Professor of French Studies
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Born in Belgium and educated there and in the United States (A.B. from Smith; Ph.D. from Yale), I've been a member of the Smith College French department since 1985 and the comparative literature program since 1987. For the comparative literature program, I regularly teach courses on contemporary literary theory, the senior pro-seminar, as well as the introduction to comparative literature, Pleasures of Reading, with the theme of Islands, Real and Imaginary in Spring 2010.
My scholarly work focuses on problems of representation in the 18th-century novel and theatre. I've published essays on Rousseau's Emile, ou de l'séducation; Laclos's Les liaisons dangereuses; the painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze; the revolutionary pamphleteer, playwright and feminist, Olympe de Gouges; and on the article "Femme" in Diderot's Encyclopédie, in journals such as Eighteenth-Century Studies, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, L'Esprit Créateur, Theatre Journal, Modern Language Studies and Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century. I am the co-editor, with E. S. Burt, of "Reading the Archive: On Texts and Institutions" in Yale French Studies. My most recent publications have focused on the figure of the foreigner in the drama and novels of the French 18th-century best-selling author Françoise de Graffigny.
In my current research project, I am examining how educational theories and practices have shaped the cultural identity of French women from Mme de Maintenon's pioneering school for poor aristocratic women, Saint-Cyr, to contemporary representations of the French educational system in such narratives and films as François Bégaudeau's Entre les murs.