Daniel Desormeaux

photo of Daniel Desormeaux

William D. and Robin Mayer Professor and Head of the French Subdivision

Program: French
Gilman Hall 482
410-516-7727
410-516-5358
ddd@jhu.edu
Curriculum Vitae

Daniel Desormeaux is the William D. and Robin Mayer Professor of Arts and Sciences. Prior to his appointment at Johns Hopkins in 2019, Daniel Desormeaux held tenured positions at the University of Chicago and the University of Kentucky, which he joined after beginning his career at Dartmouth College. He has been a Visiting Professor of French & Francophone Literature at Université du Mans (France) and has received numerous research awards, including a National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Fellowship (2008-2009) and a residential fellowship at the Franke Institute for the Humanities (2016-2017).

As a scholar of French who taps into the Caribbean cultural archipelago he was raised in, Daniel Desormeaux works as a comparatist primarily on French and Francophone literatures and cultures of the long nineteenth century. His versatile research agenda addresses a range of global issues and texts, in particular the historical and anthropological link between French and Caribbean literature and culture after the Haitian Revolution.

Professor Desormeaux’s first book, La Figure du bibliomane: histoire du livre et stratégie littéraire au XIXe siècle (Nizet, 2001) dealt with the history of rare-book collection in the nineteenth century. Collecting was not only a legitimate intellectual occupation but also the front line of defense in the battle against the cultural amnesia provoked by the French Revolution of 1789. The book analyses the rise of bibliomania as a well-accepted tradition within cultural institutions from the early 19th century to the beginning of the twentieth. A second monograph, Alexandre Dumas, fabrique d’immortalité (Classiques Garnier 2014), examines the many ways Dumas both embraces and displaces the borders of archival discourse, the popular novel, collections, history, and memoirs. It explores the literary and artistic strategies that Dumas used in his infinite quest for eternal recognition and success as a writer.

Professor Desormeaux has played a key role in disseminating crucial historical and literary documents in Haitian thought and letters. His critical edition of the Mémoires du général Toussaint Louverture (Classiques Garnier, 2011), should be understood as a secret bibliophilic effort to exhume long-lost documents from the colonial archives and to bring into view the global implications of 19th-century Haitian political thought and its contrasting legacies.

More broadly, Daniel Desormeaux is interested in transatlantic history of ideas, comparative analysis of history and literature, the development of new Francophone cultural institutions in the 19th century, eyewitness accounts of the Haitian Revolution, slavery in Haiti, literature and spirituality (voodoo). Currently, he is completing a collection of essays on contemporary French Caribbean novelists, as well as a book-length essay on Haitian history.

Undergraduate:

Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo and its Avatars

Introduction to French Literature II

The Year '93: Terror and Literature

Les Lieux de la Création: l'Atelier Imaginaire

Narratives of class, race, and culture in French and Francophone Literature

Le génie français: Between Nation and Colonization

Les Revenants: la littérature entre la vie et la mort

Graduate:

Honoré de Balzac : étranges figures balzaciennes
Exotic Narrative: Texts and Contexts of Caribbean Culture
Romantisme and Indigénisme
Baudelaire and Flaubert
L'Ordre du temps : Mémoires, Histoire et Autobiographie
Victor Hugo : romancier romantique
Égalité des races dans la Francophonie
Le Livre antillais : culture, écriture et politique

L’Historien antillais au 19e siècle
Fin-De-Siècle Haïtien : Frédéric Marcelin (1848-1917)

Monographs

Alexandre Dumas: Fabrique d’immortalité. (Paris : Classiques Garnier, 2014).

La Figure du bibliomane: histoire du livre et stratégie littéraire au XIXe siècle (Flaubert, Barbey d'Aurevilly, Nerval, Stendhal, Anatole France). Saint-Genouph: A.-G. Nizet, 2001.

Critical Editions

Thémistocle-Épaminondas Labasterre (Frédéric Marcelin). Paris: Société des Textes Français Modernes, 2017.

Mémoires du général Toussaint Louverture. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2011.

Edited Volumes and Journal Issues

Les Biographies littéraires : théories, pratiques et perspectives nouvelles. Eds. Philippe Desan & Daniel Desormeaux (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2018).

Haiti Beyond commemorations, Politics, and History. Journal L’Esprit Créateur 56.1 (2016).

Race et Littérature à la fin du XIXe siècle. Journal Nineteenth Century French Studies (in preparation).

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

"Épitaphe d'esclave en Léonidas dans Le Système colonial dévoilé (1814) de Pompée Valentin de Vastey,” eds. Claudie Bernard et Claude Millet, L'Histoire épitaphe, Publications du centre Seebacher, Université Paris Diderot, 2018. http://seebacher.lac.univ-paris-diderot.fr/bibliotheque/items/show/42

"Lire les biographies d’Alexandre Dumas," in Les Biographies littéraires : théories, pratiques et perspectives nouvelles, éds. Philippe Desan & Daniel Desormeaux. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2018. 167-186.

"Le facteur littéraire dans de L’égalité des races humaines d’Anténor Firmin,” L’Esprit Créateur 56. 1 (2016) : 24-39.

"Sand et le roman feuilleton: le cas des Beaux messieurs de Bois-Doré." George Sand et le journalisme, ed. Marie-Ève Thérenty. Saint-Étienne: Presses Universitaires de Saint-Étienne. 2011. 203-217.

"Passage aux Livres dans Mûr à crever," in Typo/Topo/Poéthique: sur Frankétienne, Jean Jonassaint. Paris: Éditions L’Harmattan 2008. 37-56.

"The First of the (Black) Memorialists: Toussaint Louverture," Yale French Studies 107 (Spring 2005): 131-145.

"Sans foi ni loi : (Nerval et Marx) pour ou contre le roman-feuilleton," Les Lettres Romanes 58. 1-2 (2004): 27-54.

"Le Mythe de l’original: la main de Flaubert," L’Esprit Créateur 41. 2 (2001): 40-52.