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Howard L. Willett Professor in Romance Languages and Literature, History of Culture, and the College

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Born in France, I was educated in my native country (Political Economy and Sociology) and in the USA (French literature). I have been at the University of Chicago since 1984 and held visiting positions in departments of Literature, History, and Philosophy at Harvard University, Université Paris-Sorbonne, Université Lyon 3, Université Bordeaux 3, École des Chartes, Centre Supérieur de la Renaissance (Tours), Collège International de Philosophie (Paris), and the Università di Padova.

Trained as a Sociologist in France, I became interested in the Sociology of Literature and historical approaches to literature when I arrived in California in 1980. My approach to literature is mainly contextual and interdisciplinary. During the last fifteen years my research has focused on Montaigne and the history of ideas in France during the sixteenth century. My work intersects with sociology, history and philosophy. I am the general editor of Montaigne Studies, a journal published at the University of Chicago since 1988.

My teaching interests are Montaigne, Rabelais, sociological and historical approaches to the French Renaissance, Early Modern economic theories, nineteenth-century literature and philosophy, sociology of literature and culture. I also direct the European Civilization Core program at the University of Chicago Center in Paris.

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