Esther M. Villegas de la Torre, PhD

Historian, Linguist, Theorist, Teacher

I am originally from Valencia, Spain, but my passion for knowledge and all things foreign led me to leave my beautiful, coastal hometown in my teens, in order to complete my education in the UK. I read my BA (Hons) and MA degrees at The University of Manchester, while my PhD was completed at The University of Nottingham - I started it at Manchester thanks to securing a graduate teaching assistantship, but completed it at the University of Nottingham because my supervisor moved there.


My research investigates premodern knowledge practices and their dissemination from an interdisciplinary, comparative stance, rooted in new advances in book history. My doctoral thesis, Women and the Republic of Letters in the Luso-Hispanic World, 1447-1700 (Nottingham, 2012), sought to correct the gender imbalance in Luso-Hispanic book history by charting the rise and consolidation of women's authority, especially as authors, in Catalan, Portuguese, and Spanish, within the Respublica litteraria, with parallels from England, France, and Italy (see under 'Publications'). Following my doctoral studies, I was invited to collaborate on a number of international research projects, led from three different countries (the UK, France, and Spain), and in February 2019, I was awarded one of the prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships to support my new research: building on my doctoral findings, it revisits the Respublica litteraria in the seventeenth century transnationally, with a focus on women's scholarly and commercial contributions via print across the Anglo and Luso-Hispanic contexts (see under 'Projects'). In addition, I have proven interests in Spanish language teaching and translation: I have worked as a professional linguist and as an education writer for the study of Spanish as a foreign language, going on to create and publish teaching materials on four modern Hispanic novels and three films. This material can be found at

I have presented my research widely and my best (hopefully) through publication in English and Spanish. In October 2018, for instance, I was commissioned by Editorial Austral to produce an edited anthology of premodern poetry by women, translated into Spanish, within a five-part anthology series on women's poetry from Sappho to the twentieth century. Drawing on my doctoral findings, El canto de la décima Musa: Poesías del Renacimiento y el Barroco (Barcelona, 2020) showcases a representative corpus by four sixteenth-century and four seventeenth-century leading poets, whose work was originally published in English, French, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish. The anthology appeared along with Grecorromanas: Lírica superviviente de la Antigüedad clásica and Gacelas de arena: Poesías árabes de la Edad de Oro, edited and translated by Aurora Luque and Margarida Castells Criballés, respectively. A sample is available under 'News & Resources'.

Last but not least, I consider teaching an essential part of my scholarly work and have considerable experience in this area, going back to my undergraduate years. At tertiary level, specifically, my most recent experience includes running, from scracth, research-led undergraduate seminars and a master's course in gender and sexuality studies (literature focus), as well as leading core undergraduate lectures on early modern Hispanic literary culture.  

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