Carlos Rojas began his tenure at Emory University in 1960 after receiving his doctorate from the University of Madrid in 1955 and teaching at Rollins College in Florida. He was appointed Charles Howard Candler Professor of Spanish Literature en 1980 and received the University Scholar/Teacher award in 1987 in recognition of his excellence in teaching and in scholarship. He was a recipient in 2001, as Professor Emeritus, of the Arts and Sciences Award of Distinction in acknowledgement of his outstanding contributions to the Emory Community and to the world. Upon his retirement from his 35 years at Emory in the spring of 1996, his colleagues in the Spanish Department presented him with the farewell tribute of a Symposium in Honor of Carlos Rojas, a day-long acknowledgment of his impact upon the world of ideas and creativity.
The academic career of Carlos Rojas was enhanced by his prolific creation of scholarly and fictional works that include his extensive works on various aspects of the Spanish Civil War (a tragic event that confounded his childhood), works on the lives of Dalí and Picasso, and more than twenty novels, as well as innumerable contributions to various media in Spain and the United States and lectures spread across three continents. Some of his published works predate his arrival at Emory, one of which, El asesino de César, was awarded El Premio Ciudad de Barcelona (1959). This literary prize was the forerunner of many others awarded to Rojas’ novels: Premio Selecciones de Lengua Española, 1963 (La ternura del hombre invisible); Premio Nacional de Literatura, 1968 (Auto de fe); Premio Planeta, 1973 (Azaña); Premio Ateneo de Sevilla, 1977 (Memorias inéditas de José Antonio Primo de Rivera); Premio Nadal, 1980 (El Ingenioso Hidalgo y poeta Federico García Lorca asciende a los infiernos. This work is scheduled to be published in 2013 as The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico García Lorca Ascends to Hell, translated by Edith Grossman. A number of his works have been translated into English, French, German, Hungarian, and several Slavic languages. A non-fictional work, El mundo mítico y mágico de Picasso received the Premio Espejo de España in 1984.
The creative and ingenious nature of the works of Carlos Rojas inspired an inordinate number of critical essays on his work, including several dissertations and many articles. Perhaps the most comprehensive example is a Festschrift, Literatura, arte, historia y mito en la obra de Carlos Rojas (1998), edited by Cecilia Castro Lee. The book contains contributions from a number of distinguished scholars from South America, Spain, and the United States.
Carlos Rojas’ academic career was enlivened by his interest in and knowledge of art, a motif that embellished his lectures and his writings. He is, as well, an esteemed artist who says of his collage collection, Dark Night of the Soul: “In the end it was my intent, I assume, to produce an ekphrastic blending of poetry, painting, and collage with the assistance of that objective chance so dear to the surrealists.” This collection was one several one-man shows Rojas has presented and he has also contributed to collaborative exhibits at Emory and abroad. Many of his collages have homes in private collections in the United States and in other countries and some have been selected as book and journal illustrations.
Some of Professor Rojas’ private papers, donated in 2006, are part of the Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). The introduction to the Rojas Manuscript collection concludes with the following summary:
“Rojas’ work is an impassioned dialog with Spanish history, art, and literature, whose major figures—Cervantes, Charles II the Bewitched, Alfonso XII, Velázquez, Goya, García Lorca, Dalí, Picasso, Unamuno, Azaña, Godoy—protagonize many of his novels. His writing is full of insights on the Spanish conditions. These insights build up from work to work and organize themselves into a generalized vision of Spain that is at once tragic and farcical, exasperated and devoted: passionate, in a word.
“But professor Rojas’ books go beyond any narrow engagement with a specific national tradition. His interests are ecumenical, his cultural references broad, and the themes of his novels universal. The rhetorical form of his novels, moreover, while partaking in the great Hispanic tradition of Cervantes, Calderón, Unamuno, and Borges, knows no national boundaries. The ambiguous density of Rojas’ novels is due in no small measure to the rhetoric of mirrors, dreams, metafiction, illusion, theatre, and to an unusually rich command of the Spanish language.”
- Carlos Rojas Papers at MARBL
- Instituto Cervantes Book Launch in New York City
- Review: The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico García Lorca Ascends To Hell By Carlos Rojas (Translated By Edith Grossman)
Emory College 1968-1999
Emilia meant so much to so many people. For all of us in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, she was a dear friend and revered colleague—a brilliant teacher, scholar and mentor whose interactions with us were characterized by impeccable integrity, rigorous standards, and boundless generosity. She was a skilled literary and political analyst and loved nothing more than to encourage and nurture the intellectual curiosity of others.
Emilia Navarro was one of the first women to join the faculty of Emory University in 1968 where she had a distinguished career as a scholar, a brilliant teacher, and invaluable mentor for students, colleagues, and staff. She was the first woman at Emory to chair a department, and one of the first women in the University Senate. She was also a founder of the Emory Women’s Caucus, and of the Women’s Studies Program, now The Department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies.
In honor of Emilia Navarro’s memory and legacy as a scholar of early modern Spanish literature, The Department of Spanish and Portuguese has established a The Emilia Navarro Distinguished Lecture Series, an annual lecture on a topic related to early modern Spanish studies or gender studies, and an annual prize to be awarded to an Emory undergraduate or graduate student for excellence in early modern Hispanism. Both the prize and lecture series were inaugurated during the spring of 2008. We know that the student prize and the annual lecture will serve to keep Emilia’s voice in conversation with all of us.
Cristina de la Torre was at Emory for almost 40 years first as a graduate student, and then as a faculty member. She founded the Taller de Teatro (with yearly theater performances in Spanish), and the Spanish House (a theme dorm and center for Hispanic cultural activities). Her main academic interest is literary translation, and she was the first to teach it at Emory. She lectured and published widely in the discipline (translating into English works from Rosa Montero, Carme Riera, Leonardo Padura, Angeles Mastretta among others), and received various honors including felllowships from The Howard Foundation, NEH, and The Banff Center for the Arts.
Institutio Cervantes http://nyork.cervantes.es/en/default.shtm