After a Licence d'Enseignement d'Anglais from the Sorbonne, I earned a Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures d'Anglais with a thesis on "W. B. Yeats, Poet and Patriot" from the University of Dakar. In 1974, I was granted a Doctorat de 3ème Cycle de Français from the Sorbonne, with a dissertation on poetic structures in the New Novel (Robbe-Grillet, Butor, Sarraute, Ollier, Duras, Pinget, Simon, and Ricardou) directed by Michel Raimond. Since then I have basically devoted my research time to women writers, and to reading on literary and gender theory, as well as post-colonial debates.
My teaching career started in Senegal, was pursued in Nigeria for 5 years, and matured in the United States with a short Quebec interlude. I enjoy language work with students, especially in translation and style, to help them improve composition skills, appreciate creative writing and analyze rhetorical strategies of any type of writing. I also enjoy teaching literature, particularly XXth century narrative genres, poetry and theatre. I believe creative writing, that is literature is a privileged space to experience the emotional flavor and the imagined truths of other periods, places and individuals. The primary value of the literature class for me is to be a locus for learning to think more broadly, to read critically and to become aware of discreet codes in creative writing. I teach modern French literature, criticism, and stylistics, and I have developed diversity focused courses such as "Différences sexuelles, ethniques et raciales dans la littérature de langue française", "Franco-Mediterranean Literatures in cultural context" or "Issues in Francophone Literatures", such as "the child's voice", the Franco-Caribbean new novel, and contemporary women's discourse on gender and the maternal.
My publications include articles and book chapters, mostly on women writers, famous or less famous, with equal interest in French and francophone women (Swiss and Caribbean in particular). My books include: the constructed autobiography of Corinna Bille (Le vrai conte de ma vie); Plays by French and Francophone Women in translation, volume II of Corinna Bille's complete dramatic works: Les Etranges Noces et autres inédits, and a Dictionnaire littéraire des femmes de langue française, de Marie de France à Marie NDiaye. I have also written a book on Mayotte Capécia, an ill-famed Martinican "novelist". I am currently working on one which will analyze the creativity of Corinna Bille. For the future, I am interested in deepening my understanding of Franco-Caribbean literature and culture with emphasis on gender and political issues. I also have various literary translation projects on the loom (Chawaf, Corinna Bille, etc.).
Born in Provence and raised in various places including North Africa, Southern France and Paris because my father was in the French Navy, I have an older brother in Laval, near Rennes and a younger brother in Colmar, near Strasbourg. I first settled with my family in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1968 , then I joined Penn State faculty in 1977. I identify as a member of the "post-nationalist", intercultural race, and also as a French woman who raised two children. My favorite extra-curricular activities are reading, walking in Paris, music and theatre, keeping up with friends, cooking and traveling. I indulge primarily in # 1.
Barbara Hepworth, Fondation Maeght,
Nice, juin 2000
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