The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures Honors Dr. Harriet Goldberg with Virtual Symposium
By Kallie Stahl
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Villanova University honors Dr. Harriet Goldberg ’68 MA with a virtual symposium entitled “Transformed Bodies in Medieval Culture” on Saturday, March 13, at 10 a.m. The one-day conference presentations “seek to examine different forms of bodily transformation, to map out the limits of gender, and to think of the ways in which current discussion on gender and identity intertwine with our understanding of the past.”
Dr. Harriet Goldberg was a professor of Spanish literature at Villanova University for 30 years, passing away from cancer on Nov. 3, 2001. After raising her children, she resumed her education earning a MA from Villanova University in 1968, and completing her doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971—all while teaching at Villanova for two of those three years.
Author of five books, 31 articles, and 30 book reviews, Dr. Goldberg’s contributions to medieval Spanish folklore and oral traditions continue to resonate with scholars. As Samuel Armistead wrote, “Pathfinding and innovative…Harriet’s discerning, insightful approach to medieval and modern oral-traditional Spanish literature yielded especially significant results in her articles on two brief genres, whose treatment by earlier scholarship had hardly progressed beyond the mere compilation of alphabetical lists, unaccompanied by any attempt at interpreting or understanding the texts’ functions in context.”
It was this expertise, said Alan Deyermond, that distinguished her scholarship. “Goldberg’s ability to develop exciting methodological approaches is indeed as noteworthy as her ability to perceive the key issues raised by a text.”
While pursing her scholarship on “motif indexes of Spanish didactic narratives, Pan-Hispanic ballads, and epic legends,” Dr. Goldberg remained devoted to her family and her students; continuing to teach during her battle with cancer. Her legacy continues through groundbreaking research, her family, and the generations of Villanova students and colleagues who knew her.
For more of Dr. Goldberg’s works, explore Falvey Library’s collection. A complete list of her works are featured in Entra mayo y sale abril’: Medieval Spanish literary and folklore studies in memory of Harriet Goldberg by Manuel Da Costa Fontes and Joseph T. Snow (2005).
Armistead, S.G. (2005). Remembering Harriet Goldberg. In Fontes, M. d. C., & Snow, J. T. Entra mayo y sale abril’: Medieval Spanish literary and folklore studies in memory of Harriet Goldberg. (pp. 21-24). Juan de la Cuesta.
Deyermond, Alan D. (2005). Harriet Goldberg, 1926—2001. In Fontes, M. d. C., & Snow, J. T. Entra mayo y sale abril’: Medieval Spanish literary and folklore studies in memory of Harriet Goldberg. (pp. 25-29). Juan de la Cuesta.