Professor Philip Swanson


Professor Philip SwansonHughes Professor of Spanish

Room 2.31, School of Languages and Cultures, Jessop West, University of Sheffield, 1 Upper Hanover St, Sheffield S3 7RA

Telephone: + 44 114 222 0543


BA (Liverpool), PhD (Edinburgh)


Professor Phil Swanson studied as an undergraduate at the University of Liverpool and carried out postgraduate research at the University of Edinburgh. He also studied in Oxford, Lisbon and Seville. He has taught at a number of universities in Europe and the USA. He has been a Senior Fulbright fellow in the USA, holder of a Leverhulme Fellowship, and grant holder from the British Academy, the Carnegie Trust and the Society for Latin American Studies.

Phil Swanson has held a number of chairs and is now Hughes Professor of Spanish in the School of Languages and Cultures at Sheffield. His departmental teaching focuses on Latin American literature, Hispanic cinema, representations of Hispanic culture and Comparative Literatures and Cultures. His areas of research centre principally on film and modern Latin American literature, with special reference to issues of identity, politics and popular culture, the nueva narrativa, the Boom and the Post-Boom. He also works on crime and fiction as well as on imaginings of ‘Latin’ identity.

Phil also has a keen interest in Spanish and Latin American theatre and has acted in produced and directed around twenty-five Spanish-language plays.

Professional Activities

Phil Swanson is past President of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland and member of the Advisory Board for the UK’s Institute of Latin American Studies. He has been an RAE panellist and served on a wide range of international professional and cultural organisations and institutions, grant-awarding bodies, editorial boards and review panels. He has been an assessor for a vast number of journals, publishers, universities and other academic bodies. He was named Man of the Year by the American Bibliographical Institute Board of International Research. He has made numerous appearances on radio, television, in the print media and in public lectures. Has been External Examiner in around fifteen universities and has externally examined about fifty PhDs across five continents. He is a well-known figure in the Spanish-speaking world and has appeared as a character in a novel by one of Spain’s leading writers, Lucía Etxebarría.


Professor Swanson is one of the world’s leading authorities on Latin American literature, especially the New Narrative of the Latin American Boom and Post-Boom. He is currently engaged in research projects on foreign representations and imaginings of Latin America and crime and fiction in Latin America.
Amongst his many books are:

The Cambridge Companion to Gabriel García Márquez (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 2010. Persian/Farsi translation to be published, Moin, Iran.

Latin American Fiction (Oxford: Blackwell), 2004. Persian/Farsi translation to be published, Avend Danesh, Iran.

The Companion to Latin American Studies (London: Arnold), ed., 2003. 2nd ed 2008. 3rd ed (electronic) 2010. 3rd ed 2011. Guardian/Observer Top Ten e-book Bestseller.

The New Novel in Latin America: Politics and Popular Culture after the Boom, (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 1995. Second edition, 1998

Cómo leer a Gabriel García Márquez (Madrid: Júcar), 1991

José Donoso: The “Boom” and Beyond (Liverpool: Francis Cairns Press— Liverpool Monographs in Hispanic Studies), 1988.

Landmarks in Modern Latin American Fiction (London: Routledge), ed., 1989. Re-issued in 2015 in Routledge Revivals series, to restore to print “books by some of the most influential academic scholars of the last 120 years”

Recent essays include:

“Pop Goes the Boom: One Hundred Years of Solitude and the Latin American New Novel”, Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas, New York, 2018

“Borges and Popular Culture”, Hispanic Research Journal, London, 2018

“Gangsterism and Migration in Films from Latin America and the Hispanic USA”, A Companion to the Gangster Film, ed. Sandra (George) Larke-Walsh, Wiley, 2018

“Death in the Tropics: Alajuelita, ‘El Psicópata, and Costa Rican Crime Fiction”, Víctimas, novela y realidad del crimen, ed. Gustavo Forero, Bogotá, Planeta, 2014

“Havana Noir: Time, Place and the Appropriation of Cuba in Crime Fiction”, The Foreignin International Crime Fiction: Transcultural Representations, eds. Jean Anderson, Carolina Miranda, Barbara Pezzotti, London, Continuum, 2012

“Remember the Alamo? Texans, Mexicans and Americans in 1960s Hollywood”, Iberoamericana, Berlin, 44, 2011

“Unfinished Business: Lagartija sin cola (2007), Donoso’s Lost Novel”, A World in Words, A Life in Texts: Revisiting Latin American Cultural Heritage, ed. Victoria Carpenter, Oxford, Peter Lang, 2011

“Going Down on Good Neighbours: Imagining América in Hollywood Movies of the ‘30s and ‘40s (Flying Down to Rio and Down Argentine Way)”, Bulletin of Latin American Research, 29, 1, 2010

“Latin Lessons for Young Americans: Isabel Allende’s Fiction for Children”, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, St. Louis, 2007

“Don Quijote y el detective postmoderno en la narrativa hispanoamericana”, El Quijote en América, ed. Friedhelm Schmidt-Welle and Ingrid Simson, Amsterdam and New York, Rodopi, 2010


Phil Swanson has taught:

Spanish language at all levels

Spain: Courses on Spanish civilization and modern Spanish history. All periods of Spanish literature. Specialist courses on Lorca, Buero Vallejo, poetry, modern drama, film, sexuality and culture.

Spanish America: All periods. Specialist courses on theatre, poetry, fiction 1900-60, fiction 1960 to present day, film, civilization versus barbarism, reality and fantasy, notions of the “modern,” politics and popular culture, sexual politics, women’s writing, Latin American identity, representations of Latin America.

Brazil: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture.


Theory, practical criticism and approaches to Hispanic Studies. Interdisciplinary courses on poetry, film and the detective. Research training.

PhD degrees:

Supervised topics include: Magical Realism, Latin American Poetry, Manuel Puig, Psychoanalysis and Politics in Mario Vargas Llosa, Dulce María Loynaz, Zoé Valdés, Cristina Peri Rossi, The Absurd in Virgilio Piñera, Spanish Women Writers, Lucía Etxebarria, Nation and Region in Spanish Cinema, Humour and Fiction in Latin America, Body Modification in Mexican Visual Culture, Banditry in Mexico and the Southern US, Naturalism in Argentina, Race and Sexuality in Angola, Paolo Coelho and the Global Market, Mexican Drug Culture, Mining in Latin American Literature, Menstruation in Hispanic Culture, Disability in Spanish Culture.