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Nicolás Kanellos: 1945—: Publisher, Editor

Anthology Hailed As Landmark Achievement

In 2001 Kanellos saw publication of one of his most ambitious projects: Herencia: The Anthology of Hispanic Literature of the United States. This work, which takes its title from the Spanish word for "inheritance" or "heritage," is the first anthology to include literature from the entire spectrum of Hispanic writing in the United States, from its first settlement to the present. Kanellos, who served as editor, spent ten years on the project and coordinated the contributions of hundreds of scholars. Herencia was hailed as a landmark achievement. In a comment quoted by the book's publisher, Oxford University Press, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. observed that "Nicolás Kanellos has made a major contribution to redefining even what it means to speak of 'American' literature." Ishmael Reed, also quoted by the press, commented: "Once in a while, a book comes along which topples institutional thinking and set beliefs. Herencia is such a book!… [It is a] turning point-document of American literary history."

Kanellos has also made significant contributions outside the academic world. In 1994 he was appointed by President Clinton to a six-year term on the National Council for the Humanities. He also became a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as a fellow of the Ford, Lilly, and Gulbenkian Foundations. In 2000 he was a guest at a White House state dinner in honor of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. Leticia Konigsberg noted in a University of Houston Campus News piece announcing Kanellos's receipt of the university's Excellence in Research and Scholarship award, "Kanellos has been the driving force in making the fruits of Hispanic literary creativity available to all people."

Selected writings

Two Centuries of Hispanic Theater in the Southwest, Revista Chicano-Riqueña, 1982.

Editor, Hispanic Theater in the United States, Arte Público Press, 1984.

Mexican American Theater: Legacy and Reality, Latin American Literary Review Press, 1987.

Editor, Mexican American Theater: Then and Now, Arte Público Press, 1989.

Editor, with Jorge A. Huerta, Nuevos Pasos: Chicano and Puerto Rican Drama, Arte Público Press, 1989.

A History of Hispanic Theater in the United States: Origins to 1940, University of Texas Press, 1990.

Editor, Reference Library of Hispanic America, Gale, 1993.

Editor, Short Fiction by Hispanic Writers of the United States, Arte Público Press, 1993.

Editor, with Claudio Esteva-Fabregat, Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States, Arte Público Press, 1993.

Editor, The Hispanic Almanac: From Columbus to Corporate America, Visible Ink, 1994.

Editor, with Cristelia Pérez, Chronology of Hispanic American History: From Pre-Columbian Times to the Present, Gale, 1995.

Editor, The Hispanic Literary Companion, Visible Ink, 1996.

Editor, The Hispanic American Almanac: A Reference Work on Hispanics in the United States, Gale, 1997.

Editor, Hispanic First; 500 Years of Extraordinary Achievement, Gale, 1997.

Thirty Million Strong: Reclaiming the Hispanic Image in American Culture, Fulcrum Publishing, 1998.

Editor, Noche buena: Hispanic American Christmas Stories, Oxford University Press, 2000.

With Helvetia Martell, Hispanic Periodicals in the United States, Origins to 1960: a Brief History and Comprehensive Bibliography, Arte Público Press, 2000.

Editor, with others, Herencia: The Anthology of Hispanic Literature in the United States, Oxford University Press, 2001.



Contemporary Authors, Volume 131, Gale, 1990.

Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale, 1996.


Booklist, October 1, 1997, p. 353; October 15, 2001, p. 372.

Hispanic, December 2001, p. 72.

Library Journal, September 1, 1997; October 1, 2001, p. 98.

Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2000; September 24, 2000.


Arte Público Press, http://www.arte.uh.edu/ (June 11, 2002).

Oxford University Press, http://www.oup-usa.org/ (May 14, 2002).

University of Houston Campus News, http://www.uh.edu

—Elizabeth Shostak

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dan Jacobson Biography - Dan Jacobson comments: to Barbara Knutson (1959–2005) Biography - PersonalNicolás Kanellos: 1945—: Publisher, Editor Biography - Founded Arte Público, Began Publishing Children's Books, Supported Latino Theater, Anthology Hailed As Landmark Achievement