Carroll B. Johnson
Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
UC Los Angeles
1938 – 2007
Professor Carroll B. Johnson, an influential expert on the Spanish Golden Age, passed away from a stroke on April 3, 2007 in Chicago at the age of 69. A Los Angeles native who spent his entire academic career at UCLA, Carroll was past president of the Cervantes Society of America and editor of the scholarly journal Cervantes.
After graduating from UCLA in 1960 with a degree in Spanish, Carroll continued on to receive a master’s degree in Spanish. He received his doctorate from Harvard University in Romance Languages and Literature in 1966. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1964 as an acting assistant professor. He became a full professor in 1976 and continued teaching until his death. In his 43-year tenure at UCLA, Carroll had been the chair of the Spanish department for an unprecedented 13 years in three separate tenures. Carroll was known for insightful and groundbreaking research, particularly in his 1983 book Madness and Lust: A Psychoanalytical Approach to Don Quixote. He later wrote from a socioeconomic perspective in Cervantes and the Material World.
Carroll’s study of Cervantes led him to become the chair of the Cervantes Society of America from 1997 to 2000, and in 2005 he oversaw a month-long celebration at UCLA marking the 400th anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote, the tragicomic novel about a self-styled knight-errant on a quest to restore chivalry to the world. The event included a marathon reading of the novel by students along with films and scholarly talks, including an address by Carroll for the 98th in the University's Faculty Research Lecture series.
Carroll also excelled in the classroom, and his students praised his unfailingly generous support of their research and the demanding academic standards he set for both them and himself. He set the benchmark for academic excellence, service to the profession, university service, teaching, and collegiality.