William Egginton

William Egginton

Decker Professor in the Humanities
Director, Alexander Grass Humanities Institute

Program: Spanish
Gilman 470
Tuesday 1-3 p.m.
Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website

William Egginton is the Decker Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute. His research and teaching focus on Spanish and Latin American literature, literary theory, and the relation between literature and philosophy.

Professor Egginton is the author of numerous books, including How the World Became a Stage (2003), Perversity and Ethics (2006), A Wrinkle in History (2007), The Philosopher’s Desire (2007), The Theater of Truth (2010), In Defense of Religious Moderation (Columbia UP, 2011), The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World (Bloomsbury, 2016), and, with David Castillo, Medialogies: Reading Reality in the Age of Inflationary Media (Bloomsbury, 2017). He is also the co-editor, with Mike Sandbothe, of The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy (2004) and, with David E. Johnson, of Thinking With Borges (2009), as well as the translator of Lisa Block de Behar’s Borges, the Passion of an Endless Quotation (2003).

Professor Egginton is currently finishing a new book, The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity, Inequality, and the Future of Community, to be published by Bloomsbury in 2018. The book considers the identity liberalism that has infected university campuses nationwide and argues that individual freedom has always only been possible in the context of the larger community. This balance, the book claims, needs to be restored through attention to what is taught at the college and university level, and how.

Professor Egginton teaches courses on a range of topics, including Spanish and Latin American literature, literary theory, and the relation between literature and philosophy. Below is a partial list of his recent courses:

  • Great Books at Hopkins
  • The Cosmic Imagination
  • Baroque Literature and Thought
  • Horror in Spanish Literature
  • The Invention of Fiction

Recent Books

  • Medialogies: Inflationary Media and the Crisis of Reality. Co-authored with David Castillo (New York: Bloomsbury, 2016)
  • The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World (New York: Bloomsbury, 2016)

Reviewed in The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Times of London  Kirkus Review, Choice, Library Journal, starred review in Booklist, and elsewhere; translations forthcoming in Taiwan, China, Turkey, Greece, and Spain

  • In Defense of Religious Moderation (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011)

Reviewed in Kirkus Review, The Newark Star-Ledger, and elsewhere.

  • The Theater of Truth: The Ideology of (Neo)baroque Aesthetics (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010)

Reviewed in CLIOModern Language QuarterlyComparative Literature StudiesRevista Hispánica ModernaTeatro: Revista de estudios culturales, and elsewhere.

  • The Philosopher's Desire: Psychoanalysis, Interpretation, and Truth, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007)

Reviews in Choice, Book News, and elsewhere.

Recent Edited and Translated Books

  • Lisa Block de Behar, Borges: The Passion of an Endless Quotation, second edition and translation (Albany: SUNY Press, 2014).
  • Co-editor with David E. Johnson, Thinking With Borges (Aurora, CO: The Davies Group Publishers, 2009)

Recent Articles and Chapters

  • “Hispanism and Humanitas in the Market University.” Co-authored with David Castillo. Hispanic Issues Online 6 (2016).
  • “Affective Disorder.” diacritics 40.2 (2012): 24-43.
  • “Religion – Conspiracy – Code.” MLN 126.4 (2011): 32-43.
  • “On Radical Atheism, Chronolibidinal Reading, and Impossible Desires.” CR: The New Centennial Review 9.1 (2009): 191-209.
  • “The Baroque as a Problem of Thought.” PMLA 124.1 (2009): 143-49.
  • “Performance and Presence, Analysis of a Modern Aporia.” Journal of Literary Theory 1.1 (2007): 3-18
  • “The Corporeal Image and the New World Baroque.” SAQ 106.1 (2007): 107-128.


In addition to his scholarly work, Professor Egginton also contributes frequently to The New York Times and other periodicals. Below you’ll find a selection of his articles and opinion pieces:

Professor Egginton has also given interviews, lectures, and presentations on his book about Cervantes and the novel, The Man Who Invented Fiction. Here you may find a selection of these:

  • Interview with Full Stop.
  • Panel at The Center for Fiction, with translators Edith Grossman and Natasha Wimmer as well as author Álvaro Enrigue.
  • Lecture, “Twilight of the Idyll: How Cervantes Pulled Fiction Out of the Grave of Pastoral,” delivered at Concordia University for a conference on Cervantes and the Public Humanities.