Core Faculty Member

Tamas-Le Menthéour, Jennifer

Education:

Licence, Maîtrise, DEA, Université Paris IV Sorbonne
Agrégation et CAPES de Lettres Modernes (concours externes)
Doctorat, Paris IV Sorbonne (2012)
PhD at Stanford University (2013)

Fields of Research:

Feminist Theory (notions of agency, consent and resistance)
Theater (from the Antiquity to the 21st century) and Performance Theory
Focus on Racine and Early Modern Theater
Ghosts and Mourning in Old Regime
Eloquence of silence
Rhetoric of Human Rights
Motherhood and Childhood in Old Regime

My teaching interests range from the Old Regime to the French Revolution and explore the boundaries between passions and politics. I published numerous articles on passions and theater.

My new book “Au NON des femmes. Libérer nos classiques du regard masculin” (Paris, Seuil, 2023) investigates how the “male gaze” prevailed in establishing the French classics and their reception. By selecting authors deemed essential to our literary heritage (patrimoine culturel) and by erasing the works of women writers, the patriarchal gaze also undervalued female agency in well-known works of fiction such as Andromaque, La Princesse de Clèves or Little Red Riding Hood. My close reading of early modern memoirs, fairy tales, novels, and plays reveals that many female refusals (be they historical or fictional) remain obscured. My study also unveils women’s resistance at a time when galanterie was at once a means of seduction and an ideal shaped by both men and women. If nowadays galanterie is under attack and if the #MeToo movement has brought questions of female agency and consent to the fore, this book retraces an “archive of refusal” as a possible source of inspiration to invigorate feminist discourse and change our reception of the French canon. Surprisingly, heroines of the Grand Siècle can empower us with accounts of their struggle and help us reclaim an undervalued literary matrimoine

My monograph on Racine (Le Silence trahi. Racine et la déclaration tragique, Genève, Droz, 2018) reflects upon the notion of dramatic silence. Whether it results from a deliberate strategy or an inability to speak, silence is core to political ambitions, codes of civility, theatrical bienséances as well as religious practices. It represents the betrayal of an intention that needs to be clarified and that feeds the spectator’s interest. My study argues that Racinian tragedies represent the fight against an unbearable confession. Long hidden, concealed, unrevealed, it has devastating effects once it is unveiled. Drawing on this permanent tension between silence and declaration, Racine’s dramaturgy undermines the beautiful structure of Aristotelian poetics and imposes a new vision of the tragic.

Fellowships and Grants

Spring 2021: Humanities Plus Award for envisioning a podcast series on Women’s Empowerment for a new course called ‘‘How the French Invented The Female Gaze: Early Modern Fairy Tales and Their Legacy’’

Summer 2021: Recipient of the COVID Impact on Scholarly Productivity Faculty Grant Program 

Spring 2020: Presidential Fellowship For Teaching Excellence, Rutgers University

Spring 2019: Laura Bassi Fellowship (Book subvention)

Summer 2017: Research Council Grant, Rutgers University

2012-2013: Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center

2006-2007: Fulbright Fellowship

2005-2006: Bourse d’Agrégation (French merit-based government scholarship) 

Books

TamasBook1 TamasBook2

 

Monographs

Au NON des femmes. Libérer nos classiques du regard masculin, Paris, Seuil, (sortie le 6 janvier 2023)

Le Silence trahi. Racine ou la déclaration tragique, Genève, Droz, 2018 
If you want to know more about it: https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/les-nuits-de-france-culture/nuit-racine-12-entretien-avec-jennifer-tamas

Co-Authored and Co-edited Volumes

L’Éloquence du silence: dramaturgie du non-dit sur la scène théâtrale des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, Hélène Bilis and Jennifer Tamas (eds.), (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014)

Madame de Sévigné: les Lettres de 1671, Frédéric Calas, Nathalie Freidel, Cécile Lignereux, Jennifer Tamas (Paris: Nathan, 2012)

Book Chapters

“Le silence ou la mort. La déclaration d’amour chez Racine” in L’amour et l’amitié au Grand Siècle, Delphine Calle and Astrid Van Assche (eds), Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2022, 255-278.

‘‘To Speak Or Not To Speak: Racine’s Lessons on Communicative Strategies’’, in Teaching Neoclassical Tragedy, Hélène Bilis et Ellen McClure (eds.), MLA Options for Teaching, 2021, 146-156.

“Overcoming the Shadow: Andromaque’s Ambiguous Triumph”, Nick Hammond and Joseph Harris (eds.), Racine’s Andromaque: Absences and Displacements, Leiden, Brill, 2019, chap. 6, 95-113

“Dire et ne pas dire l’amour: formes discursives et effets pragmatiques des aveux dans Mithridate de Racine,” in Mathilde Vallespir and Roselyne de Villeneuve (eds.), (Paris: Presses Universitaires Paris-Sorbonne, 2010), 119-142

“La déclaration d’amour chez Racine: un discours emphatique qui oscille entre épanchement et brièveté,” in Mathilde Levesque and Olivier Pédeflous (eds.), L’Emphase: entre copia et brevitas, XVIe  et XVIIe siècle, (Paris: Presses Universitaires Paris-Sorbonne, 2010), 85-98

Articles

“ ‘C’était pendant l’horreur d’une profonde nuit…’ Mémoire des ombres et refus de l’oubli chez Racine”, in Mélanie Henry and Sophie Wahnich (eds), Écrire l’histoire, “Le carambolage des temps”, CNRS éditions (forthcoming in 2023)

‘‘L’amour des monstres: Racine ou la pitié pervertie”, in Revue d’Histoire du théâtre , special issue on “Bienséances et Poétique théâtrale au dix-septième siècle en France”, Gilles Declercq (ed.), (forthcoming in 2023)

“Le consentement tragique: Bérénice au miroir de Marie Mancini”, Études Épistémé, n°40, 2021, online publication: https://journals.openedition.org/episteme/13610  

“ ‘Forcez-les d’aimer’: Racine et le consentement forcé à la lueur de #MeToo”, Papers on French Seventeenth Century Studies, XLVIII, n°95, 2021, 287-303.

‘‘Que philosopher, c’est apprendre à écrire”, article in the “Livre hommage”, tribute to Michel Serres, Paris, éditions du Pommier, 2020, 163-166.

‘‘L’art de défaillir: les effets pathétiques de la didascalie racinienne” in Europe, special issue on Racine, Tristan Alonge and Alain Génetiot (eds) 2019, 106-117.

“Cœur de renard: la politique incestueuse de Créon dans La Thébaïde”, Papers on French Seventeenth Century Studies, vol XLIV, n°87, 2017, 231-245.

‘‘‘Je demeurai longtemps errant dans Césarée’. Méandres du moi et fixité du lieu dans Bérénice de Racine,” in L’Errance au XVIIe  siècle (Lucie Desjardins, Marie-Christine Pioffet, Roxanne Roy, eds), Biblio 17, vol. 216, 2017, 209-223.

‘‘ ‘Est-ce un malheur si grand que de cesser de vivre?’ Le spectacle du suicide dans la tragédie racinienne,” European Drama and Performance Studies, n°7, 2016-2, 89-103

“La mort orpheline: le suicide des mères chez Racine,” Papers on French Seventeenth Century Studies, vol. XLII, n°83, 2015, 301-312

“De l’alcôve à la tribune: Olympe de Gouges ou le désir d’agir,” Lumières, n°23, 2014, 151-166

“Racine: une dramaturgie de l’indicible,” European Drama and Performance Studies, n°2, 2014, 77-100

‘‘Valmont ou la sémiotique du corps au service d’une séditieuse séduction,’’ in Christian Delporte and Audrey Hermel (eds.), Corps et séduction, (Paris: Éditions et Librairie ancienne Nicolas Malais, 2014), 151-162

“L’imaginaire de la clôture à travers le cloître et la maison close au XVIIe siècle: la femme et la mise au ban de la société française,” La Licorne, n°94, 2010, 85-99

“La Médée d’Anouilh: entre drame intime et vision mythique d’une France blessée,” Revue du Paon d’Héra, n°5, 2009, 187-194

Undergraduate Courses: 

#HerToo: When Women Reclaim Fairy Tales

Diam’s, Princesse de Clèves des temps modernes

How the French Invented the Female Gaze? Early Modern Fairy Tales and their Legacy
https://open.spotify.com/show/4UdjkfHrpWNqDF1ohc1sEs?si=b27c3c34dbaf48f8

Take No For An Answer! The Art of Not Giving Consent Then And Now

Did you mean “no”? When consent is not just a female thing

Aspects of French Literature

Cours de civilisation: Comment peut-on être Français?

Faire sa cour: splendeur et misère des courtisan(e)s du Moyen-Âge à la Révolution française

We Need to Talk! Theater and Polemics in Early-Modern France

The Only Way Out! From the Past to the Stage

Famille je vous hais! Crime et infamie sur la scène classique

Le Silence ou la mort: la scène d’aveu au théâtre

Home, Bittersweet Home

Dangerous Liaisons. Love and Death Before the French Revolution (Middlebury College)

“Le Style à la lettre” (Institut d’Études Françaises d’Avignon): http://style204.wordpress.com

Graduate Courses:

Elles ont dit NON ! Désobéissance et Résistance des femmes au XVIIe siècle    

Indicible Racine

Survivre à la Séparation? Deuil et fantômes à l’âge classique

Infamille: Crime et rédemption sur la scène tragique (Institut d’Études françaises d’Avignon)