Christy Wampole joined the department as Assistant Professor of French in 2011. She received her Ph.D in both French and Italian from Stanford University in 2011 with a dissertation entitled “Late Twentieth-Century French and Italian Essayistic Fiction,” which analyzed various strands of essayistic thinking, style, and rhetorical strategies in fiction from the late 1960s to present in France, Italy, and beyond. Writers included in her project are Michel Tournier, Claudio Magris, Italo Calvino, Patrick Chamoiseau, Yannick Haenel, Édouard Glissant, and others. She spent a year at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris as a researcher and has published various articles, translations, and book reviews in Chimères: A Journal of French Literature, Quaderni di Synapsis, The French Review, Magazine littéraire, Quaderni del ‘900, and Yale French Studies. She was managing editor of Modernism/Modernity and production manager for Professor Robert Harrison’s radio show Entitled Opinions on Stanford’s radio station KZSU 90.1. Her book project investigates rootedness as a pervasive literary, political, and philosophical theme in 20th-century French and Francophone culture. With examples from a wide range of writers and thinkers (Bachelard, Guillevic, Condé, Barrès, Gide, Weil, Levinas, Glissant, Deleuze, Guattari, Sartre), she illustrates the extent to which the root metaphor becomes erroneously literalized and used as a justification for everything from ultra-conservative nationalism to claims of hereditary inferiority of certain class and ethnic groups.
Some Recent Publications:
“How to Live without Irony.” New York Times. (Sunday Review/The Stone philosophy blog), November 2012.
“The Impudence of Claude Cahun.” L’Esprit créateur (forthcoming Spring 2013).
“Schreber, parfaitement extralucide.” Magazine littéraire no. 524, October 2012.
“Cioran’s Providential Bicycle.” Revista Transilvania (Romania), January 2012.
“Fenoglio’s Vitalist Impulse: Primaverilità, Infuturamento, and the Force of Life in Il Partigiano Johnny,” Quaderni del ‘900, no. 11, November 2011.
“Slim Prospects: The Anorexic Body in the Postmodern Condition.” Quaderni di Synapsis, Vol. 8, ed. Rosella Carbotti, Mondadori Education, 2009.
Her specific areas of focus are nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century French, Francophone, and Italian literature, with a special interest in prose, particularly the essay and the novel and texts in which these two forms overlap. The intersection of philosophy and literature is central to her work as a researcher and teacher. She has taught courses on the contemporary French novel, on the history of the essay in France beginning with Montaigne, and read authors such as Houellebecq, Gary, Barthes, Kristeva, Cixous, Sartre, Camus, Fanon, Darrieussecq, Baudrillard, Cocteau, Valéry, Irigaray, and Perec with her students.
This media-based survey of popular music in twentieth-century France traces the evolution of music culture through intensive listening to the most influential artists from 1900 to 2012, through recorded and printed interviews with musicians, songwriters, producers, and critics, and through the analysis of music videos and blogs. Beginning with the great music hall performers at the beginning of the century to contemporary experimentations in electronic music, hip hop, and hybrid forms, the course constructs the genealogy of influence between musicians and raises questions about the relationship between music-making, commercial interests, and politics, and poses the deeply philosophical problem: What is authenticity? Musicians studied include Gainsbourg, Piaf, Baker, Khaled, Brassens, Montand, Brel, MC Solaar, Reinhardt, Dalida, Air, Plastic Bertrand, Les Rita Mitsouko, Stereolab, and many others.
This course, which emphasizes both close- and far-reading, analyzes forms such as autopathography, autofiction, photo-roman, autobiography, philosophical treatise, blog, biography, novel, archival fiction, and novella. Through texts of contemporary writers (Guibert, Vargas, Nothomb, Volodine, Chevillard, Fellous, Pennac, Quignard), students interrogate the relationship between text and image, analyze cinematic adaptations of texts, evaluate new kinds of subjectivity afforded by contemporary writing, and challenge normative assumptions about what prose can or should do. Other themes include: representations of the body, metatextuality, the act of reading and writing, global identity, memory and trauma, and consumerist culture. Students will watch interviews with the authors in question and read critical articles on the specific texts covered in the course.
FRE 367 Feminist Thought in Twentieth-Century French Literature and Art
This course surveys the canonical theoretical writings on feminism in twentieth-century France and Francophone countries, including texts by Beauvoir, Cixous, Kristeva, Irigaray, Condé, Wittig, Despentes, and Tiqqun. Some topics addressed: pornography for women, debates on the veil and the burqa in the public space, the Dominique Strauss-Kahn incident, le manifeste des 343, cosmetics, parity laws, street harassment, maternity politics, queer politics, ecofeminism. We will explore these themes in texts, music, photos, films, and other visual media by Cahun, Nothomb, Darrieussecq, Denis, Djebar, Calle, Ernaux, and others.
FRE 530 Essayism: Trajectory of a Genre (graduate seminar)
The essay, whose tradition is firmly rooted in sixteenth-century France beginning with Montaigne, resists conventional taxonomies and tests the plasticity of genre. Not only does the essay borrow at liberty from all Aristotelian categories – the lyric, the dramatic, and the epic –, it also merges disciplines, conflating art and science while constructing its own system of logic and its own codes. Students will take stock of prominent theories of the essay and develop a sophisticated conceptual framework to discuss this elusive form. With exemplary essays and essayistic texts by European writers, this course explores issues including: hybridity, open-endedness, contingency, voice, form, rhetorical devices and style, humility, intuition, self-portraiture, possibilitarianism, virtuality, digression, the peripatetic tradition (walking and thinking), playfulness, and political engagement. With an emphasis on the twentieth century, we will read the most fascinating essays from a range of sub-categories (the familiar essay, the critical essay, the politically engaged essay, etc.), and will consider examples of essayistic poetry (Eugène Guillevic), the essayistic novel (Robert Musil, Michel Tournier), the photo-essai (Sophie Calle, Denis Roche), and the essay-film (Chris Marker). We will also consider the essay’s role in the progressive aestheticization of theory that has occurred throughout the twentieth century. This course may be of particular interest to students of philosophy and poetics.