Yale French Studies

YFS celebrates 75 years

The French Department hosted a celebration to mark the 75th anniversary of Yale French Studies, the country’s oldest English-language journal devoted to French and Francophone literature, language, and culture on November 2, 2023.

The evening’s festivities opened with remarks from department chair, Maurice Samuels, followed by an introduction from YFS managing editor, Nichole Gleisner. A talented troupe of student actors, Kieron Cindric, Nour Darragi, Claire Donnellan and Karoline Vielemeyer, brilliantly performed two dramatic readings in French that represented the past and present of the publication. An excerpt from Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential drama Les Mains sales from the first volume of Yale French Studies was paired with a selection of scenes from Monique Wittig’s avant-garde Le Voyage sans fin to highlight the publication of #143, “Lesbian Materialism: The Life and Work of Monique Wittig” (see below.)

The volume’s editors, Morgane Cadieu (Yale) and Annabel L. Kim (Harvard) attended this special evening as well as many friends, faculty, students, and staff of the French department and the larger university community.


Yale French Studies, Number 142

Yale French Studies, Number 142, Lesbian Materialism: The Life and Work of Monique Wittig, edited by Morgane Cadieu and Annabel L. Kim, explores the contemporary relevance of an alternative strand of feminism as theorized by Monique Wittig

This volume of Yale French Studies foregrounds Monique Wittig (1935–2003), a writer who left France to live and teach in the United States, in a diverse range of multidisciplinary conversations—in literary studies, history, and gender and sexuality studies—to demonstrate how Wittig’s theoretical and literary work remains an indispensable resource for thinking and creating in the twenty-first century.
Editors Morgane Cadieu and Annabel L. Kim flip the “materialist lesbianism” that Wittig’s collection of essays, The Straight Mind, centers and describes as being the core of Wittig’s work to deal instead with “lesbian materialism,” thereby making “lesbian” the method and “materialism” the object and allowing Wittig’s work to realize its full range. The volume reinterrogates the official historiography of French materialist feminism; expands the intellectual framework within which Wittig’s work is usually considered; insists on the language-centric materialism that emerges from Wittig’s writing as a way of joining the political with the literary; and attends to the way this literary material inspires material responses and creations within the plastic arts. Underlying the entire volume is a keen sense of the materiality of Wittig’s archives, housed at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, as a site of lesbian thought in Wittig’s radical sense of the term: a fugitive positionality.

Morgane Cadieu is Associate Professor of French at Yale University. She is the author of Marcher au hasard: clinamen et création dans la prose du XXème siècle and On Both Sides of the Tracks: Social Mobility in Contemporary French Literature. She lives in New Haven, CT. 

Annabel L. Kim is the Roy G. Clouse Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University and author of Unbecoming Language: Anti-Identitarian French Feminist Fictions and Cacaphonies: The Excremental Canon of French Literature. She lives in Somerville, MA.

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Bonne lecture !