Dr Sheldon Penn

Personal Details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision

Lecturer in Latin American Studies

Dr Sheldon Penn

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2666

Email: scp10@le.ac.uk

Office: 1103, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


I am lecturer in Latin American Studies, specialising in twentieth-century Mexican literature and cultural thought. I also work on Mexican film and the cinema of Luis Buñuel. I taught at the University of Birmingham where I studied for my PhD. I have been Section Coordinator for Spanish and Latin American Studies, and Co-Director of Modern Languages. I have twice been Director of Teaching and Learning and have been Examinations Officer and Year Abroad Coordinator in the School. I am currently holder of the Leverhulme Fellowship, ‘Mexican Time and Identity: Bergson and Bergsonism in Literature and Film’.


  • BA, Hispanic Studies, University of Nottingham
  • MA, Critical Theory, University of Nottingham
  • PhD, Hispanic Studies, University of Birmingham)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy



  • Carlos Fuentes’s Terra nostra and the Kabbalah: The Recreation of the Hispanic World (Lewiston, N.Y; Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003), 300pp

Journal articles

  • The gaze and the Virgin: Marian dimensions of Luis Buñuel's Viridiana', Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies, 2/2 (2018), pp. 215-240
  • 'Visión de Anáhuac (1519) as Virtual Image: Alfonso Reyes's Bergsonian Aesthetic of Creative Evolution', Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 21/2 (2015), pp. 127 – 146
  • 'The Time-Image in Carlos Reygadas' Stellet Licht: A Cinema of Immanence', Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 90/7 (2013), pp. 1159 – 1181
  • ‘Oneiric Landscapes of Creation: Visions of Life and Death in José Gorostiza’s Muerte sin fin’, Romance Studies, 29/4 (2011), pp. 255-68
  • ‘Matter, Memory and Pre-Hispanic Myth: The Poetry of Bernardo Ortiz de Montellano’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 88/6, (September 2011), pp. 665-76
  • 'Lacanian Textuality in Carlos Fuentes’s Aura and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw', Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 83/4, (July 2006), pp. 385-400
  • 'From L'Âge d'or to El día de la Bestia: Between the Ideal and the Unspeakable', Tesserae: Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 11/1, (April 2005), pp. 25-37

Book chapters

  • 'Naturalism and Spirit in the Films of Carlos Reygadas: Towards a Mobile Consciousness', in The Films of Carlos Reygadas (ReFocus, Edinburgh U.P.) forthcoming
  • 'On a Road to Nowhere: Parodic Movement as Time-Image in La Voie lactée and Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie', in Rob Stone and Julián Daniel Gutiérrez Albilla (eds), A Companion to Luis Buñuel, (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), pp.457 -478
  • 'Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Twentieth-Century Mexican Literature: The Hermetic Quest’, in Jean Andrews and Alejandro Coroleu (eds), Mexico 1680: cultural and intellectual life in the “Barroco de Indias” (Bristol: HiPLAM, 2007), pp. 221-237
  • ‘Carlos Fuentes’, in Bertens, Hans and Natoli, Joseph (eds), Postmodernism: The Key Figures (Malden, Massachusetts and Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 149-54

On-line Publications

  • 'Alfonso Reyes', The Literary Encyclopedia, Vol 4.1.3, Hispanic Writing and Culture of Central America and the Caribbean, https://www.litencyc.com/ (Sept. 2017)


  • Violence and Naming: On Mexico and the Promise of Literature, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 97/6 (2020), pp. 1073-74
  • In Search of the Sacred Book: Religion and the Contemporary Latin American Novel, Bulletin of Latin American Research, 39/3 (2020), pp. 412-13
  • Reprojecting the City: Urban Space and Dissident Sexualities in Recent Latin American Cinema, Benedict Hoff, Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies, 2/2 (2018), pp. 339-40
  • The Classical Mexican Cinema: Poetics of the Exceptional in Golden Age Films, Charles Ramírez Berg, Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies, 2/1 (2018), pp. 138-139
  • Estrategías y figuraciones de lo insólito en la narrative Mexicana (siglos XIX-XXI), Javier Ordiz (ed.), Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 94/5 (2017), pp. 912-13
  • Experimental Latin American Cinema: History and Aesthetics, Cynthia Tompkins, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 92/4 (2015), pp. 648-649
  • Benito Pérez Galdós en el cine mexicano: literature y cine, John H. Sinnigen, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 88/2 (2011), pp. 296-97
  • The Underdogs: Pictures and Scenes from the Present Revolution. A Translation of Mariano Azuela’s ‘Los de abajo’ with Related Texts, translated with an introduction by Gustavo Pellón, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 862 (2009), pp. 286-87
  • El laberinto de la soledad, Octavio Paz, edited with an introduction, critical analysis, notes and vocabulary by Anthony Stanton, Vida Hispánica, 39, (Spring 2009), pp. 27-8
  • A Companion to Luis Buñuel, Gwynne Edwards, MLR, 103/1 (2008), pp. 258-59
  • Literary Adaptations in Spanish Cinema, Sally Faulkner, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 10/2, (December 2004), pp. 238-40


My current main area of research is twentieth-century Mexican literature (the novel, short fiction and poetry) and cultural thought. I also publish on Mexican film, particularly the work of the director Carlos Reygadas and the cinema of Luis Buñuel from all periods of his career. My work is focussed through philosophy and critical theory, with the aim of situating Mexican aesthetic expression within discourses of political and cultural identity. Much of my research examines the multiple strands that combine in Mexican dialogues shaping the cultural identity of modernity, particularly with respect to the revolutionary and post-revolutionary era. As such, my work is often concerned with the polemic of cultural syncretism in Mexico. My current project is a monograph Mexican Time and Identity: Bergson and Bergsonism in Literature and Film made possible by the award of a Leverhulme Fellowship awarded in 2018. This project traces the influence of Henri Bergson and Bergsonian ideas in key literary and cinematic movements from the first decades of the twentieth century to the present day.

I publish in leading journals such as The Bulletin of Spanish Studies, The Bulletin of Hispanic Studies and The Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies and have a forthcoming chapter in a volume on Carlos Reygadas that will be published by Edinburgh U.P.



I would welcome enquiries from students interested in doctoral research in any of the following areas:

  • Twentieth-century and contemporary Mexican literature
  • Mexican and Latin American film
  • Luis Buñuel
  • The cultural theory of Mexican and Latin American modernity.
  • Theology and the esoteric in Mexican and Latin American literature
  • The application of philosophy and critical theory in Mexican and Latin American literature and film.
  • Surrealism in Mexico and Latin America.


I supervised the following students, who have now completed their PhD:

  • Emma Staniland (Gender and identity in Latin American women’s writing)
  • Yvonne Cornejo (Latin American dystopian science fiction cinema)
  • Marc Ripley (Space in the Cinema of Luis Buñuel)

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