Monica Leoni

Monica Leoni

Associate Professor

Director of Special Programs

Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies
University of Waterloo
Waterloo ON N2L 3G1

519-888-4567 x 42923

University degrees

  • Ph.D. University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario 1998
    Major Field of Research: Spanish Literature of the Golden Age
    Minor Field of Research: Latin American Literature, Spanish Linguistics
    Dissertation Title: The Gracioso in Golden Age Theatre and the Commedia dell’Arte Tradition
  • M.A. University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario 1993
    Thesis: La mirada posesiva en El pintor de su deshonra de Pedro Calderón de la Barca
    B.A. Honours , University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario 1992
    French Honours, Spanish Specialization

Teaching and research interests

  • Early Modern Spanish Prose and Theater
  • Early Modern Hispanic Female Writers
  • Italian Commedia Dell'Arte Tradition


Painting of  Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Miguel Cabrera
  • Recipient of the UW Distinguished Teaching Award, 2008
  • Recipient of the OUSA (Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance) Teaching Excellence Award, 2008
  • Recipient of the Outstanding Performance Award, 2019



Οutside...Inside...Aside: Dialoguing with the Gracioso in Spanish Golden Age Theatre. New Orleans, Louisiana: University Press of the South, 2000. (iii + 162 pp.)

Chapter in a book

“Silence is/as Golden...Age Device: Ana Caro’s Eloquent Reticence in Valor, agravio y mujer”. Women in the Discourse of Early Modern Spain. Ed. Joan F. Cammarata. Gainsville: University Press of Florida, 2003. 199-212. Refereed volume.

Selected publications

Commedia dell'arte
  • “Agustín Moreto’s El Lindo don Diego: Scrutinizing the Masculinities at Play.” Peculiar Lives in Early Modern Spain: Essays Celebrating Amy Williamsen Volume 1. Edited by Robert Bayliss and Judith G. Caballero. University Press of the South, 2020, pp 139-154.

  • "María de Zayas and La traición en la amistad: The Convenient Demonization of Fenisa,” Bulletin of the Comediantes 59.1 (2007): 149-166.
  • “María de Zayas’s La traición en la amistad: Female Friendship Politicized?”. South Atlantic Review. 68.4 (Fall 2003): 62-84.
  • “Abriendo cajitas chinas: Magia múltiple en la obra de Ana Caro: Otra consideración de El conde Partinuplés (1640?)”. [Opening Chinese Boxes: Multiple Magic in the work of Ana Caro – Another Look at El conde Partinuplés (1640?)] Revista Literaria Baquiana Anuario V(2003-2004): 142-152. 
  • “Court Culture and Moreto’s El lindo don Diego: Are You In, Or Are You Out?,” Bulletin of the Comediantes 50.2 (Winter 1998): 387-404.
  • “Tirso de Molina’s Don Gil de las calzas verdes: The Fluidity of Gender and the Marginalized Gracioso Figure,” Scripta Meditteranea (Vol. 8 1997): 59-71.

Selected conference papers

  • Portraint of Teresa of Ávila
    “Love, Liberty, and the Quest for Happiness in María de Zayas”. North East Modern Language Association (NeMLA), Buffalo, NY, April 10-13, 2008.
  • “María de Zayas’s La traición en la amistad: The Need for the Other”. Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, York University, May 27-30, 2006.
  • “María de Zayas’s La traición en la amistad: The Demonization of Fenisa”. North East Modern Language Association (NEMLA), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 1-5, 2006.
  • “The Pleasures of Victimization: Fenisa’s Fall in Maria de Zayas’s La traición en la amistad”.Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario, May 28-June 5, 2005.
  • “María de Zayas's "La traición en la amistad": Female Friendships or Astute Alliances?” North East Modern Language Association (NEMLA), Boston, Massachusetts, March 6-9, 2003.
  • “Shape Shifting Caution: Transformations of the Female Tale in María de Zayas,” ACH (Asociación Canadiense de Hispanistas), Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, Toronto, Ontario May 25-28, 2002.
  • “María de Zayas and her “Love Stories”: Re-framing “Female” Fiction” NEMLA, (North East Modern Language Association), Hartford, Connecticut, March 30-31, 2001.
  • “Rhetorical Reserves in Ana Caro’s Valor, agravio y mujer” SAMLA (South Atlantic Modern Language Association) Meeting, Birmingham, Alabama, November 10-12, 2000.
  • “Figuring the figurón: The Ins and Outs of Decisive Derisiveness,” Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, Lexington, Kentucky, April 27-29, 2000.
  • “Opening Pandora’s Box / Abriendo Cajitas Chinitas: Multiple Magic in Ana Caro’s El Conde Partinuplés,” NEMLA (North Eastern Modern Language Association) Meeting, Buffalo, April 6-9, 2000.
  • “Talk is Cheap: Ana Caro’s Parameters of Silence,” NEMLA (North Eastern Modern Language Association) Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 16-17, 1999.
  • “The Paradoxical Role of Power in Moreto’s El Lindo don Diego,” The Congress of the Social Sciences and the Humanities, Asociación Canadiense de Hispanistas. University of Ottawa, May 28, 1998.
  • “Ana Caro’s Valor, agravio y mujer: Flora’s Absence / Presence”. American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) Meeting, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, November 15, 1997.
  • “Ana Caro’s Valor, agravio y mujer and the Italian Commedia dell’Arte Tradition: The Case of the Criada”. Women Writers of Later Medieval and Early Modern Spain and Colonial Latin America Conference, University of Virginia, Charlottesville,Virginia, October 30-November 1, 1997.

Courses teaching/taught

Course Number Title
SPAN 201A/B Intermediate Spanish
SPAN 326 Theatre of the Spanish Golden Age: Texts and Cultural Contexts
SPAN 390 Introduction to Spanish Business Translation
SPAN 430 Literary Women in Early Modern Hispanic Culture
Cover of book