Virginie A. Duzer

Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures; Chair of Romance Languages and Literatures; Coordinator of the French Section
  • Expertise


    Virginie A. Duzer’s research deals mainly with the relation between texts, images and aesthetics in the avant-gardes of the years 1870-1970.

    Her first book, L’impressionisme littéraire (2013), aims at defining what literary impressionism really is. To do so, she gathers discourses of art history, literary history, cultural history and stylistic analysis. Focusing on the connections between writers and artists, the book provides its readers with “a rich cultural snapshot of an epoch” (Sidma Godfrey). 

    Duzer has also written several articles about the decadent figure of Salomé (to whom she dedicated a whole blog in 2005), as well as on the-said “obscure” poet Stéphane Mallarmé and on the lesser known fascinating surrealist poet Benjamin Péret.  

    When asked to describe her research methodology, Duzer explains that it is eclectic in its very essence. For her, thinking and writing always begin with a fragment, a point, an interstice, an intersection, an oxymoron or a paradox. She argues that this is where creativity and subjectivity matter most. From there, she works to ferret out a bigger picture, by coming back to theory and socio-historical matters. And in the end, her main research goal is hence to establish connections and links between works and movements that are rarely studied together

    Research Interests

    The relation between texts, images and aesthetics in the avant-gardes (from Impressionism towards Surrealism and Situationnisme)

    Areas of Expertise


    • Artistic & Literary French Avant-Garde
    • The Myth of Salomé
    • Contemporary French Literature and Film
    • Mallarmé


    • Text & Image Interactions
    • Literary Impressionism
    • Surrealism
    • Aesthetics
  • Work


    “Le surréalisme ne sera pas ce qu’il n’est plus.” Co-written with Marcela Scibiorska, in 1947. Almanach littéraire. Impressions nouvelles. 2017. 193-199

    “Impressions d’âmes écrivant.” L’Écrivain vu par la photographie. Formes, usages, enjeux, Ed. David Martens, Jean-Pierre Montier & Anne Reverseau. Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes. 2017. 134-141.

    “Voyages imaginaires avec Charles Baudelaire et Amelie Nothomb,” a teaching module for advanced students in French, co-developed with Vera A. Klekovkina, in Entre-textes: Dialogues littéraires et culturels, co- edited by OanaPanaite and Vera A. Klekovkina, Routledge. 2017. 198-217.

    Co-editor (and co-writer of the introduction) of the Mélusine special issue devoted to gender in Surrealism: Masculin-Fémin, Mélusine XXXVI. Paris: L’Age d’Homme, 2016.

    “Zacharie Astruc, modèle et personnage au carrefour des arts.” in Le texte et l’image, special issue of Histoires littéraires, Ed. Julien Bougousslavsky. Editions Du Lérot. Juillet-Décembre 2014 – vol. XV, no. 59-60. 101-111.

    "Le Fruit défendu." Introduction to Savoirs de jeunes filles, special issue of Romantisme, Ed. Virginie A. Duzer, issue  no. 165. 2014. 3-12

    Editor of the Romantisme special issue devoted to young girl’s knowledge: Savoirs de jeunes filles, Romantisme. No. 165 Paris: Armand Collin, 2014.

    “Le surréalisme en équations.” La Poésie scientifique, de la gloire au déclin. Ed. Muriel Louâpre, Hugues Marchal & Michel Pierssens. Epistémocritique.  2014. 399-411.

    “Dada, Surrealism, Antropofagia: The Swallowing Process of the Avant-garde,” Old and New, Avant-garde and “Arrière-garde” in French Modernist Literature, special issue of l’Esprit créateur. vol. 53, no. 3 Ed. Jan Baetens & Eric Trudel, Fall 2013. 79–90.

    L'Impressionnisme littéraire, Saint-Denis, Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, 2013.

  • Education


    Duke University, NC

    Master of Arts
    Kent State University, OH

    Maîtrise FLE & D.E.A. de Lettres Modernes
    Université Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux III

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Who's afraid of Marcel Proust?
    • Writing the Painter, Painting the Writer
    • Advanced French
    • Cannibalizing Surrealism
    • Frenchness: May 68 and Beyond
    • Intro to Literary Analysis
    • The Art of Modern Fiction
    • Notre Dame, Point 0
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    The Borchard Foundation, Scholar in Residence, Chateau de la Bretesche, Missillac, France, fall 2017 and fall 2011

    Pomona College; Harriet Barnard Summer Fellowship, summer 2010, summer 2015 and summer 2019

    Pomona College; Yale-Griffith Summer Fellowship, summer 2009 and summer 2013

    Institut Français de Washington ; Edouard Morot-Sir Research Fellowship, summer 2008

    Duke University Graduate School; Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching, April 2008

    Duke University Graduate School; Teaching Mini-Grant, 2007-2008