Esther M. Villegas de la Torre, PhD
A Lover of Wisdom
I am originally from Valencia, Spain, but my passion for knowledge led me to leave my beautiful, coastal hometown in my teens, in order to complete my education in the UK. My area of expertise lies in the field of Early Modern Studies: I graduated with a first-class honours bachelor's degree in Hispanic Studies from The University of Manchester; my MA and PhD in Luso-Hispanic Cultural and Intellectual History were fully funded by The University of Manchester and The University of Nottingham. In addition, I have proven interests in the field of Language Studies: I have qualifications and experience in translation and interpreting, as well as in ELE teaching and content writing.
My research investigates premodern knowledge practices and their dissemination via publication 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 a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, hosted by Universitat Pompeu Fabra, to support my new research. Building on my doctoral findings, #REVERE 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').
I have presented my work widely and my best (hopefully) through publication in English and Spanish. In October 2018, I was commissioned by Editorial Austral to produce an edited anthology of premodern poetry by women publishing in several language traditions, in Spanish translation, 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'. In addition to my research-led ones, I have a significant number of publications, relating to the field of Spanish Language Studies, based on four modern Hispanic novels and three films. This material can be found at dolanguages.com.
Last but not least, I consider teaching an essential part of my scholarly work. My experience in teaching and its pedagogy relates to primary and (post-)secondary and tertiary education, in the UK, Spain, and Egypt, encompassing in-person and online language and culture modules. This experience, for instance, includes running, from scratch, 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 and creating online courses on children's classics.