Academics and Research / News

Professor recognized for preserving Spanish literature

DU Spanish Professor Ralph DiFranco has spent decades unearthing poetry that has been buried in manuscripts and rare books for up to 400 years.

For his work, he’s been chosen as the recipient of the José Vasconcelos International Award, which is given each year by the Mexican cultural organization Frente de Afirmación Hispanista.

Since 1968, the award has been given to an “eminent Hispanist who has distinguished her/himself in promoting and expanding our awareness of Hispanic language, literature and culture,” according to the organization.

Well-known past recipients include the Spanish poet-in-exile León Felipe (1968), the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges (1973), the American film producer Samuel Bronston (1978) and the Venezuelan novelist Arturo Úslar Pietri (1988).

“I have unbounded excitement and profound humility,” DiFranco says. “Having your name mentioned and listed alongside that of Borges, for example, is truly an amazing and humbling experience.”

DiFranco will receive the honor during a gold medal award ceremony at the Magnolia Hotel in Denver on Oct. 8.

The award has been bestowed in previous years upon recipients from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, México, Perú,  Portugal, Spain, the United States and Venezuela.

DiFranco’s scholarship centers on preparing first critical editions of Spanish poetry manuscripts and books of the 16th and 17th centuries. 

“For the first time since they were written, thousands of these texts now can take their rightful place alongside the well-known and studied works of canonical writers,” DiFranco says. “This alone is enough satisfaction for a scholar. To now receive public recognition of my scholarly efforts in the form of an international award is truly a great honor.”

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