Lewis Seifert


Chair, Department of French Studies, Professor. Ph.D. University of Michigan. 

In his research and teaching, Lewis Seifert's primary interests encompass two broad areas: seventeenth-century French culture and folk- and fairy-tale narratives. He has a particular focus on questions of gender and sexuality, both theoretically and historically; but he has also explored problems of early modern authorship, political discourse, and friendship.

In his first book, Fairy Tales, Sexuality, and Gender in France, 1690-1715: Nostalgic Utopias (Cambridge UP, 1996), he explored reasons why the fairy tale genre appeared in late seventeenth-century France and in particular its ambivalent representations of femininity, masculinity, and (hetero)sexuality. He argues that the "marvelous" universe of the conte de fées is a throwback to earlier fictional forms that often allows for a critique of the past and an articulation of yet-to-be conceived identities and relations. 

His second book, Manning the Margins: Masculinity and Writing in Seventeenth-Century France (University of Michigan Press, 2009), investigates the struggle between the expectation of dominance and the risk of subservience and marginality that emerges in such seventeenth-century masculine types as the honnête homme, the male salon denizen, the sodomite, and the transvestite. 

He is currently working on two different projects.  The first brings to bear insights from a variety of contemporary thinkers in an investigation of the multiple connections and ruptures between the (early modern French) past and the (French and American) present. The second is a study of the trickster character in Francophone oral traditions of North American and the Caribbean.

Seifert has co-edited several volumes: (with Domna Stanton) Enchanted Eloquence: Fairy Tales by Seventeenth-Century French Women Writers. The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe, The Toronto Series, 9. Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2010; (with Todd Reeser) Entre Hommes: French and Francophone Masculinities in Culture and Theory Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2008; (with Todd Reeser) French Masculinities. Special Issue of L'Esprit Créateur Vol. XLIII, No. 3 (Fall 2003).  He is currently editing a volume of essays on friendship in early modern France (with Rebecca Wilkin) and a special issue of Marvels and Tales on “Queer(ing) Fairy Tales.” >> More Information

Rochambeau House, room 104; phone (401) 863-1029.