Research Profile

Seana Ryan


I graduated from NUI-Galway in 1998 with a BA in French and Spanish and from UCC with an MA in Spanish in 1999 and most recently a PhD in Hispanic Studies in 2010. My doctoral thesis was based on four novels by Javier Marías.  I have been a member of the Department of Hispanic Studies since 1998 and currently lecture in Spanish-English Comparative/Contrastive Linguistics as well as on the core language courses. I have also been a Government of Ireland Scholar since 2004. 

Research Interests

  • Contemporary Spanish literature

My principal research interest lies in the area of contemporary Spanish literature, with particular reference to the work of Javier Marías.

 The work of Javier Marías, one of Spain’s foremost contemporary novelists, has been a key research interest over the past nine years.  My PhD thesis, ‘Imagining the past, knowing the future: An exploration of fiction, memory and history in Javier Marías’s Todas las almas,  Negra espalda del tiempo and Tu rostro mañana’, which I completed in 2010, constitutes a detailed exploration of these three novels. Informing this analysis was an examination of the interrelationship between these works, in the light of Javier Marías’s literary journey from an apparent antipathy towards all things Spanish to a willingness to confront the past and the memories buried therein. . Through his fictional re-imagining in these works of the Civil War years and the succeeding years of dictatorship, the desire to give a voice to the silenced victims of past wars, including members of his own family, leads to the creation of works which, in that space between the real and the imagined, the past and the present,  have formed a unique fictional discourse which may or may not be a part of the wider Spanish movement towards remembrance and acknowledgement of a tragic and violent war, which up until quite recently remained buried in the collective unconscious of  Spanish society. This thesis is the first such analysis of these three novels, and contributes  to the existing body of research on Javier Marías, and to the study of contemporary Spanish literature in general.

The work of Javier Cercas is also an area of interest, particularly the novels Soldados de Salamina and Anatomía de un momento. A contemporary of Javier Marías, Javier Cercas’s novels share a certain commonality of theme with those of the latter, through their narrative focus on an exploration of the past through fiction, and on the recovery of memory, albeit from a slightly different political perspective. Building on the research undertaken for my doctorate, I am currently working on the relationship between Soldados de Salamina, La velocidad de la luz, Todas las almas and Negra espalda del tiempo.

  •  Comparative Linguistics

I have had a research interest in Linguistics since completing my Master’s thesis on translation in 1999. Since 2001, I have taught Linguistics at undergraduate level, and have had the opportunity to pursue my research interest in this area, particularly in the area of Second Language Acquisition. Since 2009, as part of the development of a Linguistics module designed for final-year students, I have also carried out research on the evolution of Spanglish in the U.S., and the survival of Spanish-based creoles in areas such as Colombia, the Philippines and the Caribbean.  

Teaching Activities

Modules Taught

 Term (ID))TitleLinkSubject
2014Linguistic Aspects of Spanish as a Global Language HS3008Linguistic Aspects of Spanish as a Global Language
2014Linguistic Aspects of Spanish HS2026Linguistic Aspects of Spanish

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Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

First Floor - Block B East O'Rahilly Building University College Cork Ireland