Humberto E. Robles

Humberto E. Robles

Humberto E. Robles (Manta, Manabí, Aug 18, 1938 – Miami, May 20, 2021) was an Ecuadorian writer and a renowned specialist in Ecuadorian and Latin American literatures. He retired from Northwestern University in 2003 after teaching for over 30 years and maintained a remarkable level of scholarly productivity until his death. His notable accomplishments included being named a member of the Ecuadorian Academy of Language, a prestigious cultural institution in Latin America. Professor Robles’s research focused on various topics within Spanish American literature, and he contributed extensively to encyclopedias, journals, and book collections. He authored several influential books and held significant academic positions throughout his career, making significant contributions to the field of literature.

Teaching career

Throughout his distinguished teaching career, Professor Humberto E. Robles made significant contributions to the field of literature. He began his teaching journey at The University of Chicago, where he taught from 1966 to 1970 before joining the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University. At Northwestern, he dedicated over three decades to educating students and sharing his expertise. As a respected professor, he played a pivotal role in shaping the academic landscape of the department and served as the chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese from 1989 to 1992. Professor Robles also had the opportunity to expand his impact beyond Northwestern, serving as a visiting professor at The University of Chicago and the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito. His passion for teaching extended to the international realm, as he also took charge of Northwestern University’s Program at Seville from 1986 to 1992, further enriching the academic experiences of his students.


Professor Humberto Robles pursued a robust educational journey that played a pivotal role in shaping his intellectual pursuits. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Queens College of the City University of New York in 1961. Following that, he embarked on his academic path at Columbia University in the same year. However, his quest for knowledge led him to Northwestern University, where he earned his Master of Arts degree in August 1962. Continuing his scholarly pursuits, Professor Robles further pursued his education at Northwestern University, culminating in the completion of his Ph.D. in August 1968. This comprehensive educational background provided him with a solid foundation for his future career as a distinguished specialist in Ecuadorian and Latin American literatures.

Partial list of academic organizations he belonged to

  • Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana
  • Latin American Studies Association
  • Sociedad de Ecuatorianistas
  • Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas
  • Midwest Modern Language Association
  • Modern Language Association
  • American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese
  • The American Society for Aesthetics

Awards and accolades

  • Induction into the Academia Ecuatoriana de la Lengua (Ecuadorian Academy of Language) in 2013.
  • Martin J. and Patricia Koldyke Teaching Professorship at Northwestern University (1992-1994).
  • Two SAB Outstanding Awards for Teaching (1975, 1983).
  • Accesit prize from EL INSTITUTO HILIAR for his book “Testimonio y tendencia mítica” (1976).
  • Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University (1989-1992).
  • Visiting professorships at The University of Chicago and the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito.
  • Membership in half a dozen professional organizations.
  • Editorial board membership for journals like Kipus and Guaraguao.

Please note that this list may not include all of Professor Humberto Robles’ accolades and awards, but it highlights some of the significant ones he received throughout his career.

Selected works

Here is a partial list of books authored, co-authored, or edited by Professor Humberto Robles:

  • “Testimonio y tendencia mítica en la obra de José de la Cuadra” (1976)
  • “Los poemas más representativos de Plácido” (1976)
  • “La noción de vanguardia en el Ecuador: Recepción, trayectoria y documentos, 1918-1934” (1989, 2nd ed. 2006)
  • “El montuvio ecuatoriano. Ensayo de presentación” (1996, 2nd ed. 2009)
  • “De Pigafetta a Borges. Ensayos sobre América Latina” (2008)
  • “Aires de Ellicott City o el ardiente cortejo” (2008)
  • “Hacia Ecuadores y allende: Michaux y su Journal de Voyage” (2016)
  • “Imagen e idea de Guayaquil” (2019)

Additionally, at the time of his passing, Professor Robles was working on his latest project titled “La inasible imago mundi de Malabares en su tinta de Iván Égüez.”

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