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Dr. Hildegard Rissel, A Remembrance

“I am found in these deserts and solitudes, in quest of adventures.”

–Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote, trans. Tobis Smollett (Dublin, 1796).

The Virginia Normal and the Department of Languages & Literature suffered the loss of our beloved colleague, Dr. Hildegard Rissel, this past spring.

Dr. Rissel earned her B.A. and M.S. in French with a Spanish minor and her Ph.D. in Spanish Literature (Golden Age) with minors in Spanish linguistics and French from Georgetown University. She was Assistant Professor of Spanish from 1996 to 2001 and Associate Professor of Spanish from 2001 until her death in 2018 in the Department of Languages and Literature (VSU). She was admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

Some of her publications include: Three Plays by Moreto and Their Adaptations in France (Peter Lang, 1995) and “Agustín Moreto y Cabaña: A Transitional Playwright and His Heroines” in The Bulletin of the Comediantes, vol. 46, no. 2, 1994.

Her recent presentations focused on Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote (Madrid, 1605), such as “Mujeres esquivas: Marcela en el Quijote cervantino y Diane en El desdén con el desdén moretiano” (2016) and “Mujeres en el Quijote y en Las novelas ejemplares: ¿Cómo enfrentar la traición masculina?” (2014).

Dr. Rissel will be dearly remembered by all lovers of languages at Virginia State University. Her life was celebrated at a memorial service on May 1, 2018 on VSU’s campus. During the celebration, her colleague, Dr. Mario Mantilla, shared a poem that he wrote in her honor. Click here to read the poem in Spanish; click here to read the poem in English.

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