Antoine Marcel Compagnon

Antoine Marcel Compagnon

Research Interests 
Sixteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century French literature; literary theory

Antoine Compagnon, member of the Académie française, is the Blanche W. Knopf Professor of French and Comparative Literature. His research involves three main areas: the Renaissance, the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and theory of literature and history of criticism.

He focused on Montaigne in La Seconde Main (1979), Nous, Michel de Montaigne (1980), Chat en poche: Montaigne et l’allégorie (1993), Un été avec Montaigne (2013).

On Proust, after editing Du côté de chez Swann (1988) and Sodome et Gomorrhe (1988), he published Proust entre deux siècles (1989; American translation, 1992), as well as many articles.

He discussed modernity and the avant-garde in Les Cinq Paradoxes de la modernité (1990; American translation, 1994), Baudelaire devant l’innombrable (2004), Les Antimodernes (2005), and the recent Baudelaire l’irréductible (2014) and Un été avec Baudelaire (2015).

He presented a cultural history of the Dreyfus Affair in Connaissez-vous Brunetière? (1997), and of the Occupation in Le Cas Bernard Faÿ  (2009).

To history of criticism and critical theory, he devoted La Troisième République des lettres (1983) and Le Démon de la théorie (1998; American translation, 2004).

Among his recent publications, a novel of formation, La Classe de rhéto (2012); a conversation on his intellectual experiences, Une question de discipline (2013); a memoir on his friendship with Roland Barthes, L’Âge des lettres (2015); an examination of our digital life, Petits spleens numériques (2015) and La vie derrière soi (2021) a study of the relationship between creativity and old age.

Compagnon is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the Academia Europaea, and a corresponding fellow of the British Academy. He received honorary degrees from King’s College, London, University of Liège, and University of Bucharest. He was elected to the Académie française in 2022.