Amanda S. Meixell, Ph.D.

Department: Langs., Lits. & Cultures

Associate Professor of Spanish

  • Education
  • PHD, Pennsylvania State University
  • MA, New York University
  • BA, Franklin and Marshall College

Ever since I started studying Spanish in high school, I've loved it. My teachers were the best, always talking about Spanish-speaking cultures and countries, and I couldn't get enough of it!

When I got to college, I wanted to try new courses, yet knew I was going to continue with Spanish no matter what. I lucked out again-my Spanish professors were excellent too! They knew I liked learning about languages and cultures from around the world, and encouraged me to try anthropology-a subject I didn't know about-and to study abroad. So I took Intro to Anthropology, fell in love with that too, and ended up with a double major. I also spent a semester abroad in Seville, Spain, one of the best things I've ever done and something I would repeat a few years later when I lived in Madrid for a year working on my master's degree. 

It was a medieval Spanish literature professor I had the good fortune of meeting right when toying with the idea of going back to school who encouraged me to pursue a master's degree. She was an inspiration, and I wouldn't trade my year in Madrid for the world! Next, I pursued a Ph. D. as a way to keep learning. And that's when I met Professor Frederick de Armas, the best advisor anyone could ever ask for! 

Now, it's my honor and privilege to teach, and what joy it brings. I'm grateful to all of my teachers and feel blessed to be one. Here at SU, I love working with students and in many ways still feel like one, eager to keep learning about the languages and cultures we're passionate about!

While I have many areas of interest in the broad field of Hispanic languages and literatures, my research focuses on Spanish medieval and Renaissance literature.  I'm fascinated with Old and Early Modern Spanish, and love reading and interpreting old texts within their complex social and cultural contexts, particularly medieval romance with its sophisticated tales of love and adventure.  These works are much more than escapist literature.  Reflecting the socio-cultural contexts of their creators, they are complex historical texts that engage the problems and concerns of their day.  

Through my research, I seek to contribute to scholarship on Spanish Arthurianism in Golden Age literature.  I examine the influence of medieval literature and traditions, primarily those of the Arthurian Cycle, in plays from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a period of great intellectual achievement and creative outburst in the history of the Spanish realms.  Merlin, the Arthurian enchanter, is the focus of much of my work.  I explore why Merlin, the literary prophet and wizard of Arthurian romance, has important roles in Spanish Golden Age literature that has little, if anything, to do with the legendary king or his Round Table.  Not only does Merlin captivate me, the complexity of his character makes it possible to access many layers of (inter) textuality and contextuality in the Golden Age pieces in which he appears.  

To be sure, Merlin provides a lens through which I examine historical, political, philosophical, and cultural concerns of texts, opening the door to thought-provoking new readings of plays from one of the most important branches of European Renaissance theater.  The many facets of Merlin's character have led my work in diverse directions, from exploration of male and female relationships in Early Modern Spain to the power of rational thinking at the dawn of the Age of Reason or the socio-political context surrounding the production of England's deluxe 1738 edition of Don Quixote. Right now, I'm exploring Merlin in a play by Luis Velez de Guevara, examining his character in connection with the cultural-political context of the Spanish Match of the early seventeenth century.  Also, I'm working on a book-length manuscript that seeks to  provide a comprehensive view of the character Merlin in Early Modern literature with a particular focus on the works of Lope de Vega, Cervantes, and Calderón de la Barca, three of the greatest writers of the period. 



Courses taught:

  • SPAN-101 Beginning Spanish I
  • SPAN-102 Beginning Spanish II
  • SPAN-103 Introduction to College Spanish I
  • SPAN-104 Introduction to College Spanish II
  • SPAN-301 Advanced Conversation & Oral Expression
  • SPAN-302 Grammar and Composition