Scholar Ciriaco Moron Arroyo, an expert in the literature of Spain's Golden Age, was announced here Friday as the winner of the 27th Menendez Pelayo International Prize, conferred jointly by Santander-based Menendez Pelayo International University, or UIMP, and the Colegio de Mexico.

UIMP chancellor Cesar Nombela announced at a press conference the jury's choice for the award, which has gone in the past to such literary icons as Mario Vargas Llosa, Jose Luis Sampedro, Octavio Paz and Mario Benedetti.

The award, sponsored by German utility E.ON, includes a cash prize of $39,311 and will be given to the humanist and philologist on a date yet to be determined, Nombela said.

In a statement to Efe, Moron said he received the news with "immense gratitude" for being awarded this honor despite dedicating "41 years to teaching in the United States while remaining virtually out of sight in Spain."

He also admitted he feels "a little confused" at being allowed onto the list of Menedez Pelayo winners with such "great figures" as Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, Víctor Garcia de la Concha and so many more.

He also said that as a "perpetual student" he wants "to be worthy" of the trust the jury has placed in him with this "prestigious prize."

Moron, 78, is professor emeritus of Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature at Cornell University in New York.