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Luis Leal: 1907—: Scholar, Literary Critic

Moved From University To University

The University of Chicago employed Leal as an instructor and made him an assistant professor prior to his earning his Ph.D. in 1950. In 1952, because he was already published, the University of Mississippi offered him a tenured position as an associate professor in its Romance language department. At Mississippi Leal focused on Mexican and Latin American short stories. He also produced México: civilizaciones y culturas in 1955, a book based on lectures he had given at the University of Chicago on periods in Mexican culture.

Wishing to get away from the civil unrest in the South, in 1956 Leal accepted an associate professor position at Emory University he had been offered shortly after his arrival at the University of Mississippi. At Emory he became a literary historian. His works Breve historia del cuento mexicano, Antología del cuento mexicano, and Bibliografía del cuento mexicano reflected his particular interest in Mexican short stories. Also at Emory he studied Mexican fables, or fábulas, most of which criticized the Spanish colonial administration.

In 1959 Leal joined the faculty of the University of Illinois. The move put him in the largest Spanish-language department in the Midwest and provided him access to a vast library of Spanish and Latin American materials. He concentrated his research on Mexican literature, while teaching and mentoring graduate students, including 44 who completed their doctoral degrees. He also often hosted tertulias where colleagues, friends, and students discussed life, literature, and art.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: C(hristopher) J(ohn) Koch Biography - C.J. Koch comments: to Sir (Alfred Charles) Bernard Lovell (1913– ) BiographyLuis Leal: 1907—: Scholar, Literary Critic Biography - Need For Education Sparked Self-motivation, Began To Study Mexican Literature, Moved From University To University