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Christy Wampole


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hybrid genres
marginal literatures
essayistic fiction
20th century

Christy Wampole

Recently hired at Princeton University as Assistant Professor of French. 

Princeton Faculty Profile

Dissertation: Late Twentieth-Century French and Italian Essayistic Fiction.

Principal advisors: Jeffrey Schnapp, Laura Wittman. Committee members: Robert Harrison, Joshua Landy, Thomas Harrison (UCLA)

My dissertation analyzes the various strands of essayism in French and Italian fiction from the 1960s to present. Beginning with Montaigne, I define the essay’s main features and survey important theories of the essay into the twentieth century. I then offer an expansive genealogy of European essayistic fiction from the early twentieth century to present. I claim that early essayistic fiction, exemplified by writers such as Valéry, Proust, Musil, and Pirandello, fell dormant until the late 1960s when writers rediscovered that the essay’s tentative nature and its rhetorical structures (digression, dialogism, contingency, hypothetical language) could be enlisted to reorient the novel from a realist trajectory to a more open-ended, speculative, and metaphysical one. These writers include Michel Tournier, Yannick Haenel, Muriel Barbery, Italo Calvino, Claudio Magris, and other contemporary French and Francophone novelists.

  • “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., 2010.
  • “Jarry, Tabucchi, Pessoa: The Design of Temporal Navigation.” Pataphysica, Vol. 3, mNemonik iNk Press, 2006.
  • “Founders of Discursivity?: A Foucauldian Glimpse of the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle.” Chimères: A Journal of French Literature published by the University of Kansas, Vol. XXVIII, Fall 2004.
  • Review of France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality and Globalization since 1980 by Timothy B. Smith. The French Review 79:4 (p. 860-861) March 2006.
  • Review of Globalization Redux: New Name, Same Game edited by Tom Conner and Ikuko Torimoto. The French Review 79:3 (p.652-653) February 2006.
  • Review of Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady edited by Bonnie Wheeler and John Carmi Parsons. The French Review 78:6 (p.1259-1260) May 2005.
  • Review of Cock and Bull Stories: Folco de Baroncelli and the Invention of the Camargue by Robert Zaretsky. The French Review 78:4 (p. 794-795) Mar. 2005.
  • Review of French Popular Culture: An Introduction, Hugh Dauncey, ed. To appear in The French Review 78:3 (p. 602-3) Feb. 2005.
  • Review of Popular Music in Contemporary France: Authenticity, Politics, Debate, by David L. Looseley. The French Review 78:1(p. 183) Oct. 2004.
  • Review of France and Women, 1789-1914: Gender, Society and Politics, by James F. McMillan. The French Review 77:3 (pp. 603-604) Feb. 2004.
  • Review of The French Wars 1792-1815, by Charles J. Esdaile. The French Review 77:1 (pp. 176-177) Oct. 2003.


  • “Un entretien avec Sonia Korn-Grimani, écrivaine” Guest Host of Professor Robert Harrison’s radio program “Entitled Opinions (About Life and Literature),” on KZSU 90.1 Stanford, March 2011.
  • "Un entretien avec Lyonel Trouillot, écrivain haïtien," Guest Host of "Entitled Opinions," February 2011.
  • "Le Nouveau Roman," Guest on "Entitled Opinions," February 2011.


  • Robinson Crusoe and Its Imitators,” (precept) Creative Arts and Humanities Symposium, Princeton University, September 2012.
  • “The Essayification of Everything,” Preoccupied: The Words, Wounds, and Workings of Occupations, Past and Present (Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Conference), Berlin, Germany, June 2012.
  • “Self-Begetting Theory: Volodine’s Post-Exotic Aesthetics,” Actuality and the Idea Conference, Princeton University, May 2012.
  • “The Root: The Toxicity of a Metaphor in Twentieth-Century France,” Department of French and Italian Faculty Works in Progress Lecture Series, Princeton University, March 2012.
  • “The Essayistic Thrust in the Contemporary French Novel,” Crossings, Frictions, Fusions: 20th- and 21st-Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, Long Beach, CA, March 2012.
  • “Rootedness, a Troublesome Metaphor: Enracination, Eradication, and the Caribbean,” Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, Rochester, NY, March 2012.
  • Endogamie, Exogamie and the Sphere of Possibilities,” Deceit, Desire, and the Novel Fifty Years Later: Mimetic Theory and Literary Studies, Stanford University, April 2011.
  • “Pragmatism and the Essay Form,” American Comparative Literature Association, Vancouver, Canada, March 2011.
  • “Procedere quasi a tentoni: Possibilitarianism and the Tentacular in Claudio Magris’Danubio,” California Interdisciplinary Consortium for Italian Studies Annual Conference, Stanford, California, March 2009.
  • “A Conversation with Modernism/Modernity” (panelist), Modernist Studies Association Conference, Long Beach, CA, November 2007.
  •  “Oeil pour oeil: Retributive Violence in Houllebecq’s Plateforme,” Violence, Disaster, and the Crisis of Representation Conference, University of California, Los Angeles, October 2007.
  •  “Semiosis of Suspicion in Italian Literary Conversion,” Conversions Conference, Stanford University, January 2007.
  •  “Electronic Games as a Constrained Medium: An Oulipian Approach,” Form, Culture and Video Game Criticism Conference, Princeton University, March 2004.
  •  “The Ninth Art: A Survey of the Comic in France,”  Graduate Student Lecture Series, University of North Texas, April 2003.
  •  “Art as a Classroom Catalyst,”  Texas Foreign Language Association Fall Conference, Fort Worth, TX, November 2002.


  • Essay by Rudolf Arnheim, “Disciplina del grammofono, della radio, del telefono e della televisione,” Modernism/Modernity, Vol. 16.2, March 2009.
  • Essay by Valéry Larbaud, “La lenteur,” SPEED Limits (Milan: Skira, 2009).
  • “The Law of 22 Prairial (1794),” with Dan Edelstein, Telos, no. 141, Winter 2007.
  • Essay by Dr. Sylvie Chalaye entitled “Écritures contemporaines du monde noir francophone: dramaturgies du détour,” Yale French Studies, Vol. 112, November 2007.
  • Essay by Dr. Bernadette Bost entitled “Drames hors-limites: des théâtres de la totalité,”Yale French Studies, Vol. 112, November 2007.
  • Essay by Dr. Natacha Allet entitled “Mythe et légende dans les théâtres d’Antonin Artaud”Yale French Studies, Vol. 111, May 2007.
  • Ten completed books of memoirs of Antoine Köpe, a World War I soldier who resided inTurkey and whose native language was French.