Alice kaplan

Alice Kaplan is the John M. Musser Professor of French and chair of the Department of French at Yale University. Before her arrival at Yale, she was the Gilbert, Louis and Edward Lehrman Professor of Romance Studies and Professor of Literature and History at Duke University and founding director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies there. She is the author of Reproductions of Banality: Fascism, Literature, and French Intellectual Life (1986); French Lessons: A Memoir (1993); The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach (2000); and The Interpreter (2005), about racial injustice in the American army witnessed by Louis Guilloux. In March 2012, Kaplan's book about the Paris years of Jacqueline Bouvier, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis, Dreaming in French, was published by the University of Chicago Press. A French edition of Dreaming in French, with the title Trois Américaines à Paris: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, Angela Davis, will be published by Editions Gallimard in October 2012, translated by Patrick Hersant.

Kaplan is also the translator into English of Lous Guilloux's novel OK, Joe, Evelyne Bloch-Dano's Madame Proust: A Biography, and three books by Roger Grenier: Piano Music for Four Hands, Another November, and The Difficulty of Being a Dog.

Kaplan's research interests include autobiography and memory, translation in theory and practice, literature and the law, twentieth-century French literature, French cultural studies, and post-war French culture. Her recent undergraduate courses include coures on Camus, Proust, and Céline; theories of the archive; French national identity; “The Experience of Being Foreign”; and “Literary Trials.” Upcoming courses include “The Modern French Novel” (with Maurice Samuels) and a film course on French cinema of the Occupation. She currently sits on the editorial board at South Atlantic Quarterly, sits on the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is represented by the Marly Rusoff Literary Agency.


The Collaborator was awarded the 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Award in History[1] and was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critic’s Circle awards.[2] The Interpreter was the recipient of the 2005 Henry Adams Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government,[3] and French Lessons was nominated for the 1993 National Books Critics Circle Award (for autobiography and biography).[2] She was the recipient of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1994.[4]


In 1973 she did a year of study at the Université de Bordeaux III in Bordeaux, France. She obtained her BA in French at the University of California at Berkeley in 1975 and her PhD in French at Yale University in 1981.[5]

Paul de Man Controversy

After the discovery of Paul de Man's controversial wartime journalism for the collaborationist Belgian newspaper Le Soir, Kaplan wrote a widely cited article about her former teacher titled "Paul de Man, Le Soir, and the Francophone Collaboration" for Responses: On Paul de Man's Wartime Journalism, in which she notes:

De Man's work in Le Soir is at once a brilliant and banal example of all the cliches of fascist nationalism: brilliant for the way he argues his position, for the logic he brings to bear, and banal because a thousand other intellectuals claimed the same high ground, reached the same conclusions, had essentially the same effect.[6]

She describes this period of her life in a chapter of French Lessons.

Duke Lacrosse Controversy

During the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case, Kaplan was one of the so-called Group of 88 professors who, shortly after members of the university's lacrosse team were accused of rape, signed a controversial letter attacking the players and thanking protesters for "making a collective noise" on "what happened to this young woman."[7] The following year, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges and declared the accused players innocent, stating that the players were victims of a "tragic rush to accuse."[8]


External links

  • Faculty Homepage
  • Yale Office of Public Relations & Communications: 'Alice Kaplan Is Appointed the John M. Musser Professor'
  • University of Chicago Press author page
  • 'Translation: The Biography of an Art Form' essay by Alice Kaplan
  • Recent articles in The Nation: .
  • (in French)
  • Interview
  • Reading Group Q&A
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