Coffey’s New Book Explores Spanish Imperialism in Fiction – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Coffey’s New Book Explores Spanish Imperialism in Fiction

In her new book, Mary L. Coffey, provost and dean of the faculty and a professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies, delves into the novels of Benito Pérez Galdós and the author’s themes of imperial loss, trauma and national identity.

Published in October by Liverpool University Press, Ghosts of Colonies Past and Present: Spanish Imperialism in the Fiction of Benito Pérez Galdós is the first comprehensive examination of the renowned 19th century Spanish writer’s oeuvre from a post-colonial perspective.

According to the publisher, Coffey’s book offers “a cutting-edge theoretical framework for contextualizing the impact of imperial loss on a nation.” Through “detailed and revealing close readings” of Galdós’ work and “a rich interdisciplinary examination of late-nineteenth-century Spanish colonial/metropolitan relations,” Coffey argues for a reassessment of Spain’s place in the history of European imperialism.

Learn more about Ghosts of Colonies Past and Present.

Coffey, who joined the HWS administration and faculty in January, is recognized for her expertise on 19th and early-20th century Spanish literature and culture. She has written extensively on the realist fiction of Galdós, presenting her work at conferences and invited lectures around the world. Coffey is the author of many scholarly articles and the co-editor, with Margot Versteeg, of a previous book Imagined Truths: Realism in Modern Spanish Literature and Culture. The recipient of a number of national and international honors, including a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Fulbright-Hayes Research Fellowship, Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Ph.D. in comparative literature from Northwestern University.