Harry Sieber

Harry Sieber

Professor Emeritus

Program: Spanish
Curriculum Vitae
Gilman 401

Research Interests: Renaissance and Baroque Spanish literature

Education: PhD, Duke University

Harry Sieber is Professor of Spanish and Director of Graduate Studies for Spanish. His scholarly expertise reaches back to the late Middle Ages and forward to Renaissance and Baroque Spanish literature and culture. One of the most renowned Cervantes scholars in the world, Professor Sieber’s scholarly edition of Cervantes’ Novelas Ejemplares, published by Cátedra, is now in its 26th edition.

He began teaching at Johns Hopkins in 1967, after received his Ph.D. in Romance Languages from Duke University. Since then, he has served as an Editor of MLN, including stints as the General Editor and, most recently, as the Chief Editor of the journal’s Hispanic Issue. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including Guggenheim, NEH, ACLS, Woodrow Wilson, and U.S.-Spain Joint Committee Research fellowships.

Professor Sieber has published numerous studies on the Spanish comedia, the works of the late medieval poet, Gómez Manrique, the satire of Francisco de Quevedo and the fiction of Miguel de Cervantes. He is the author of The Picaresque (Methuen) and Language and Society in the ‘Lazarillo de Tormes’ (JHU Press), the editor of numerous scholarly volumes, and the translator, with Charles Davis, of Francisco Rico’s The Picaresque Novel and the Point of View (Cambridge). 

His extensive research on the Cervantes Collection at the Peabody Library (Baltimore) inspired him to share its contents to a wide audience. With the support of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, he curated the Peabody Library’s first digital exhibition of the Cervantes Collection, “Don Quixote on-line: A Virtual Exhibit.”

Professor Sieber is currently working on literary patronage, relaciones, and memoirs in the Court of Philip III. He is preparing a scholarly edition Luis Cabrera de Córdoba’s once-lost manuscript Relaciones de las cosas sucedidas en La Corte de España desde 1599 hasta 1614, a work that will serve as a research source for Court history, ceremony, and literary culture in Spain’s Golden Age.

Hi is also preparing two further projects. The first, Literary Patronage in the Court of Philip III (1598-1621), is an interdisciplinary study of court literature; the interrelationships between history, art history, theater, prose and lyric poetry written and/or performed during the early years of the seventeenth century in Spain. The second, Madrid and the Spanish Golden Age, is a project based on documents housed in the Archivo de La Villa de Madrid (Town Council Archive) about urban life in the Court from 1590-1621.

Professor Sieber teaches a range of graduate and undergraduate courses on Renaissance and Baroque Spanish literature. He has supervised more than twenty-five dissertations and his students have gone on to positions at, among others, Boston University, Cornell University, Indiana University, Tufts University, University of Georgia, University of California, Berkeley, University of Florida, Washington University, St. Louis, Cal Tech, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Duke University, Vanderbilt University, and Wesleyan University. 

His commitment to graduate and undergraduate teaching includes involvement in numerous study abroad initiatives. For several years, he resided in Spain as director of the Johns Hopkins graduate program abroad and he is currently the academic director Hopkins in Madrid, a study abroad program for undergraduates at the University Carlos III. He also founded the Spanish Honor Society for undergraduates (Sigma Delta Pi) and serves as its faculty sponsor. Below is a partial list of recent undergraduate and graduate courses he has taught:

  • The Origins of the Spanish Novel
  • The Picaresque Novel in Spain
  • Don Quijote de la Mancha
  • Spanish Golden Age Theater
  • Novelas Ejemplares de Cervantes


Professor Sieber’s research and publications cover early Spanish theater (Gómez Manrique, Gil Vicente), the Golden Age Comedia (Juan de la Cueva, Lope de Vega, Luis Velez de Guevara, Calderón de la Barca); the works of Francisco de Quevedo (Buscón, Sueños), Spanish romances of chivalry, sixteenth-and seventeenth-century historiography, and literary patronage in the Court of Philip III. 

His books have focused on authors such as Cervantes (Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote and his Novelas ejemplares), and the picaresque novel (The Picaresque and Language and Society in the ‘Lazarillo de Tormes’). His book, The Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote de la Mancha, is a compilation of proverbs and witty sayings found in Cervantes’ masterpiece, based on Tobias Smollett’s classic translation. His scholarly articles have appeared in Hispanic Review, Revista Hispánica Moderna, Bulletin of the Comediantes, and MLN, among other journals. 

His current research focuses on the social, historical and political contexts of Golden Age Spanish literature, with particular emphasis on patron/client relationships, the Spanish aristocracy, print culture, and historiography.