Areas of interest: nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish literature, history, and culture; comparative literature; interdisciplinary approaches to modern Spanish culture; Spanish Civil War; religion and literature; Federico García Lorca.
In 2010 Valis published Sacred Realism: Religion and the Imagination in Modern Spanish Narrative (Yale University Press) and La cultura de la cursilería: Mal gusto, clase y kitsch en la España moderna (Antonio Machado Libros, Col. Pensamiento).
She is the author of The Decadent Vision in Leopoldo Alas: A Study of “La Regenta” and “Su único hijo” (LSU Press, 1981); The Novels of Jacinto Octavio Picón (Bucknell University Press, 1986; Spanish trans., 1991), and Reading the Nineteenth-Century Spanish Novel: Selected Essays (Juan de la Cuesta, 2005).
Valis’s The Culture of Cursilería: Bad Taste, Kitsch and Class in Modern Spain (Duke University Press) won the Modern Language Association’s 2003 Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize.
Her translation of Burning Cartography, poetry by Noni Benegas (Host Publications, 2007; 2nd ed., 2011), won the New England Council of Latin American Studies Best Book Translation Prize in 2008.
She has also translated Pedro Salinas’s Víspera del gozo (Prelude to Pleasure) (1993); Las conjuradoras: Antología bilingüe de seis poetas norteamericanas de hoy (1993); The Poetry of Julia Uceda (1995); and The Poetry of Sara Pujol Russell (2005).
Valis’s bibliographical work includes Leopoldo Alas (Clarín): An Annotated Bibliography (1986) and Leopoldo Alas (Clarín): An Annotated Bibliography. Supplement I (2002).
She is the editor of In the Feminine Mode: Essays on Hispanic Women Writers (with Carol Maier) (1990; 2nd ed., 1995); “Malevolent Insemination” and Other Essays on Clarín (1990); Jacinto Octavio Picón’s La hijastra del amor (1990); José María de Pereda’s Bocetos al temple (Obras completas, vol. 3, 1990); and Carolina Coronado’s Poesías (1991). In 2007, she edited Teaching Representations of the Spanish Civil War (Modern Language Association).
Her poetry appears in Mi casa me recuerda / My House Remembers Me (2003).
A novella, The Labor of Longing (Main Street Rag Publishing), appeared in 2014 and was a Finalist for the Prize Americana for Prose and a Finalist in the Novella and Regional Fiction categories of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Two Confessions, essays by María Zambrano and Rosa Chacel, translated by Noël Valis and Carol Maier, with an introduction, afterword, and annotations (SUNY Press), appeared in 2015 (paperback, 2016).
Reading Twentieth-Century Spanish Literature: Selected Essays (Juan de la Cuesta) was published in 2016.
Also from 2016 is an edition, with introduction and notes, of a rediscovered gay novel from 1929, Pedro Badanelli’s Serenata del amor triunfante (Sevilla: Renacimiento). In 2017, Realismo sagrado: Religión e imaginación en la narrativa española moderna (Barcelona: Calambur) appeared.
She has served on 31 boards of journals and presses, including the Editorial Board of PMLA.
Valis is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She is a Full Member of the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (Correspondiente de la Real Academia Española) and a Corresponding Member of the Real Academia Española. In 2017, she won the Victoria Urbano Academic Achievement Prize / Premio Victoria Urbano de Reconocimiento Académico, given by the Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica, for her work in Hispanic women’s and gender studies. In 2019, she received a presidential appointment as a member of the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.