People in French

Il ne faut jamais avoir peur d'aller trop loin car la vérité est au-delà.


Nicholas Paige

Department Chair and Professor of French

  • Office Location: 4212 Dwinelle
  • Office Hours: Wednesdays 2 - 3 and 4 - 5


Nicholas Paige’s CV

The bulk of my teaching and research concerns the early modern period, essentially the 17th and 18th centuries. My latest book (forthcoming from Cambridge UP) isTechnologies of the Novel:  Quantitative Data and the Evolution of Literary Systems. The 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- and English-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 my website (link above) for a current CV and pdfs of articles, working papers, and talks.

Publications include:

“Pseudofactuality,” in Handbook of Narrative Factuality, ed. Monika Fludernik and Marie-Laure Ryan (Berlin: Gruyter, forthcoming); “The Evolution of Literary Technologies: Sampling the Fictionality of the Novel,” NLH 48.3 (2017); “The Artifactuality of Narrative Form: First-Person Novels in France, 1650-1830,” Poetics Today 39.1 (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 siècle 213.1 (2013); Lafayette’s Zayde: A Spanish Romance (trans., U Chicago P, 2006); Being Interior: Autobiography and the Contradictions of Modernity in Seventeenth-Century France (U Pennsylvania P, 2001)