Marie-Hélène Girard, Visiting Professor in French Department for 20 years

November 18, 2022

Message from R. Howard Bloch, Acting Chair of French:

I write to let you know that Marie-Hélène Girard has decided not to continue teaching in the French Department.  I write with some sadness, for, as you know, Marie-Hélène has been an important part of the Department, having taught courses on French art and literature for the last twenty years.

     After an impressive career in France where she earned a Doctorat d’État from the Université de Paris and taught at the Université de Poitiers, the Université de Dijon, the Université de Picardie, and the Université de Paris, Marie-Hélène Girard came to Yale as a Visiting Professor in 2002.  A specialist in nineteenth-century art and literature, Marie-Hélène has published a number of anthologies and critical editions of the esthetic writings of  Théophile Gautier.  She has curated exhibitions in France and at our own Sterling Library.  She has lectured widely in France, Italy, and the United States, and is a member of scholarly societies in these countries.  She has been a fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center three times over the last two decades.   

     At Yale Marie-Hélène is especially known for her courses “Writers and Artists in Paris,” “Icons in French Art,” “The Middle East in French Literature,” and “Introduction to Literatures in French.”  Her students rave about her courses and describe her as a brilliant fantastic professor, thoughtful, dedicated, fascinating, kind, generous, caring and “everything a Yale professor and a Yale education should be.”  One student laments that “Yale would be at a loss without her,” and her colleagues in the French Department heartily concur.

     We will miss Marie-Hélène Girard, and we wish her all the peace, joy, and sense of freedom that retirement might bring as she circulates back and forth between France and New Haven.