Professor Alan Yates

Emeritus Professor of Catalan Studies

Alan Yates joined the Department of Hispanic Studies, as Assistant Lecturer, in 1968. His teaching has covered both Spanish and Catalan. In the former field modern narrative has been his main specialism, but he has done courses over a more extensive range and he has always been interested to study literature as a cultural product which needs to be understood in its socio-historical context. More recently he has established Translation Studies as a popular option in the undergraduate programme.

With Catalan as his principal research commitment he has, over the years, developed this subject-area within the Department's programmes and consolidated Sheffield's position as one of the country's leading centres of Catalan studies.

His research in Catalan literature, principally nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, has been complemented consistently by his contribution to the study of the language. Teach Yourself Catalan (1975) -still the standard tool for English-speaking students of the language- was followed by the Catalan Handbook (with A. Ibarz: 1992), an English-based adaptation of the Digui, digui... multi-media course, and then by Catalan: a Comprehensive Grammar (1999), produced in collaboration with Max W. Wheeler and Nicolau Dols. Among numerous studies (articles, editions, conference papers, etc.) on modern Catalan Literature.


he has published two major books on the modern Catalan novel:

  • Una generació sense (1975)
  • and Narcís Oller: tradició i talent individual (1998)
  • plus a study (1988, with E. Trenc Ballester) of the life and work of the Catalan artist-writer Alexandre de Riquer.

Since 1980 he has been General Editor of the Anglo-Catalan Society's series of Occasional Publications, and he has been an active member of various professional bodies, national and international. In 1990 he was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi of the Generalitat de Catalunya and in the following year was made Caballero de la Orden del Mérito Civil. Promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1980 and then Reader (1986), he was made 'Illes Balears' Professor of Catalan in 1990, an appointment which reflects the close and continuing cooperation between Sheffield and the Spanish and Catalan Departments in the Universitat de les Illes Balears (Majorca).

Having taken early retirement in 1999, being made Emeritus Professor and Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Alan Yates continues his close links with the Department's research activities, including supervision of postgraduate research projects. His own research activities and collaborations continue in the fields of modern Catalan literature, literary translation (uniting the linguistic and literary strands of his work to date) and, more broadly, aspects of Catalan excursionisme (with regular field-trips) and local (Peak District) history.