MHRA Presidency

In a tradition going back for nearly a century, MHRA has annually elected a President. The President is a distinguished scholar who gives a formal Address to the Association, but who is not involved in its management.

Alison Sinclair

The President for 2016 is Alison Sinclair, Professor Emerita of Spanish at the University of Cambridge, has specialized in nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Peninsular Spanish literature, culture and intellectual history. She is the author of The Deceived Husband (Oxford: UP, 1993), Dislocations of Desire: Gender, Identity, and Strategy in ‘La Regenta’ (North Carolina, 1998), Unamuno, the Unknown, and the Vicissitudes of the Self (Manchester: UP, 2001), Sex and Society in Early Twentieth-Century Spain: Hildegart Rodríguez and the World League for Sexual Reform (2007) and Trafficking Knowledge in Early Twentieth-Century Spain: Centres of Exchange and Cultural Imaginaries (2009). A volume of her Selected Essays is forthcoming from Legenda.

From the outset of her career, when her PhD was on popular literature and the historical novels of Valle-Inclán, to the present day, she has had an ongoing interest in street literature and informal means of the spread of knowledge and culture. Professor Sinclair received a grant from the AHRC for her research project ‘Wrongdoing in Spain, 1800-1936: Realities, Representations and Reactions’ (2011-2014). The project held two conferences, four workshops, numerous events of public engagement, and mounted two exhibitions, one at the University Library, Cambridge, accessible online here, and a Facebook gallery at the British Library. Part of the work of the project was the digitization and cataloguing of 4700 items of ephemeral and popular literature held at the University Library and the British Library. A further project has come out of this, based in Spain, in which Professor Sinclair with colleagues in Spain, France and the UK, is working on a universal short-title catalogue of pliegos sueltos (chapbooks), with currently some 10-12,000 titles in its corpus.

Professor Sinclair’s Presidential Address, entitled ‘Have you Heard? Musings on the Popular Muse and its Misleading Ways’, will be delivered as a keynote lecture at the MHRA annual conference, Have you Heard…? Navigating the Interstices Between Public and Private Knowledge, on Friday 14 October 2016 at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, Senate House, London.

Past Presidents and their Addresses

PresidencyPresidentText of Address (if available)
2016Alison Sinclair
2015Martin McLaughlin
2014Clive ScottTo appear in Adapting the Canon (Legenda, 2017)
2013Nigel Vincent
2012Donald RayfieldForgiving Forgery (at JSTOR)
2011Gillian BeerAlice in Time (at JSTOR)
2010H. B. NisbetOn the Rise of Toleration in Europe: Lessing and the German Contribution (at JSTOR)
2009Helder MacedoLanguages, Literature, and Power (at JSTOR)
2008John WoodhouseVenice's European Diaspora: The Case of James Leoni (1685-1746) (at JSTOR)
2007Marian HobsonStatues and Normalization (at JSTOR)
2006Arnold McMillinSmall is Sometimes Beautiful: Studying 'minor' Languages at University with Particular Reference to Belarus (at JSTOR)
2005Patrick FordPerformance and Literacy in Medieval Welsh Poetry (at JSTOR)
2004Derek PearsallMedieval Literature and Historical Enquiry (at JSTOR)
2003Roy WisbeyTristan: On Being the Contemporary of Gottfried von Straßburg (at JSTOR)
2002Jean-François BotrelThe Popular Canon (at JSTOR)
2001Giulio LepschyMother Tongues and Literary Languages (at JSTOR)
2000Gerald SmithRussian Poetry: The Lives or the Lines? (at JSTOR)
1999Haydn MasonThe European Enlightenment: Was It Enlightened? (at JSTOR)
1998Frank KermodeThe Discipline of Literature (at JSTOR)
1997D. H. GreenFrom Germania to Europe: The Evidence of Language and History (at JSTOR)
1996C. C. Smith"Ma in Spagna son già mille e tre": On Opera and Literature (on this site)
1995Peter BrandThe Renaissance of Comedy: The Achievement of Italian "Commedia Erudita" (at JSTOR)
1994Yuri D. LevinEnglish Literature in Eighteenth-Century Russia (at JSTOR)
1993William H. BarberVoltaire: Art, Thought, and Action (at JSTOR)
1992Denis DonoghueThe Use and Abuse of Theory (at JSTOR)
1991Nils Erik EnkvistFrom Phoneme to Discourse: A Half-Century of Linguistics (at JSTOR)
1990Werner WelzigOn Goethe's "Unterhaltungen" (at JSTOR)
1989Carlos FuentesNew Novel, New World (at JSTOR)
1988Cecil GraysonDe commodis litterarum atque incommodis (at JSTOR)
1987Hans RotheYoung and Old: Russian Literature in Europe (at JSTOR)
1986Ian D. McFarlaneThe Renaissance Epitaph (at JSTOR)
1985Eugenio CoseriuLinguistic Competence: What Is It Really? (at JSTOR)
1984Maynard MackAlexander Pope: Reflections of an Amateur Biographer (at JSTOR)
1983Ronald PeacockDrama and the Moral Connexion (at JSTOR)
1982A. A. Parker"Concept" and "Conceit": An Aspect of Comparative Literary History (at JSTOR)
1981Uberto LimentaniChanging Perspectives on the "Seicento": A Study in the Evolution of Taste (at JSTOR)
1980Helen GardnerLiterary Biography (at JSTOR)
1979Martin de RiquerL'Actualité historique dans "Don Quichotte" (at JSTOR)
1978Leonard ForsterLiterary Studies as Flight from Literature? (at JSTOR)
1977Harry LevinThe Title as a Literary Genre (at JSTOR)
1976K. David JacksonFifty Years of Celtic Philology (at JSTOR)
1975Jean StarobinskiLa vie et les aventures du mot "réaction" (at JSTOR)
1974René WellekPoetics, Interpretation, and Criticism (at JSTOR)
1973B. O. UnbegaunThe Russian Literary Language: A Comparative View (at JSTOR)
1972Carlo DionisottiA Year's Work in the Seventies (on this site)
1971Merritt Y. HughesThe Miltonic Future (at JSTOR)
1970S. C. AstonThe Saint in Medieval Literature (at JSTOR)
1969Edna Purdie
1968C. L. Wrenn
1967Marcel Bataillon
1966Eugène Vinaver
1965W. H. Bruford
1964Wolfgang Clemen
1963Helen C. White
1962Jean Pommier
1961F. P. Wilson
1960Dámaso Alonso
1959Alfred Ewert
1958Kemp Malone
1957Walter F. Schirmer
1956Bruno Migliorini
1955Douglas Bush
1954John Orr
1953W. J. Entwistle
1952Sigurður Nordal
1951C. J. Sisson
1949-50Albert C. Baugh
1948-49L. A. Willoughby
1947-48Henry Carrington Lancaster
1946-47Mildred K. Pope
1938-39H. J. Chaytor
1937-38J. D. M. Ford
1936-37Johannes Hoops
1935-36H. G. Fiedler
1934-35Mario Roques
1933-34William Craigie
1932-33Bernard Pares
1931-32E. Allison Peers
1930-31Fernand Baldensperger
1929-30Edmund G. Gardner
1928-29Levin L. Schücking
1927-28Carleton Brown
1926-27R. Menéndez Pidal
1925-26Emile Legouis
1924-25J. G. Robertson
1923-24Benedetto Croce
1922-23J. P. Manly
1921-22W. P. Ker
1920-21Otto Jespersen
1919-20Gustave Lanson
1918-19Sidney Lee