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French Ecocriticism

From the Early Modern Period to the Twenty-First Century


Edited By Daniel A. Finch-Race and Stephanie Posthumus

This book expounds fruitful ways of analysing matters of ecology, environments, nature, and the non-human world in a broad spectrum of material in French. Scholars from Canada, France, Great Britain, Spain, and the United States examine the work of writers and thinkers including Michel de Montaigne, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Arthur Rimbaud, Marguerite Yourcenar, Gilbert Simondon, Michel Serres, Michel Houellebecq, and Éric Chevillard. The diverse approaches in the volume signal a common desire to bring together form and content, politics and aesthetics, theory and practice, under the aegis of the environmental humanities.

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Notes on Contributors

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Notes on Contributors

ANAÏS BOULARD holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the Université d’Angers, at which she teaches classes on French grammar and Comparative Literature. Her work focusses on images of destruction, pollution and catastrophes in the Anthropocene in contemporary French and North American fiction. She is a member of ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment), EASLCE (European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment) and the ÉcoLitt research programme (Université d’Angers), which explores interactions between literature and environments in non-anglophone literature.

HANNES DE VRIESE holds a PhD in French Literature (Université de Toulouse – Jean Jaurès; Universiteit Gent), and teaches at the Université de Toulouse. His research interests include ecocriticism, ecopoetics, literary geography, and the notion of the landscape in contemporary Caribbean and European literature. He has published several articles and book chapters on Claude Simon, Patrick Chamoiseau, Daniel Maximin, and Jean-Loup Trassard.

DAVID EVANS is Reader in French at the University of St Andrews. He works on nineteenth-century poetry, and is the author of Rhythm, Illusion and the Poetic Idea (Rodopi, 2004) and Théodore de Banville (Legenda, 2014). With Kate Griffiths, he co-edited Pleasure and Pain in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture (Rodopi, 2008) and Institutions and Power in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture (Rodopi, 2011).

DANIEL FINCH-RACE, having taught French and Italian at the University of Cambridge in addition to completing his PhD at Trinity College (2012–15), is Teaching Fellow in French Studies at the University of Southampton during 2016–17. His research primarily entails ecocritical interpretations of nineteenth-century poetry. His explorations of Baudelaire, Dante, Rimbaud, Tennyson, and Verlaine appear in Dix-Neuf, French Studies Bulletin, Green Letters, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Modern Language Review, Romance Studies, and two edited volumes (Matters of Time; Textures). In 2015, he co-edited Textures (Lang) with Jeff Barda, and an ecocritical issue of Dix-Neuf with Julien Weber.

PAULINE GOUL is a PhD candidate in Romance Studies at Cornell University. She works at the intersection of ecocriticism and French Renaissance Studies, developing a doctoral thesis about the notion of an ‘ecology of waste’ in the context ← 275 | 276 → of the colonisation of the New World in the sixteenth century, with reference to the works of François Rabelais, Michel de Montaigne, André Thevet and Jacques Cartier. Her research on Le Corbusier, the zero waste movement, and the environment of Rabelais’ Quart Livre has been published in Forum for Modern Language Studies (2014) and in Global Garbage (Routledge, 2016).

JONATHAN KRELL is Professor of French at the University of Georgia, USA. His current research focusses on the contemporary French novel and its relationship to the environment; previous publications centred on myth criticism. He is the author of The Ogre’s Progress (University of Delaware Press, 2009) and Tournier élémentaire (Purdue University Press, 1994), and has translated Michel Tournier’s Le Miroir des idées (University of Nebraska Press, 1998) and Eléazar (University of Nebraska Press, 2002).

NIKOLAJ LÜBECKER is Professor of French and Film Studies at St John’s College, University of Oxford. He has published three monographs: The Feel-Bad Film (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) examines the role of unpleasure in the work of directors such as Claire Denis, Lars von Trier, Gus Van Sant, Lucile Hadžihalilović, Brian de Palma, Bruno Dumont and Harmony Korine; Community, Myth and Recognition (Continuum, 2009) analyses different conceptualisations of community in texts by André Breton, Georges Bataille, Jean-Paul Sartre and Roland Barthes; Le Sacrifice de la sirène (Museum Tusculanum, 2003) considers the relation between poetry and politics in Stéphane Mallarmé’s writings.

CLAIRE NETTLETON (Pomona College) is a specialist in French decadent literature, animal studies, and the visual arts. She has published in Antennae (2013), Nineteenth-Century French Studies (2014), and a special issue of Dix-Neuf on ecopoetics (2015). Her book manuscript, adapted from her doctoral thesis at the University of Southern California, is entitled The Artist as Animal in Nineteenth-Century France.

JEFF PERSELS is Associate Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of South Carolina. He has edited, co-edited and contributed to volumes on early modern scatology, theatre and ecocriticism, and authored a number of related articles. He is currently completing a book project on the ludic qualities of sixteenth-century French vernacular religious polemic.

STEPHANIE POSTHUMUS is Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. Working in the field of contemporary French literature, she has published numerous articles on philosophies of nature and ecology, and on representations of landscapes, environments and ← 276 | 277 → non-human animals. Her book French ‘Écocritique’: Reading Contemporary French Fiction and Theory Ecologically is forthcoming with University of Toronto Press. With Louisa Mackenzie, she co-edited French Thinking about Animals (Michigan State University Press, 2015).

KAREN QUANDT (PhD Princeton University, 2011) is Assistant Professor of French in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Delaware. Aside from the aesthetics of landscapes and intersections between poetry, music and painting, she researches ecocritical approaches to nineteenth-century French art and literature. She has published articles and book chapters on connections between Hugo and Delacroix, Lamartine and the art of poetry, Hugo and the ecogarden, and Baudelaire and pollution. She is working on a monograph about Victor Hugo and the poetry of nature.

TEÓFILO SANZ is a musicologist, Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the Universidad de Burgos, and Vice-President of AICL (Association Internationale de la Critique Littéraire). He is a member of EASLCE (European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment), GIECO (Grupo de Investigación en Ecocrítica, Instituto Franklin-UAH) and SIEY (Société Internationale d’Études Yourcenariennes). His research chiefly focusses on ecocriticism, Marguerite Yourcenar, and relations between music and literature. He is the author of Música y literatura (Universidad de Burgos, 1999) and Cómo leer a Marguerite Yourcenar (Júcar, 1991).

CHRISTOPHER WATKIN is Senior Lecturer in French Studies at Monash University, Australia. His research interrogates fundamental positions and assumptions in contemporary French thought, including questions about God, humanity and philosophy. His most recent books are Difficult Atheism (Edinburgh University Press, 2011) and French Philosophy Today (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), and he has published articles on a range of recent and contemporary thinkers, including Alain Badiou, Roland Barthes, Jean-Luc Nancy, Quentin Meillassoux, Jacques Rancière, Paul Ricœur, and Michel Serres. He is currently completing the first comprehensive English-language introduction to Michel Serres’s thought and writing. ← 277 | 278 →