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IN TRD3UTE TO WILLARD FAHRENKAMP KING (July 13, 1924 - November 8, 2004) When Willard F. King died on Monday, November 8, 2004, Hispanists ofearly modern Spanish literature lost an extraordinary scholar and major contributor to the study ofseventeenth-century literature. Her books, articles , translations, and reviews are among the most vital components of Golden Age Spanish criticism. Dr. King's career began with the publication oí Prosa novelística y academias literarias en el siglo XVII (1963) by the Royal Spanish Academy. It deals with the rise of literary academies in the seventeenth century and is acclaimed for its comprehensive research and insightfulness. Her major works of the seventies were the authorship and translation (with Selma Margaretten) ofAmerico Castro's The Spaniards: An Introduction to Their History (1971) and a translation and study of Lope de Vega's tragedy, The Knight of Olmedo (1972). Dr. King also wrote Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, letrado y dramaturgo: Su mundo mexicano y español (1989), a highly comprehensive and influential study ofthe life and works ofthe seventeenth-century playwright, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza. The study includes minute details ofthe dramatist's life from his youth in Mexico to the University of Salamanca, where he studied law, and of his later life and illustrious literary career in Madrid. Her book offers an understanding ofthe complexities and uniqueness of Ruiz de Alarcón and his work. Her most recent undertaking was an essay entitled "The Importance of Endings: The Second Death of Don Quijote," which she delivered at a conference at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, in April, 1996. It is an astounding and detailed study oftraditional baroque endings and of how authors bring to conclusion such notable works as 205 206BCom, Vol. 57, No. 1 (2005) Shakespeare's King Lear and Pérez Galdós's Doña Perfecta. Dr. Ray M. Keck, President ofTexas A&M International University, read a portion of this essay as a eulogy to Dr. King. In her essay, Dr. King argues that our knight and hero's seemingly untimely death was "as it should be" in the realm ofbaroque literature. Dr. King gives voice to our desire as readers, together with Sancho, to see Don Quijote rise from his death bed to again mount Rocinante and continue to entertain us with his unattainable quest to bring justice to a cruel world. But, alas, it cannot be. Our hero's pain and suffering must end so that order may once again be restored. To acknowledge his death was, in her view, "the dignified acceptance ofthe human condition." Born in Roswell, New Mexico, Dr. King grew up in Big Spring and Fort Worth, Texas. She was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin and completed her doctoral studies at Brown University under the guidance ofWilliam Fichter. She researched in the Office ofPopulation Research in Princeton, then at the Institute for Advanced Study as personal secretary and research assistant to the historian Erwin Panofsky. At Bryn Mawr College, Dr. King served in several capacities: as a faculty member, as secretary to the faculty, and as chair of the department of Spanish for two decades. Dr. King's enduring contribution to Hispanic studies ofthe seventeenth century has come through the continuing influence ofher teaching. Many graduate and undergraduate students have grown intellectually and emotionally from her example, for she was a model scholar, a rigorous teacher, and a caring person. She was highly disciplined, productive, and principled , and unselfishly went out ofher way to support students, colleagues, and friends. Dr. King inspired students to produce their best work, and she gladly promoted the careers of scholars past and present, whose contributions continue to shape studies of seventeenth-century Hispanic literature and culture. Her intense love for literature was shared by her husband , Edmund King, and together they regularly welcomed students and faculty to their home in Princeton. Upon her retirement from Bryn Mawr, she served as resident director of the International Institute in Madrid, Spain. Personally, I am deeply touched by the life and death of Willard F. King. In life, she was a pillar of strength and a model of discipline. Dr. King was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 205-207
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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