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I was born in upstate New York and grew up in a farmhouse on 200 acres of former dairyland. My surroundings led to two lifelong interests: landscape and literature. My parents, both writers, seemed to think that literature was at least as compelling a way to understand the world as science, and so did most of their friends who came to dinner. I spent a great deal of time outdoors—not always by choice—and grew used to spittle-bug spittle, deer sign and spider webs stretched across my path.
When I started reading for my dissertation (now my book Cultivating Madrid), I was intrigued to find that the characters and narrators in many of the works that I was reading were far less tolerant of bugs and mud than I had been. The paths that nineteenth-century city dwellers chose to tread were straighter and the greenery less invasive. Looking more closely at how the country was viewed from the city, I began to see that nature had been accorded a peculiar place in urban culture. “If nature had been comfortable,” Oscar Wilde wrote, “then mankind would not have invented architecture.” And had it been orderly, neither would mankind have invented parks.
Much of my teaching and research have grown out of that interest in the tension between nature and architecture, order and artifice, conformity and the need for escape that shape our perception and use of “nature.” I teach all levels of Spanish language, culture, and literature classes at Holy Cross, and I genuinely enjoy working with my students to open up new horizons. In my classes, I invite students to join me in exploring the landscapes of language, literature, and culture to discover a sense of self and belonging.
Span 105/6 - Directed Independent Elementary Spanish I, II
Span 201/2 - Intermediate Spanish I, II
Span 301 - Composition and Conversation
Span 305 - Introduction to Textual Analysis
Span 308 - Readings in Spanish Literature: Landscapes of Spain
Span 403 - Topics in Modern Spanish Literature: Phantom Spain
Primary Research Interests:
- Public Gardens and Landscapes in Literature
- Landscape and National Formation in Spain
- 18th- and 19th-Century Urbanism
- Romanticism, Realism and the Novel (Spain and Latin America)
- Costumbrismo in Spain
Frost, Daniel. Cultivating Madrid: Public Space and Middle-Class Culture in the Spanish Capital, 1833-1890. Bucknell University Press, 2008.
---. “The Garden at Night: Revisiting Madrid’s Public landscapes in Valle-Inclán’s Luces de Bohemia and Baroja’s Noches del Buen Retiro," International Journal of Iberian Studies 26.1-2 (2013): 65-79.
---. "Public Gardens and Private Affairs in the Spanish Realist Novel." MLN 120 (2005): 314-334.