People in French

Tout est dit, et l'on vient trop tard.

—La Bruyère

Nicholas Paige

Department Chair and Professor of French

  • Office Location: 4212 Dwinelle
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 10-11 and Thursdays 2-3


Nicholas Paige’s CV

The bulk of my teaching and research concerns the early modern period, essentially the 17th and 18th centuries. I’ve just completed a preliminary manuscript of Technologies of the Novel:  Literary History from “Small” Data. This project, which was supported by a Guggenheim fellowship, aims to be the first quantitative history of the novel: it traces the incubation, development, and subsequent abandonment of a variety of formal devices via a systematic sampling of the production of French-language novels over the years 1600-1830. Drawing from studies of the evolution of technological artifacts, I argue that the novel is not one evolving (or “rising”) entity, but rather a system composed of discrete forms in constant but patterned flux. My previous book, Before Fiction:  The Ancien Régime of the Novel (U Penn Press, 2011), awarded the 2013 ASECS Gottschalk prize for best book on the 18th century, offers a history of the novel from the point of view of fictionality (for me, the notion that literary characters need not be “real people”); some of the methodological points raised in that study propel my current data-driven approach.  Other interests include the history of aesthetic effect and affect—essentially identification, considered not as a kind of “bad” reading but as a historical problem. Please go to website (link above) for a current CV and pdfs of articles, working papers, and talks.

Publications include:

“The Evolution of Literary Technologies: Sampling the Fictionality of the Novel,” NLH (forthcoming, 2017); “The Artifactuality of Narrative Form: First-Person Novels in France, 1650-1830,” Poetics Today39.1 (forthcoming, 2018); “Phèdre, Racine, and the French Classical Stage,” in A History of Modern French Literature, ed. Christopher Prendergast (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2017), 190-211;“Grandeur et décadence des Grecs: roman et enchâssement au dix-septième siècle,” Dix-septième siècle213.1 (2013); Lafayette’s Zayde: A Spanish Romance (trans., U Chicago P, 2006); “The Storyteller and the Book:  Scenes of Narrative Production in the Early French Novel,” MLQ 67:2 (2006);  “Bardot and Godard in 1963 (Historicizing the Postmodern Image),” Representations 88 (2004); Being Interior: Autobiography and the Contradictions of Modernity in Seventeenth-Century France (U Pennsylvania P, 2001)