Rolena Adorno, PhD

  • Sterling Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
  • Chair, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Adorno’s most recent books are Colonial Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011); De Guancane a Macondo: estudios de literatura hispanoamericana (Sevilla: Renacimiento, 2008), and The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative (Yale University Press, 2007), which was awarded the Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize by the Modern Language Association.

Adorno’s three-volume study, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: His Account, His Life, and the Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez (1999), co-authored with Patrick C. Pautz, received prizes from the American Historical Association, the Western Historical Association, and the New England Council on Latin American Studies.

Her other works in colonial Spanish American literary and cultural history include Guaman Poma: Writing and Resistance in Colonial Peru; La obra de don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala; Guaman Poma and his Illustrated Chronicle from Colonial Peru; and New Studies of the Autograph Manuscript of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala's Nueva corónica y buen gobierno, and studies of the manuscripts of Fray Martín de Murúa (with Ivan Boserup).

Adorno is the editor of From Oral to Written Expression: Native Andean Chronicles of the Early Colonial Period;Transatlantic Encounters: Europeans and Andeans in the Sixteenth Century (with Kenneth J. Andrien); The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca (with Patrick C. Pautz); and the print and digital editions of Guaman Poma’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (with John V. Murra and Jorge L. Urioste).

She has also introduced a new edition of Irving A. Leonard’s classic Books of the Brave (University of California Press, 1992) as well as its recent reissue in Spanish, Los libros del conquistador (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2006).

Rolena Adorno has been the recipient of the Graduate Mentor Award of the Graduate School of Yale University and a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Iowa, her alma mater.

She has held fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She holds an honorary professorship at La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and is an Honorary Associate of the Hispanic Society of America.

In November, 2009, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Adorno is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • MA, Yale University , 1996
  • PhD, Cornell University , 1974
  • MAT, University of Hartford , 1968
  • BA, University of Iowa, 1964
  • Colonial Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2011
  • "Censorship and Its Season: Madrid, 1615." The Yale Review 97:3 (2009)
  • De Guancane a Macondo. Estudios de literature hispanoamericana. Sevilla (Espana): Editorial Renacimiento, 2008.
  • The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007
International activities
  • Guaman Poma
    Denmark (2008-Present)
    Professor Adorno is the scholarly editor of the Guaman Poma website of the Royal Library of Denmark, in Copenhagen, an "online research center" devoted to early colonial Latin American history and culture, on the basis of rare manuscript holdings of the Royal Library and those of other research libraries in other countries. URL:

    Royal Library, Royal Library

Current projects

The Polemics of Possession in Early Spanish American Narrative, El barroco de Indias; Spanish American Literature from the Baroque to Romanticism

  • Honorary Professorship
  • Honorary Associate
  • Graduate Mentor Award
  • Fellow
  • Fellow
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow
  • Research Fellow
  • Research Grant
  • Appointed to National Council on the humanities, the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanties
  • Fellow
  • Fellow
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Assistant Professor of Spanish
    (1976 - 1980)
  • Associate Professor of Spanish, Syracuse University
    Syracuse University
    (1980 - 1985)
  • Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
    Ohio State University
    (1985 - 1987)
  • Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    (1987 - 1990)
  • Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
    Princeton University
    (1990 - 1996)
  • Professor of Latin American Literature
    Yale University
    (1996 - 2001)
  • Director of Graduate Studies
    Yale University
    (1997 - 2005)
  • Chair of Spanish and Portuguese Department
    Yale University
  • Director of Graduate Studies
    Yale University
    (2009 - 2009)