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David F. Bell, Professor, Romance Studies; French

David F. Bell
Contact Info:
Office Location:  209 Language Bldg
Office Phone:  +1 919 660 3110
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Office Hours:

Sabbatical: 2004-2005

Ph.D.Johns Hopkins University1980
MAUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill1976
BA (cum laude)Davidson College1969

European Studies
Sciences, Technologies
Theory of the Novel
Modern and Contemporary
Space Studies, Urban Studies
Research Interests:

Nineteenth-century French literature and culture; critical theory; literature and science; literature and technology.

Areas of Interest:

19th-century French Literature
20th-century French Literature
Literature and Science
Literature and Technology
Critical Theory
Film Theory


Europe • France • Theory • Literature • Technology

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Églantine Colon  
  • Anne O'Neil Henry  
  • Alix Mazuet  
  • Virginie Pouzet  
  • Stephanie Lin  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Bell, DF, Real Time: Accelerating Narrative from Balzac to Zola (2004), Champaign: University of Illinois Press
  2. Bell, DF, Circumstances: Chance in the Literary Text (1993), Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press
  3. Bell, DF, Here, There, Anywhere, Spec. Issue "After 9/11: European Perspectives," Contemporary French Civilization, vol. 29 no. 2 (2005), pp. 89-109
  4. Bell, DF, Writing, movement /space, democracy: On Jacques Rancière's literary history, Substance, vol. 33 no. 1 (December, 2004), pp. 126-140, ISSN 0049-2426 [Gateway.cgi]
  5. Bell, DF, Infinite archives, Substance, vol. 33 no. 3 (Fall, 2004), pp. 148-161, ISSN 0049-2426 [Gateway.cgi], [doi]
  6. Bell, DF, Vitesse et présent dans Lucien Leuwen, L'Année Stendhalienne, vol. 4 (2005), pp. 149-161
  7. Bell, DF, Gustave Le Rouge et La Conspiration des milliardaires: M.A.D. avant la lettre, Spec. Issue "Science Et Littérature," Alliage, vol. 57-58 (2006), pp. 169-176
  8. Bell, DF, Technologies of Speed, Technologies of Crime, Yale French Studies no. 108 (2005), pp. 8-8, JSTOR, ISSN 0044-0078 [Gateway.cgi], [doi]

David Bell received his PhD from Johns Hopkins in 1980, where he specialized in critical theory and nineteenth-century narrative. His first book, Models of Power: Politics and Economics in Zola's Rougon-Macquart, deals with narrative structures and political representation in Zola's series. His second book, Circumstances: Chance in the Literary Text, analyzes the function of chance in the realist narratives of Balzac and Stendhal. He has also worked on science and technology in nineteenth-century France, concentrating specifically on technologies of communication and their impact on the way people perceive space and time. His most recent book, entitled Real Time: Accelerating Narrative from Balzac to Zola, explores the importance of speed and communication in Balzac, Stendhal, Dumas, and Zola and was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2004. His newest research deals with instantaneousness and terror in fin-de-siècle culture in France, a project in which he examines the increasingly rapid feedback loops created by instantaneous communication and action. He is co-editor of SubStance.