I am the Decker Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute, author, and frequent contributor to various publications. My research and teaching focus on Spanish and Latin American literature, literary theory, and the relation between literature and philosophy.
The attack on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 was a tragic illustration of the existential threat that the viral spread of disinformation poses in the age of social media and twenty-four-hour news. From climate change denialism to the frenzied conspiracy theories and racist mythologies that fuel antidemocratic white nationalist movements in the United States and abroad, What Would Cervantes Do? is a lucid meditation on the key role the humanities must play in dissecting and combatting all forms of disinformation.
David Castillo and William Egginton travel back to the early modern period, the first age of inflationary media, in search of historically tested strategies to overcome disinformation and shed light on our post-truth market. Through a series of critical conversations between cultural icons of the twenty-first century and those of the Spanish Golden Age, What Would Cervantes Do? provides a tour-de-force commentary on current politics and popular culture. Offering a diverse range of Cervantist comparative readings of contemporary cultural texts - movies, television shows, and infotainment - alongside ideas and issues from literary and cultural texts of early modern Spain, Castillo and Egginton present a new way of unpacking the logic of contemporary media.
What Would Cervantes Do? is an urgent and timely self-help manual for literary scholars and humanists of all stripes, and a powerful toolkit for reality literacy.
In the Press
Medialogies pushes the boundaries of scholarship across an impressive subject range. Castillo and Egginton have constructed an adventurous set of ideas that provide challenging new insights into the ways the various media plays a key role in the formation of our contemporary reality.
Anthony J. Cascardi,
Professor and Dean of Arts and Humanities, University of California Berkeley, USA on Medialogies
Egginton shines in his literary analysis, teasing out Cervantes’s genius in accessible prose and showing how Don Quixote paved the way for modern fiction by exploring its characters’ inner lives . . . An entertaining and thought-provoking reading of Cervantes’s masterpiece.
Publishers Weekly on
The Man Who Invented Fiction
Egginton devotes a large section of the book to one of the most vexing problems of our time (rampant inequality of both economic and social capital) and demonstrates the complicated and sometimes inadvertent ways in which our winner-take-all higher education system exacerbates and
locks this in.
New York Times Book Review on The Splintering of the American Mind
Egginton’s current book project, The Rigor of Angels, which explores the respective conceptions of reality in the thought of Borges, Kant, and Heisenberg, will be published by Pantheon.
He also has two further books in the works.
For Bloomsbury’s Philosophical Filmmakers series, he is writing a book on the philosophical, psychoanalytic, and surrealist dimensions of cinematic expression in the work of Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky; and, with David Castillo, he has written a sequel to Medialogies, What Would Cervantes Do? Navigating Post-Truth With Spanish Baroque Literature, to be published by McGill-Queens UP in 2021.