course, he would often make jokes just for my benefit about different authors, current trends in Latin American studies that he found frivolous, or over-the-top political leaders. The last email Ricardo sent me--barely a month ago--was a characteristically self-assured quip about the president of Argentina. Though it was not an uncommon opinion or unlike the other missives we exchanged, I'll cherish that email.
--Stephanie Pridgeon, Ph.D., Spanish, Emory University, 2015
He telephoned me over the Labor Day weekend to tell me the cards he’d been dealt. Once the dust settled I drove up to Atlanta. Another intimate Duke friend, also named Ricardo (which explains why we often called RGM “Richard”) flew in from Honduras. Without knowing it we’d seized the opportunity to be with him and his family for the last several days of his life. And they were vintage Richard.
Two days before he died I had the pleasure (and I mean it) to hear him call me a moron and an idiot one more time. That was his trenchant side. But his accompanying ironic, charming sneer, inimitable laugh and verve were missing. Still, we’d rehearsed this part so many times it almost didn’t matter.
The day before he died he shared his intellect, playful wit, serious humor, all rolled into one, after a series of sips of juice I’d poured into a cup for him at his requests. He called me Ganymede, the cup-bearer. It wasn’t until much later that I realized the corollary implication: his majesty would have been Zeus! Still, he returned to earth and our shared humanity … as I was leaving his room that Thursday night he said to me, Thank you, Terry. The last words I’d hear him speak.
Richard was born in Santiago Chile. He died September 18, Chile’s Independence Day. Go figure.
--Terry Michael Hagans
Ricardo was a brilliant scholar, for which he certainly should be remembered, but what I recall most about him are those simple memories such as the man in the ill-fitting tee shirt who on that day in Spain, amid the collective euphoria of a once in lifetime moment, jumped to his feet and gave us heartfelt and joyous hugs.
University of Pennsylvania
I am grateful to those who have shared remembrances of Ricardo on this page, especially Disa. I have little to add to the rich picture above. Ricardo was a good friend—always running somewhere, reporting big and interesting projects, brutally honest about everything—other people, our own institution, himself—always ready to share a laugh, quick with his wit—perfect in his human imperfections, a spark that made life better. The path that remains now for us is a bit darker without you.
Ricardo in his office Reading Bolaño
I have just received the sad news of Ricardo Gutierrez Mouat's untimely passing. I can't get over the fact that Ricardo, a dear friend of many years is gone.
I met Ricardo in 1991 when I was a young graduate student just arrived from Argentina to pursue a Ph.D in the History Department of Emory University. I don't quite recall the circumstances of our first encounter in the Fall semester of that year. Someone on campus had mentioned that I should meet the Chilean professor over at the Spanish Department. But I do remember vividly that a few weeks after our first meeting Ricardo invited me to a reception in his house in Decatur in honor of Jose Donoso. That reception was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that lasted for twenty five years.
We shared our passion for soccer (I remember watching the 1998 World Cup on his big-screen TV at his home), tennis (we played many a game), for good food and wine (on which he was an expert), for Latin American literature and politics. Over the years my late wife Alma, my son Valentin and I shared many dinner parties with Ricardo, Disa and their sons in their lovely home. As I write these lines I am looking at a photo of my baby son playing in their back yard taken in the Summer of 2000.
Ricardo was generous, passionate, kind and fun to be with. He was a good friend. That's the way I'd like to remember him.
Outspoken, perhaps sometimes to a fault, Ricardo made our tennis outings so much more challenging. His shots, both tennis-related and verbal, were funny and frustrating. We connected thanks to our love of tennis, the Spanish language and beer. His barbs about some of the brews I would offer were priceless Ricardo-isms. The suddenness of his illness -and his passing- remind me of how quickly he could retort. It's especially because he was so picky and so critical that I feel honored to have been included as a friend.
-- J.D. Moor
“Profe” Ricardo: I can now finally call you “profe”. I tried many times during the five years I studied with you at Emory. You would never allow that... at least you would never allow it from me. I think you never allowed from others, from us graduate students, either. In fact, we wouldn’t even try it with you. Your departure has been a blow to all of us who, like me, never tried to call you “profe” precisely because we never imagined that your giant, robust, intimidating presence would ever stop intimidating us. Yes, tall and stout, bald on your head and snarky with your mouth… We all imagined you perpetual and dominant. “Why try it? Why attempt the “profe” move? There is always going to be that huge Ricardo there. And that huge Ricardo will never allow that”.
During those years at Emory you never called me Omar. For you, I was always “Granados”. Every time you said “Granados!!!”, screaming my last name down the hallway like a drill sergeant (I could almost see the demanding gesture in your posture), you said it with that “Ricardo tone”, with that trademark smile of surprise and sarcasm (because with my carpentry background I was never supposed to be there, in that hallway, anyways…). It was near the end of my time at Emory when one day you saw me playing soccer outside Callaway Center. And sure enough, you gave me your usual and unapologetic “Granados!!!” (this time, I thought, he must be surprised that I know how to run and kick a ball). I extended my hand respectfully to shake yours, but instead you fist-bumped me. I never knew what happened that day. I told my girlfriend at the time what had happened in the soccer fields. She never had attempted the “profe” move either and I think she was sort of envious of that fist bump. After that day, then you started to call me “Omar”. Really, I still don’t know what it was with the soccer thing, that soccer day, outside Callaway.
Over the years I thought about the “switch the to Omar soccer moment”, and very much so after I learned you had gone away. I have finally understood everything: It was all over for me, I had finished at Emory. You just had been giving me a hard time, persistently, for five years. You were having your fun with us, with me, but you also were making sure that we were preparing for survival. So, today I want to say thanks for all the hard times you gave us, thanks for keeping us on our toes, for making us understand the demands of academia, and forcing us down the rocky roads or literary criticism with your open questions. I want to thank you for being the old-fashioned strict “profe” in my dissertation committee, that huge guy I never was able to bring out to the “profe” side. Because of that, I still look at the notes I took in your classes every time I have to teach a new seminar on Latin America.
Today I vividly remember the last time I saw you in the Emory Library, when I heard you say, very clearly “Omar, I’m writing a book on Roberto Bolaño” I hope you finished that book, because I want to read it and teach it. And don’t worry. I will always remember you as Ricardo. But for now, for just today, let me say: “Do not rest in peace. Keep giving us a hard time, “Profe” Ricardo.
--Omar Granados, University of Wisconsin
To Disa and family, I would like to express my most heartfelt condolences. Ricardo and I were classmates in the doctoral program at Princeton and, subsequently, in a moment of need on my part, Ricardo helped get me a visiting professorship at Emory (1983-85). We became good friends and I came to know Ricardo’s generosity as a friend and colleague, as well as his boundless good humor. We stayed in touch over the years, but I will never forget the two years in which we shared some of the best moments of our careers, when everything seemed possible. I grieve his passing, but seeing his smile in my mind’s eye does brighten the soul. Many hugs to you, Ricardo.
I was shocked to hear of Professor Gutiérrez-Mouat’s passing, because in my mind, he was so unbelievably invincible. I will always remember him as tall, powerful, sharp-witted, and profoundly intelligent. He was a total character, very funny and sarcastic, and he seemed to never age. One of the things that most impressed me about him was his practice of reading everything and anything. His classes consistently included the most recent texts, and when he did an independent study with a student, he would read all the texts alongside the student even if they weren’t closely related to his work. He gave the graduate students some wonderful opportunities: he brought amazing scholars to come to campus to speak and to meet with the students; once he invited me to his class to talk about an article I was writing. He never minced words and would tell anyone exactly what he thought, which over time I came to see as one of his most endearing qualities and one of the ways that he showed respect for others’ intellect. He was also flexible in his perspectives and could be convinced otherwise if you could defend your argument. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to study with him. My sincere condolences to his family and friends and to the Emory community. We have lost a great scholar and a true presence.
--Anne Garland Mahler
It’s hard to imagine the landscape of Callaway Center and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese without the presence of Ricardo Gutiérrez Mouat, my colleague and intellectual interlocutor since I arrived at Emory in 1992. Indeed, I’m certain that I echo many of us when I ask: Without Ricardo, who will advise which Chilean and Argentine wines are the ones to buy? This is because Ricardo, in addition to his rigorous engagement as a literary scholar and his unstinting commitment to his students, was a true cosmopolitan. Not just academically--although he taught courses on cosmopolitanism in Latin American cultural theory and supervised dissertations on the subject—but also in the broader sense, as someone engrossed in the pursuit of interests that make life exciting, entertaining, and enlightening. Sports, wine (also scotch), new books, music, fine restaurants, and carefully curated suit-and-tie ensembles were as much a part of Ricardo’s make-up as were his activities as a reviewer, critic, and professor. All of these predilections were on view when together we co-organized the 2010 departmental symposium dedicated to the Latin American independence bicentennials, in which Ricardo was equally involved in choosing speakers, moderating the discussions raised by the day’s proceedings, and entertaining our guests over dinner. As always, he was an urbane, self-confident, multilingual and multicultural host. In the past year, he had dedicated himself with laser-like focus to the writing and revising of his book manuscript on the writings of Roberto Bolaño; late into the night, often on weekends, he could be found working in his office as the deadline specified in his contract approached. While other colleagues have committed to completing the outstanding editorial revisions, the book when published will no doubt be a singular representation of Ricardo’s capacious intellect and his vast command of the Latin American literary repertoire.
Although I may not choose a wine that would have met with your approval, Ricardo, I lift my glass to you with appreciation and affection for all you accomplished and, in turn, shared with us.
I am deeply saddened by the passing of my graduate advisor and friend, Ricardo Gutiérrez-Mouat. He was always very supportive and encouraging of my studies. He had a uniquely sarcastic way of motivating me to finish my dissertation, and it was one which I always enjoyed, for it made me laugh even when I was stressed. On one occasion, when I was late turning in a chapter, I saw him in the department hallway, and he asked me: “When was the Mexican Revolution?” I answered: “1910. Why?” And he replied: “Because you haven’t turned in a chapter since then!” Yes, that was him: funny in his own way. Thank you, Ricardo, for taking the time to talk to me, respond to my many emails over the years, and always supporting and encouraging me. I already miss you.
Assistant Professor of Spanish