Catherine LeGouis

Professor of French, on leave spring 2019
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century French and Russian literature

Catherine Le Gouis, a comparatist by training, teaches French language, literature, and Nouvelle Vague film. She recently taught senior seminars on the French detective novel, Victor Hugo's Les Misérables and Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, as well as a first-year seminar: “Reading The New Yorker.” She has also taught comparative courses on French and Russian literature, such as “The Influence of Anxiety: Dostoevsky and France.” She is a member of the European Studies Program.

Her research areas include the Russian Silver Age, comparative studies on French and Russian literature, and nineteenth-century European literary history. Le Gouis writes and speaks on Russian women who lived in France, the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century decadent movement in Europe, and ritual studies. She is the author of Positivism and Imagination (Bucknell University Press) and has edited, in collaboration with two colleagues from Smith College,Mon Histoire: Mémoires d'une femme de lettres russe à l'époque des Lumières (L'Harmattan, Paris), the autobiography of Princess Dashkova, a lady-in-waiting to Catherine the Great and one of the preeminent Russian intellectuals of the eighteenth century (she was, notably, a friend of Benjamin Franklin's).

When not teaching at Mount Holyoke, Le Gouis resides in Moscow, where she is working on a biography of Nina Petrovskaya, a Russian essayist and muse to major poets of the Russian Silver Age. She has received two IREX grants, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, for this project. For her next project, she plans a multiple biography of six lesser-known but representative figures of the Silver Age.

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