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Luis Leal: 1907—: Scholar, Literary Critic

Continued Working After Retirement

In 1976 the University of Illinois had a mandatory retirement policy that forced Leal to end his professional career there. However, that circumstance also enabled him to further advance contemporary Chicano literary criticism. He and his wife moved to Santa Barbara, where he continued his research and taught courses in Chicano literature and Mexican cultural traditions for the Department of Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus. As senior research fellow at UCSB's Center for Chicano Studies, he served as its acting director in the early 1980s to keep it open. UCSB honored him by naming the first chair in the United States dedicated to Chicano studies after him. Leal has also been honored by being the subject of the Spanish-language books Homenaje a Luis Leal: estudios sobre literature hispanoamerica and Don Luis Leal: una vida y dos culturas/conversaciones con Victor Fuentes.

Now in his nineties, Leal continues to share his scholarship as a visiting professor at UCSB. He also edits a literary periodical sponsored by the Center for Chicano Studies called Ventana Abierta: Revista Latina de Literatura, Arte y Culrura. It is the only literary journal in the United States published in Spanish.

Selected writings

(With Carlos Castillo) Antología de la literatura mexicana, 1944.

(Editor) Cuentecitos: Retold and Adopted from the Spanish of Vicente Riva Palacio, 1944.

(Editor) El periquillo sarniento, 1946.

México: civilizaciones y culturas, 1955, rev. 1971.

Breve historia del cuento mexicano, 1957, 1990.

(Editor) Antología del cuento mexicano, 1957.

Bibliografía del cuento mexicano, 1958.

(Contributor) Cuardenos Americanos, 1960s.

(Contributor) Historia Mexicana, 1960s.

Mariano Azuela, vida y obra, 1961.

Panorama de la literature mexicana actual, 1968.

(Editor with Joseph Silverman) Siglo veinte, 1968.

Breve historia de la literature hispanoamericana, 1971.

Mariano Azuela, 1971.

Corridos y canciones de Aztlá, 1980, 1986.

(Editor with others) Día de los muertos, 1983.

Juan Rulfo, 1983.

Aztlán y México: Perfiles literarios e históricos, 1985.

No Longer Voiceless, 1995.

(Editor) Ventana Abierta: Revista Latina de Liter-atura, Arte y Cultura, 1996-.

(With Victor Fuentes) Don Luis Leal: Una vida y dos culturas. Conversaciones con Victor Fuentes, 1998.

(With Mario T. Garcia) Luis Leal: An Auto/Biography, 2000.



Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale Research, 1996.

Luis Leal: An Auto/Biography, University of Texas Press, 2000.


"Don Luis Leal: One Life, Two Cultures," Latina/ Latino Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, www.lls.uiuc.edu/newslet ter/don_luis.htm (June 12, 2003).

"Luis Leal," Contemporary Authors Online, reproduced in Gale's Biography Resource Center, www. galenet.galegroup.com/servelet/BioRC (June 12, 2003).

"Luis Leal," Biography Resource Center, www.gale net.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC (June 12, 2003).


Additional information for this profile was obtained through a curriculum vitae provided by Dr. Luis Leal on December 13, 2002.

—Doris Morris Maxfield

Additional topics

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