Fernando Martínez Periset

Ph.D. Student in Comparative Literature, admitted Autumn 2022
2022: MPhil, Classics, Trinity College Dublin
2021: MPhil, European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures, University of Cambridge
2020: B.A., Liberal Arts English literature and French (with Philosophy), Durham University
Erasmus +, French and Comparative Literature, Sorbonne Université

Hello, this is Fernando. Thanks for stopping by! Before joining Stanford's department of Comparative Literature as a doctoral student in 2022, I trained as a comparatist at Durham, the Sorbonne, Cambridge and Trinity College Dublin. At Stanford, I hope to be able to work with Roland Greene, Joshua Landy, Blair Hoxby and Patricia Parker as I continue to make progress in the program.

In terms of research interests, the main issue I keep coming back to (which partly derives from my own international experiences) is how to make sense of cultural change in its different manifestations. How and why do intercultural encounters function as driving forces of creativity and originality? With a focus on big-picture thinking, interdisciplinary approaches and global perspectives in the study of cultural history, I see such creative practices at work in the overlaps among literature, art history and philosophy, particularly continental philosophy. More precisely, my research deals with two broad axes: how classical theories of ethics and subjectivity (like Stoicism and Epicureanism) produced changes in societal values within Early Modern culture, and how the Renaissance, in turn, shaped attitudes to selfhood in later movements, especially Romanticism. From the standpoint of transhistorical reception studies, I like to explore the inner lives of people from the past as a way of finding answers for our own present. Specific topics of interest include the intersections of literary forms with the history of emotions, the history of ethics, cognitive anthropology, migrations, intellectual history and religion. I like poetry (both studying it and writing it) and the epic tradition as well as theatre. Beyond French, Latin, Spanish and English, I am currently expanding into Portuguese and Arabic.

Some of my favourite authors include figures from Classical Antiquity and Early Modernity, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Montaigne, Racine, Seneca, Lucretius, Virgil, Quevedo, but also more recent figures whose work intervenes in and develops preexisting structures of ethics and emotions such as Byron, Camus, and Sartre. I look forward to discovering new, exciting figures.

Some of my most recent essays have discussed Shakespeare and Molière:

Published by the 'Shakespeare Seminar Online' of the Deutsche Shakespeare Gesellshaft (available here: https://shakespeare-gesellschaft.de/wp-content/uploads/SSO2021_Issue-18…), my piece on Shakespeare and Machiavelli reconsiders the apparent contradiction between religious thought and power politics. It argues that, read against the backdrop of theological theories of the Fall, Shakespeare's history plays repeatedly show that political leaders fail whenever they fail to embrace the necessity of Machiavellianism: the prince must get his hands dirty. What I call 'Shakespeare's Augustinian Machiavellianism' refers to a vision of leadership in which successful rule always requires the inescapable costs of moral compromise. This article has received the following comments:

"This is a smart and perceptive argument that makes us rethink the relationship between religion and Realpolitik in Shakespeare and his age." Julia R. Lupton, University of California, Irvine.

"[A]dmirably balanced and informative" Stephen Orgel, Stanford University.

My essay on Molière appeared in 'Renaissance Papers 2021' (Boydell & Brewer). It considers how categories theorized in cultural anthropology and the history of emotions might explain tonal and generic shifts in Molière's comedies, as well as the psycho-affective changes his characters experience.

I am currently working on a project on Milton and the classical tradition.

On a different note, I am a big fan of music from the 70s and 80s, especially British rock, glam and pop... (Queen have been my favourite group since I was 8!). I love cats.

I would be delighted to hear from students and researchers (from Stanford and beyond!) with whom I could share intellectual interests, so please feel free to drop me a line.



Research Unit Groups

Research Interests

  • Comparative Studies


  • Humanism


  • Intellectual History


  • Philosophy and Literature


  • Poetry and Poetics


  • Renaissance


  • Transatlantic Studies