Faculty to Remember: Juan Alonso, Professor Emeritus
The Department of Romance Studies sadly announces the passing of its emeritus professor, Juan Alonso, who taught World Literature and Creative Writing at Tufts from 1962-2014. In addition to two collections of short stories, he wrote numerous novels, among them: The Chipped Wall, The Passion of Robert Bronson, Althea (the Divorce of Adam and Eve), Killing the Mandarin, and Alma. Born in Argentina, the son of a distinguished Spanish philologist and literary critic, anchored in the U.S. where he studied, worked, and built a family, Professor Alonso understood the complexities of belonging to different cultures. In a 2015 interview he explained why he wrote fiction in English: “I am of the opinion that one’s country is not so much a zone as it is a language,” adding “I live in English. That is where I reside.” Professor Alonso spoke many languages through literature. Literature allowed him to explore and understand reality, something his students greatly appreciated. As a former student remarked, “I loved the way he taught and how he looked at the world.” Juan Alonso thrived when discussing books and characters, oftentimes interjecting a playful comment with a grin, reminding us there was always more to uncover. That is how we will remember him. His love of elephants keeps him even closer to Tufts.