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Anthony John Lappin

About me

(D.Phil., Oxon, 1997). Lecturer in Spanish Literature in the Department of Romance Studies and Classics. 

Born in Liverpool in 1968, I studied Spanish and Portuguese at Oxford for my BA (Hons) degree, and continued there for my doctorate which covered medieval Castilian, Galician and Latin texts. I began teaching Portuguese at Oxford University, became a lecturer in Spanish at the University of Manchester, became Professor of Spanish at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, and subsequently research professor there. I have also held research fellowships at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies at Uppsala and Marsh's Library, Dublin. 

I am editor of Medium Aevum Monographs, and formerly president of the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literatures. I am also on the editorial board of De medio aevo and work closely with the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Stockholm. I have co-organized the digital humanities international conferences, Dark Archives, from 2019 to the present. 



I currently teach courses in Modern Spanish Literature, Hispanic Culture and Society, Written Spanish Composition and Research Methods. At Masters level, I offer Spanish Literary History and contribute to a course on the Epic and on Medieval Literature. I particularly enjoy teaching about short literary forms, such as poetry and the short story.

Beginners' Spanish

Culture and Society.

I introduce you to some of the major themes that have shaped Spanish and Latin American societies and cultures (colonization, religion, cuisine, ethnicity, dictatorships).

Level 1 

Literature and Text I-II.

An introduction to different literary forms, from descriptions to plays, and from short stories to poetry. You'll be encouraged to respond to different forms through either creative writing or close analysis.

Level 2

Written Spanish

The course provides you with the essentials to write in academic Spanish, as a preparation for composition of a dissertation.

Level 3 

Modern Spanish Literature.

Taking various works in different genres, the course provides an overview of twentieth- and twenty-first literature as well as the dominant interpretative theories of this period. 

Masters Level 

Spanish Literary History.

The course covers major literary movements and key authors from the nineteenth century back to the medieval origins of the language. It provides a thorough grounding in the past literature of Spain, considering Realism and Romanticism, the Enlightenment, the Baroque, the Renaissance, and different forms of medieval literature.

The Epic.

In a course shared between the different languages of the department, I offer an overview of and introduction to the subject, lectures on the orality of medieval epics, and the development and rebirth of epic in the modern world.


I have broad areas of interest in a number of languages; the main areas are listed below.

1. Medieval Iberia

a) Christian-Muslim interaction, in particular the role of the Mozarabs in religious controversy and Christian translation and commentary on the Qur'an.

b) Questions of authorship and manuscript transmission in early Spanish cuaderna vía poetry.

c) Hagiography in general, and especially the works of Gonzalo de Berceo.

2. The Baroque

a) The Baroque as an international cultural form, and particularly its relevance to English poetry.

b) Cervantes as an exemplar of the Baroque.

c) Gracián as a theorist of the Baroque into the neo-Classical age.

3. Modern Poetry

a) Religion and spirituality in twentieth-century poetry.

b) Translation of modern poetry.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • On the Genesis and Formation of the Corpus cluniacense

    2021. Anthony John Lappin. The Latin Qur’an, 1143-1500, 27-56


    An attentive reading of the various manuscript representations of Peter the Venerable’s Letter 111 (to Bernard of Clairvaux) allows us to deduce at least some information about the genesis and transmission of the Alchoran latinus and its related texts. I suggest that the texts were sent to Bernard piecemeal, and had an initial circulation from the Cistercians, and were only later edited into a corpus by the Cluniacs shortly before, and perhaps as a preparation for, Peter’s writing of his Contra Sarracenos; the manuscript evidence points to two Cluniac recensions: the repeatedly faulty Paris, Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal ms. 1162, and an archetype to the early surviving copies, which probably made its way to England with Peter and whose text was subsequently - after the second council of Lyon (1274) - returned in various exemplars to the continent. Further, Peter’s motivation in sponsoring the work of translation, and the choice of texts to be translated, is linked closely to developments in Cluniac relations with the Cistercians, and in particular as a defence against the consistently aggressive behaviour of Bernard of Clairvaux. I prefer to designate the relatively eclectic gathering of Arabic texts translated under the aegis of Peter the Venerable between 1142-43 as the Corpus Cluniacense rather than the competing terms Corpus Islamolatinum or Collectio Toletana - Corpus Toletanum, for the primary reason that, as this paper will argue, the collection was assembled at Cluny over possibly a longer period than has hitherto been imagined; it was not distributed from there (and, indeed, may never have been formally published), but one of its enduring characteristics was the connexion with Peter the Venerable, and therefore Cluny.

    Read more about On the Genesis and Formation of the Corpus cluniacense
  • Baroquely valedicting

    2020. Anthony John Lappin. Studia Neophilologica 92 (1), 1-38


    The poem known to readers since the seventeenth century as 'A valediction: forbidding mourning' is analyzed regarding, first, the transmission of the text: I show that there is a recognizably early version, close to the original written by Donne although he did not himself subsequently intervene in any significant fashion in the transmission of the poem. I then consider the dating of the poem, arguing that it was a communication to Anne before her secret marriage to Donne in 1601. I define 'Valediction' as a Baroque piece, and develop a reading with particular emphasis upon its playing with paradox. Finally, I consider its ms. transmission as an indication of its reception, and, in particular, consider Walton’s purposes in presenting both an eccentric version of the text and his use of invented or re-interpreted biographical details to force his own ideological allegiances onto Donne and his poetry. This article, then, attempts to draw an arc, stretching from the initial intention that informed the composition of the poem, to its later, definitive reception within a carefully constructed web of misleading, and mainly invented, details about Donne’s life which have informed criticism of Valediction (and other poems) since.

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  • Giving and taking life

    2020. Anthony John Lappin. Ocula 21 (23), 198-213


    The power of flower-symbolism is examined with regard to two very different poets from the latter half of the 2oth century who use petalled plants to deal with fundamentally religious or spiritual values even when explicitly religious language, allegiance or even evocation of the numinous was policed as un-poetic. The poets are distinct in gender, political situation, public acclaim, and style, and they use the motif of flower arranging to explore the virtues, on the one hand, of stoic acceptance, and, on the other, female solidarity; and to deploy, for the first, the concentrated bifurcations of paronomasia to explore the topic, and, for the second, intricate webs of allusion and metaphor to describe both the (female) poet’s situation and meditate upon the craft. Both, however, rely on a poetics of indefinition to circumvent censure and rejection.

    Read more about Giving and taking life

Show all publications by Anthony John Lappin at Stockholm University