CEEH Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica

Great French Cervantes scholar Jean Canavaggio dies

Jean Canavaggio, a renowned international Hispanist, has died in Paris aged 87, still active and with the admirable lucidity that characterised him, after a life dedicated to Cervantes and Don Quixote. Formerly emeritus professor of Spanish Literature at Paris West University Nanterre, he was the director of the Casa de Velázquez and won many awards, including the Grand Cross of the Order of Alfonso X the Wise and the Goncourt Biography Prize for Cervantes, which, as José Manuel Lucía Mejías recently stated, is ‘one of the most influential and necessary [biographies] of the entire 20th century’. Besides publishing many other studies, he coordinated a Historia de la literatura española and was editor of a new French translation of Cervantes’s works in prose for Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.

At CEEH we are immensely lucky to have benefited from his collaboration as a member of the advisory committee and to have published two of his most prominent recent works, Les Espagnes de Mérimée and Diccionario Cervantes, which remain as tokens of our admiration for his legacy. We deeply regret the loss of this scholar and friend, a fine editor and an intelligent and likeable man to whom we are grateful for his many years of advice, support, conversation and mastery, and join his family, friends, students and readers in expressing our condolences.