As a specialist in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, theater and intellectual history, my work is driven by a concern with the dynamic interaction between texts and their aesthetic and historical framework. More specifically, I am interested in how individual works play in deeply surprising ways with social norms and literary expectations. In practice, these concerns led me from my first book on Molière, an examination of the contentious exchange between playwright and audience that gave birth to modern satirical comedy (The Public Mirror), to my recent book re-evaluating the creative conflict between ancient literature and early-modern ideals (The Shock of the Ancient: Literature and History in Early-Modern France). They have also led me, in a series of volumes that I have edited or co-edited, to place literary texts in an interdisciplinary dialogue with other cultural phenomena, such as the visual arts of the baroque (Theatrical Baroque), performance practices and their relation to print culture (Du Spectateur au lecteur: Imprimer la scène aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles; The Book in the Age of Theater: 1550-1750), and the long tradition of subversive readings of Homer from Lucian to Joyce (Révolutions homériques). In exploring these dialogues, I hope not only to shed light on crucial aspects of aesthetic and cultural history, but also to re-animate the original power of individual texts to provoke and disturb.
In my teaching, I aim to create broad interdisciplinary conversations. I have designed graduate seminars to engage not only in dialogues across research fields (such as “Réalisme classique,” “Re-Writing Homer in Early-Modern France,” “Lumières et Primitivismes,” and “Aesthetics of French Classicism”), but also to integrate scholarship with theatrical performance and curatorial practice (“The Theatrical Baroque” and “The Theatrical Illusion: From Corneille to Kushner”).
- The Shock of the Ancient: Literature and History in Early-Modern France. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. (Awarded 2011 MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies.)
- The Public Mirror: Molière and the Social Commerce of Depiction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
- Co-editor (with Glenn Most and Sophie Rabau). Révolutions homériques. Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 2009.
- Co-editor and introduction (with Philippe Desan and Richard Strier). Du Spectateur au lecteur: Imprimer la scène aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles. Paris: Schena/ Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2002.
- Editor and introduction. The Book in the Age of Theater: 1550-1750. Chicago: University of Chicago Library, 2001.
- Editor and introduction. Theatrical Baroque. Chicago: Smart Museum of Art (University of Chicago Press), 2000.
Journal Issues Edited
- Editor and introduction. La recherche dix-septiémiste aux Etats-Unis. Special issue on 17th-century French studies in the United States. XVIIe siècle, 258 (65.1, Jan. 2013).
- “Contre l’interprétation: courants anti-herméneutiques au XVIIe siècle.” XVIIe siècle, 258 (65.1, Jan. 2013): 75-83.
- “L’Intimité ridicule: Molière et les ‘liens si doux’.” Les Liens humains dans la littérature (XVIe-XVIIe siècles. Eds. J. Chamard-Bergeron, Ph. Desan and T. Pavel. Paris : Classiques Garnier, 2012: 243-259.
- "Comedy in the Seventeenth Century.” Chapter in the Cambridge History of French Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011.
- “La Bataille des livres de Jonathan Swift, un combat entre fiction et histoire littéraire.” Fictions d’histoire littéraire. La Licorne, revue de langue et littérature française, 86 (2009): 101-111.
- “Modern Identity and the Sociable Self in the Querelle and Comedy.” Identification Before Freud, special issue of Nottingham French Studies 47.3 (Autumn 2008): 34-44.
- “Historiciser le sublime, ou le classicisme entre modernité et antiquité.”Revue d’Histoire Littéraire en France(RHLF), April-June (no 2) 2007: 347-357.
- “Molière as Satirist.” The Cambridge Companion to Molière. Eds. D. Bradby and A. Calder. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006: 57-70.
- “La transformation des disciplines à l’université américaine” and “Introduction aux études françaises en Amérique anglophone.” Cahiers de l’Association Internationale des Etudes Françaises(CAIEF) 58 (2006): 15-34.
Awards, Honors, and Professional Experience
- Visiting professorships at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris (2006) and Université de Paris 7-Denis Diderot (2011)
- Deputy Provost for the Arts, University of Chicago, 2008-2013
- Residential fellowship, Franke Institute for the Humanities, 2000-2001
- Modern Language Association’s 2011 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies (for The Shock of the Ancient)