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Cynthia Laura Giancotti



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Interested in: autobiographies
old age
18th century philosophical writings
19th century French novels
20th and 21th century autobiographies

Cynthia Laura Giancotti

Cynthia is currently a PhD candidate (4th year) in French and Italian.
Before coming to Stanford Cynthia earned her B.A. summa cum laude in Milan (Italy), at the Università degli Studi di Milano, at the Inter-Faculty of Cultural Studies and Political Science with a double major in French and Chinese Languages and Cultures. Her final dissertation consisted in an analysis of Calvino’s “Il Castello dei Destini Incrociati” and its disintegration of the authorial stance as a preparation for the death of the author.
Thanks to one year of Erasmus in Paris VII- Paris Diderot (at LCAO and LAPC) and the research on Calvino, she decided to give a literary turn to her career and to settle in Paris. There she spent five years, working and studying, and obtained with distinction an M.A. in Literature, Arts and Contemporary Thought, specialising in the 19th century French Novel. During this time she focused on the marvellous in literature, how after the 18th century renewed interest in fairy-tale there was a resurge of the marvellous in the "official" literature and wrote two dissertations on the subject. The first one dealt with Barbey d’Aurevilly and his subersion of the marvellous in his novel Le Chevalier des Touches. Whereas her second, titled “The persistence of the marvellous topic in 19th century French Bildungsromane”, pointed out how, in French Bildungsromane authors chose to return to the simple structures of fairy-tales to reinvent the genre.
At Stanford, Cynthia has been focusing on the craft of writing literary works and autobiographies, their psychological, fictional and narrative implications. This interest and the attentive and careful study of these works, led her to go beyond the simple autobiographical and biographical to observe how the body itself surfaces in fictional and autobiographical works.
Since then, her interest on anthropological and sociological studies applied to literary research has grown widely. In fact her dissertation will focus on how the French Lumières and the Italian Illuminismo transfigure the body, turning it into a site literally embodying philosophical and moral questions.
Her passion for the modern and contemporary period has definitely not faded, for she keeps on working on the differences between body-representations in fictional and autobiographical works of literary authors, painters and sculptors. Does age, sickness, mental health affect the ways in which bodies are perceived and represented? She picked for this study the controversial time of the Decadence (physical, moral?) covering therefore the 1890s-1930s period.




2015: M.A with distinction Literature, arts and contemporary thought, French Modern Literature
2011: B.A. summa cum laude in Political Science and Languages, French and Chinese

Other Information

Giancotti, C. “Civil Rights Revisited: Review of Jeff Chang’s “We Gon’ Be Alright”, Stanford Humanities review