Isaías Lerner: In Memoriam

Dear Friends,

It is my sad task to inform you that our beloved colleague Isaías Lerner, Distinguished Professor of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages (HLBLL), passed away on January 8. Isaías graced our lives; he was deeply loved and will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to know him. His death will be mourned by scholars throughout the world.

Argentinian by birth and upbringing, Dr. Lerner taught in Buenos Aires until the 1966 military coup drove him into exile. After teaching at Lehman College for seven years, he was appointed to the doctoral faculty in 1978, served as executive officer from 1985 to1993, and transferred full-time to the Graduate Center in 1992. In 1999 he was appointed Distinguished Professor.

Acclaimed internationally for his work on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish literature, colonial Latin American literature, and the history of the Spanish language, Dr. Lerner was the author and editor of thirteen books and over a hundred articles and reviews. The two-volume annotated edition of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (a collaboration with another great scholar, Celina Sabor de Cortazar) is one of the great editions of Cervantes’ masterwork. His book Arcaísmos léxicos del español de América won the Augusto Malaret Prize from the Royal Spanish Academy.

The brilliance of his wide-ranging scholarship was matched by his dedication to his students. During his thirty-four years of service to the Graduate Center, he chaired thirty dissertations and served as second reader for forty-two.

We extend deep sympathies to his wife, Lía Schwartz, Distinguished Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature and former executive officer of the HLBLL program, and their daughter Bettina. A tribute at the Graduate Center is being planned for this spring.

In sadness,


William P. Kelly

Submitted on: JAN 15, 2013

Category: General GC News | Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures