October 31, 2007

French and Francophone Studies

Mark your calendars for our visitors in November and December 2007

Evelyne Bloch-Dano, Madame Proust: A Biography


1. Évelyne Bloch-Dano lecture on Madame Proust

2. Historian David Bell lecture on the Napoleonic wars

3. French singer and performing artist Tangi Colombel

4. Gary Ferguson lecture on Marguerite de Navarre and Boccaccio

Thursday, November 1st, 5:00 pm, 131 Decio Hall
Award-winning French author
Évelyne Bloch-Dano
will speak on
"Madame Proust: A Portrait of Proust's Mother"
Event in English. All are welcome. Reception and book signing to follow.

Évelyne Bloch-Dano's biography of Marcel Proust's mother, Madame Proust, originally published by Grasset in 2004, won several prestigious literary prizes, among which the Prix Renaudot de l’essai. Translated from the French by Alice Kaplan, it has been published this fall by the University of Chicago Press.

Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time opens with one of the most famous scenes in literature, as young Marcel, unable to fall asleep, waits anxiously for his mother to come to his bedroom and kiss him good night. Proust's own mother is central to the meaning of his masterpiece, and she has always held a special role in literary history, both as a character and as a decisive influence on the great writer’s career. Without knowing much about her, we think of her as the quintessential writer's mother.

Now Évelyne Bloch-Dano’s biography acquaints Proust readers with the real Jeanne Weil Proust. Written with the imaginative force of a novel, but firmly grounded in Jeanne and Marcel Proust’s writings, Madame Proust captures the life and times of Proust’s mother, from her German-Jewish background and her marriage to a Catholic grocer’s son to her lifelong worries about her son’s sexuality, health problems, and talent. As well as offering intimate glimpses of the Prousts’ daily life, Madame Proust uses the family as a way to explore the larger culture of fin-de-siècle France, including high society, spa culture, Jewish assimilation, and the Dreyfus affair. Throughout, Bloch-Dano offers sensitive readings of Proust’s work, drawing out the countless interconnections between his mother, his life, and his magnum opus.

“Evelyne Bloch-Dano’s Madame Proust provides a wealth of new details about Marcel Proust’s formative years and illustrates, as never before, the importance of his Jewish heritage. It does so by concentrating on the most important love relationship in Proust’s life: the great affection he had for his mother. Carefully researched, richly documented, and skillfully translated by Alice Kaplan, Bloch-Dano’s book deserves to be read by all who are interested in the life and works of Marcel Proust.”
William C. Carter, author of Marcel Proust: A Life

Évelyne Bloch-Dano, photograph by Renata Parisi Évelyne Bloch-Dano has published numerous books, scholarly articles, and essays on literature. Literary critic for the magazine Marie-Claire, she is also a specialist on writers’ homes and publishes a monthly rubric in Le Magazine littéraire. The biographies she has written are highly esteemed, and she has been the recipient of prestigious literary prizes. Madame Zola, published in 1997, won Elle Magazine’s readers’ Grand Prize, Flora Tristan la Femme-Messie won the François Billetdoux Prize in 2001, and Madame Proust received the Renaudot Prize for an essay in 2004, as well as the literary prize from the Circle of the Union and the prize bestowed by the Proustian Literary Circle of Cabourg-Balbec. Her most recent book, La Biographe (Grasset, 2007), brings together her mother's own biography and that of actress Romy Schneider.
See a complete bibliography of Évelyne Bloch-Dano's works, in pdf format.

Alice Kaplan, professor of French at Duke University, is the author of, among other books, French Lessons, The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach, and The Interpreter.

This event is co-sponsored by the Délégation générale de l'Alliance Française de Paris aux États-Unis, the Program in French and Francophone Studies, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, The Arts and Letters Beyond the Classroom Initiative, the Ph.D. in Literature Program, the English Department, the Program of Gender Studies, the Program of Liberal Studies, and the History Department.

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Monday, November 5, 4:30 pm
116 DeBartolo Hall
Professor David Bell
from Johns Hopkins University
will speak on

"The First Total War:
Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare
as We Know It

All are welcome.

David Bell, The First Total WarOn November 5 Professor David Bell will be speaking about his recent book, The First Total War. Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It (Boston: Houghton Mifflin; London: Bloomsbury, 2007). This book has been widely read and reviewed, receiving both praise and sharp criticism. David Bell will speak for 45 minutes and stay to answer audience questions.

Four recent reviews of Bell's book can be found at:

The following day, November 6, David Bell will host a historiography seminar, focusing on the French Revolution. He plans to offer his analysis of some recent work, followed by a group discussion. This seminar, open to the public, will begin at 2:15pm in 131 Decio.

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Thursday, November 8th, 8:00-11:00 pm, La Fortune Ballroom
Talented French singer and performing artist
Tangi Colombel
will animate an
evening of French music and dance
in celebration of National French Week
Refreshments will be served
Tangi Colombel, cabaretThis event is free for Notre Dame students and faculty (with id card)
$ 2.00 for all others

Tangi Colombel, a native of France, will help us celebrate National French Week with an array of French songs, humorous skits, and dancing music!

See what others are saying about this talented artist, after seeing him perform in the show Jacques Brel is Alive and Well in Palm Beach, Florida:

"Tangi Colombel, a lanky, limber Frenchman is a born comedian [...]"
Hap Erstein - The Palm Beach Post

"The coltish Tangi Colombel, a Frenchman whose performances in his native tongue lend authenticity to the Parisian cabaret setting, is as lively as a 3-years-old at Kentucky Derby day."
Jan Sjostrom - Palm Beach Daily News

"Colombel is naturally comedic and romantic, throwing his body into the mood; his handsome, chiseled face and french accent bring to life the poetry of Brel's words."
Tangi ColombelRachel Galvin - New Times Broward South Florida

"French actor Tangi Colombel explodes on the simple set of a small staircase, bringing an agility of music, motion and mime; taking to task his songs as no one has before."
Phyllis Green - Entertainment News and Views

This event is co-sponsored by the Notre Dame student club Le Cercle français, the Program in French and Francophone Studies, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and The Arts and Letters Beyond the Classroom Initiative.

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Monday, December 3, 4:30 pm
Hesburgh Library Special Collections

Professor Gary Ferguson
from the University of Delaware
will speak on

"Italian Models/Italian Vices:
Marguerite de Navarre and Boccaccio"

All are welcome. Reception to follow.

More information forthcoming. See Professor Ferguson's web site at the University of Delaware.

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University of Notre Dame
Romance Languages & Literatures
343 O'Shaughnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Phone: 574-631-6446