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Jean-Jacques Thomas, Professor Emeritus of Romance Studies, Literature and Linguistics; and French Studies

Jean-Jacques Thomas

Jean-Jacques Thomas is Professor Emeritus of Romance Studies, Literature and Linguistics at Duke University. He taught at the Université de Paris-VIII, the University of Michigan and at Columbia University; for three years he was a Visiting Professor at UQAM; in 2005 he was appointed Associate Faculty Member at the Centre d'Etudes Poétiques of the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He is a member of the COS (Comité d'Orientation Scientifique - International Expert, Humanities) for the French Universities of Aix-Marseille (Provence, Méditerranée, Paul Cézanne). He has published several books on poetics and contemporary French literature: Lire Leiris: essai d'étude poétique d'un fonctionnement analinguistique (Paris, 1972); Poétique générative (Paris, 1978); Poética Générativa (Buenos Aires, 1982; new and augmented edition, 1989); La langue, la poésie (Lille, 1989); Yves Bonnefoy: A Concordance (New York, 1990); La langue volée (Berne, 1990). With Steven Winspur he co-authored Poeticized Language (Penn State Press, 2000). He translated into French The Semiotic Web [La Toile sémiotique] by Thomas Sebeok (Bruxelles, 1981) and Semiotics of Poetry [Sémiotique de la poésie] by Michael Riffaterre (Paris, 1983). He is a founding editor and a member of the editorial board of the European journal FPC (2003) and an associate editor of Poetics Today; he is a member of the editorial boards of Studies in 20th-Century Literature, Sub-Stance, and a former member of the Advisory Editorial Committee of PMLA. He is Directeur Littéraire (Editor-in-chief) of PUNM (New Orleans). He was chair of several MLA divisional committees and an elected member of the Delegate Assembly (1993-1998 Theoretical linguistics; 2001-2004 -- Politics of the Profession); in 2003 he was asked to be a candidate for the MLA Executive Committee (declined). Since 1996 he is a national member for the AP evaluation board and was a member of the Coalition Group of Foreign Languages Specialists which produced the National Standards for Foreign Languages (Project 2000).

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Diplome de l'Institut National des Langues et Civilisations OrientalesUniversité de Paris-III1972
Doctorat Mention "Très bien"Université de Paris-Sorbonne1972
Maîtrise ès-Lettres ClassiquesUniversité de Lille, France1969
Diplôme d'Etudes SupérieuresUniversité de Lille1969
Étudiant libre,Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes1969

Research Interests: Semiotics of representation and Modes of Discourse

Current projects: Genealogy of European Esthetics, Anglo-Saxon Poetics, Rhizomatic Writings in French in the New World

19th and 20th Centuries French literature and culture, Poetry and Poetics, French and General Linguistics, Semiotics, New World Francophone Studies

Areas of Interest:

Verbal and visual representation
Literary theory
Cyber communication
Modes of expression of the self


Francophone • Poetics • Poetry • Semiotics • Linguistics • XIXth French • XXth French

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Heather Mallory  
  • Katherine Weaver  
  • Kathleen A. Antonioli  
  • Scott M. Kushner  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. J.-J. Thomas, « Photographic Memories of French Poetry : Denis Roche, Jean-Marie Gleize»,, edited by J. Baetens and Ari Blatt eds, Yale French Studies (Accepted, Summer 2008), Yale University
  2. J.-J.Thomas, « DADA », Twenty Century Literature Criticism, vol. 168 (Spring, 2007), Dallas: Gale Group [pdf]
  3. J.-J. Thomas, «Jean-Marie Gleize ou la poétique de l’aporie herméneutique », in Ecrire l’énigme, edited by Christelle Reggiani, Bernard Magné eds (2007), pp. 215-230., Paris : Presses Universitaires de Paris-Sorbonne [aff_livre.php]
  4. J. Thomas, « Gleize’s Poetic Pix », edited by Alison James, L'Esprit Créateur (Accepted, Spring 2008), University of Minnesota
  5. J.-J. Thomas, «Roubaud Proprose”, in Jacques Roubaud, écrivain, mathématicien, edited by Agnès Dixon, Véronique Montémont eds (Accepted, Spring 2008), Paris : Presses Universitaires du CNRS

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