The Romanic Review

A quarterly journal devoted to the study of Romance literatures. Articles cover all periods of French, Italian, and Spanish-language literature. Published by the Department of French and Romance Philology of Columbia University.

Articles from Vol. 101, No. 1-2, January-March

1923: "Columbia Attracts Scholars of World"
My starting point is an article I read in the New York Times a couple of months ago, an old copy of the Times. Older copies of the Times can be worthier of note. This article was dated February 25, 1923. It caught my attention: Columbia Attracts...
1966: Morning in Baltimore
The year 2009 was a time of commemorations and celebrations of big, tragic, or globally transformative events: the sixty-fifth anniversary of D-Day, the seventieth anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland, the twentieth anniversary of the fall of...
1968: Crisis in African Letters
The year 1968 marks, without doubt, a critical moment in African Francophone literature. Two novels published that year bear testimony that indeed something new might be happening, something we may characterize as a break away from a more "traditional"...
2000: Trauma on the Boulevard
Those who lament that scholars of French literature ceased to lead the way theoretically following the eclipse of deconstruction in the late 1980s might take heart at the success of trauma as a paradigm in literary studies. Indeed, professors of French...
Adieu, Michael Riffaterre
Professor Riffaterre? I first met him through reading Essais de stylistique structurale in the Jardin du Luxembourg on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes I would be distracted by a tennis player who would hit the ball over the fence and ask me to fetch it....
A la Recherche De Michael Riffaterre
Longtemps je me suis couche de fort bonne humeur, Ayant lu les travaux de ce grand professeur. A n'en pas douter, Marcel Proust aurait pu commencer ainsi son chef-d'oeuvre s'il avait fait ses etudes a Columbia plutot qu'au Lycee Condorcet. Toute...
"All Ellipses in Quotations Are His"
Michael Riffaterre made an extraordinary contribution to the lives of his students, of the kind one dreams of at a university. Many life-long commitments to literature began in his classes, whatever the critical stances graduates of his seminars would...
A Quintilian for the 21st Century: On Fictional Truth
Michael Riffaterre was known to all of us literature graduate students at Columbia in the 1970s; he had by then generated a buzz that transcended the French Department and that pre-announced his elevation to the rank of university professor in 1982....
Around 1991
Some time after Elisabeth and I had agreed I would talk here about feminism, she wrote back; given how the conference was taking shape, she wanted me to pick a date, a year, to hinge my talk on. The first date that occurred to me was the mid-seventies,...
Avant-Propos
When Virginia Woolf made her famous (and strangely phrased) remark about human nature changing on or about December 1910," she was presumably not thinking of the birth of Romanic Review, but the journal's inauguration that year was nonetheless one...
Behind the Scenes at the Romanic Review
My first real-world job was as the graduate student secretary in the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia. After the first year, the staff's job descriptions were reshuffled, and one of my new duties was to assist the general editor...
"Ce Que Dit la Bouche D'ombre" or the Master's Voice from beyond the Grave
Hopefully, Michael (not Michel, SVP) Riffaterre would have smiled at this title. He might also have chuckled just a bit, impishly, as he often did in his classes whenever anyone had the nerve to attempt to out-wit or--comble du culot--contradict him,...
Exemplary Moments: Remembering Michael Riffaterre
New to the job and eager to learn all the scholarly ropes and prove my mettle to the still intimidating professor who had taken me on as his research assistant, I was sent out one day to hunt for a hedgehog. Back in those pre-electronic days when the...
"From a Daumier Drawing by a Process of Dehydration"
Around the turn of the next to last century, there was a genre of writing attached to the historiographical turn of the late 1800s: the "etat present" in which the status of a discipline, whether scientific studies, medieval studies, or oriental studies,...
From Doctoral Student to University Professor: The Trajectory of a Brilliant Career
I have the sad distinction of being the only surviving faculty member of the Department of French and Romance Philology who has personally known Michael Riffaterre from the time, in 1953, when he set foot on American soil as a doctoral candidate until...
From the Cradle ... the Rise of Romance Philology in American Academia (1900-1970)
Romance philology in American academia started out very much as the enterprise of a handful of individuals and a series of unconnected casual events: Lorenzo da Ponte, who was teaching Italian at Columbia as early as 1825, had failed as a merchant...
In Memoriam Michael Riffaterre: An Introduction
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Michael Riffaterre, who taught at Columbia for almost fifty years and was editor of the Romanic Review for three decades (1970-2000), died on May 27, 2006. Sadly, therefore, my first official gesture...
Introduction
Organiser un colloque pour marquer le centenaire de Romanic Review releve d'une fausse evidence. S'agit-il de faire l'histoire du passe ou d'envisager l'avenir ? Est-ce une occasion joyeuse ou, comme l'entend Michel Zink, la manifestation d'un symptome...
La Litterature Medievale Dans L'histoire Litteraire et Dans la Theorie: L'exemple De la Romanic Review
J'ai eu la chance en decembre 1979, rentrant d'un sejour de recherche a l'Universite de Californie, Berkeley, d'assister a Columbia au colloque Intertextualite et roman en France au Moyen Age (1). Ce colloque, organise conjointement par les universites...
Le College De France et la Philologie Romane
Notre epoque aime a celebrer les anniversaires du passe. Il existe meme en France un Haut Comite aux Celebrations nationales. Dans le domaine qui est le notre, celui des humanites et des sciences sociales, les grands champs de la recherche, les grandes...
Le Maitre
Chere Hermine Chere Lee Cher Jason J'avais espere etre parmi vous aujourd'hui, mais je suis retenu a Paris a la veille d'un depart en Chine, et j'en suis desole. J'aurais voulu pouvoir dire de vive voix tout ce que je dois a Michael, reconnaitre...
Michael Riffaterre
L'arrivee des Pleaides de Riffaterre, en fin des annees cinquante, c'etait comme le debarquement d'un ovni. Michael etait encore inconnu sur les bords de la Seine et La Revue des Sciences humaines confia le compte rendu au debutant sorbonnard que j'etais....
Michel
In 1974, I went on the job market just for "practice." I had not finished even a third of my dissertation, and I wasn't even sure I wanted to be an academic. It sounded very daunting, and very male, to me. But I applied for a post at Columbia University...
Of Neckties and Doughnuts (Homage to a Remarkable Teacher)
Every person is complex but perhaps no one appears more so than a masterful teacher in the eyes of students. Many things dazzled me when I was enrolled in Professor Riffaterre's stylistics class during my first year of graduate school at Columbia in...
On Michael Riffaterre
What many of us feared and loved about Michael Riffaterre coincided. His reactions could appear totally out of whack. When I was teaching at Barnard, I first asked, timidly, to be sure, if I could audit one of his courses. He looked at me severely,...
Philology as Blood Sport: The Romanic Review's First Decade
It is not exactly fashionable today to call our field Romance philology. Describing a colleague as a "philologist" in fact might well elicit a less than cheerful response. It's even become vieux jeu to call ourselves literary critics. So how are we...
Reflections of an Italianist
What are Romance studies in this day and age, and where does my own specialization, Renaissance Italian, fit into them? Has Italian ever really fit in that well--particularly given the fact that in large Romance language departments, the Italianists...
Remarks on the Life and Works of Michael Riffaterre
The first thing to say is that Michael Riffaterre had the most brilliant career one could imagine. Ph.D. in 1955, full professor in 1964, appointed to a named chair in 1975, university professor in 1982 (he was extremely proud of that and rightly so;...
Remembrance of Michael Riffaterre
In 1994, Professor Riffaterre published in the journal New Literary History the essay "Intertextuality vs. Hypertextuality." In this essay, he argued that, by virtue of intertextuality, human readers distinguish pertinent, literary signs, while computers...
Reminiscences of Michael Riffaterre
One of the first vivid memories that comes to mind when I remember Professor Riffaterre is a bright sunny day in the spring of 1968. I was crossing the Columbia campus with a friend and fellow classmate, Sarah Benzaquen Lumpkin, walking from the Broadway...
Riffaterrean Confessions
It was during the orientation to Columbia's French graduate program in 1990 that I first heard Riffaterre's name, murmured with titillated sycophancy: "Riffaterre destroyed him in class, Riffaterre smiled at me, Riffaterre said this, Riffaterre did...
Riffaterre of the 1970s
When I joined Columbia University in the early 1970s as a graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature, I attended seminars and graduate courses in different departments representing various national literatures. I was planning to write...
Romania Continua, Romania Submersa, and the Field of Romance Studies
Understanding the future of Romance studies would be an act of prophecy, rather than a forecasting. Since I am completely unable to become suddenly a prophet, mine will be some sort of Augustinian-driven consideration of the past and future of present...
Text Editing: Past, Present, and Future
As I've been thinking about Romanic Review's 100th anniversary, I was tempted, as I gather many participants on the program were, to dip into some of the first issues of the journal in order to take a look at the sorts of articles being published in...
The History of the Future
Looking back recently at my professional career, I was struck by the fact that, excepting my season as a graduate student and my current appointment at Columbia, I have always been in departments of Romance languages or Romance studies and was even...
The Monolingualism of the Parrot, or the Prosthesis of Origins, in Las Novas del Papagay
There seems to be a return to Romance philology in Anglophone scholarship. When the study of the medieval forms of modern foreign languages began in the United Kingdom about a century ago, the Romance languages taught at the University of Cambridge...
Un Ami De Quarante Ans
J'ai enseigne quinze ans a Columbia. Il ne s'est pas passe une semaine--pendant les semestres de cours, et hors conges sabbatiques de l'un ou de l'autre--sans que j'echange quelques mots, et parfois une plus longue conversation, avec Michael. Et si...
Un Grand Professeur
The 36,900 Google entries, the multi-page bibliography, the books, and the articles fail to capture what was extraordinary about Michael Riffaterre. Simply put, he was not only University Professor but a grand professeur. You will note I am using a...
Unpacking Riffaterre
In the summer of 2007, one year after Professor Riffaterre had passed away, his office needed to be cleaned to make room for the new chair. Uncannily left untouched, it seemed he had momentarily stepped out and was coming back. Even the visiting professors...
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