Eliza Zingesser

Eliza Zingesser

Research Interests
Medieval French and Occitan Literature and Culture

Eliza Zingesser (AB, Smith College, PhD, Princeton) is a specialist of medieval French and Occitan literature. Before coming to Columbia, she was a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge (2012-2013) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa (2013-2014). She is particularly interested in issues of cultural and linguistic contact, gender and sexuality, and animal studies. Her first book, Stolen Song: How the Troubadours Became French, is forthcoming with Cornell University Press (2019). Stolen Song documents for the first time the act of cultural appropriation that created a founding moment for French literary history: the rescripting and domestication of troubadour song, a prestige corpus in the European sphere, as French, and the simultaneous creation of an alternative point of origin for French literary history—a body of faux-archaic Occitanizing song. Her next book, tentatively entitled Eloquent Animals, is about nonhuman animals, especially birds, and theories of language and rationality.

Zingesser has received grants and awards from the Medieval Academy of America, the Fulbright Foundation, the Institut Français d’Amérique, the Josephine de Kármán Fellowship Trust, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was awarded the Society for French Studies’ Malcolm Bowie Prize for “the best article published in the preceding year by an early-career researcher” for her article, “Pidgin Poetics: Bird Talk in Medieval France and Occitania.”

Selected Publications

“Chrétien the Jay: Avian Rhetoric in Philomena” (under review)

“The Poets of the North: Economies of Literature and Love.” In Musical Culture in the World of Adam de la Halle, ed. Jennifer Saltzstein. Leiden: Brill. Forthcoming in 2019

“French Troubadours: Assimilating Occitan Poetry in Medieval France (1200-1400).” In Medieval Francophone Literary Culture Outside France, ed. Dirk Schoenaers and Nicola Morato. Turnhout: Brepols. Forthcoming in 2019

“Pidgin Poetics: Bird Talk in Medieval France and Occitania.” New Medieval Literatures 17 (2017): 62-80

“Remembering to Forget Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amour in Italy: The Case of Pierpont Morgan MS 459.” Forthcoming in French Studies 69.4 (2015)

“The Vernacular Panther: Encyclopedism, Citation, and French Authority in Nicole de Margival’s Dit de la panthère.” Modern Philology109:3 (2012): 301-311

“The Genesis of Poetry: Machaut’s Prologue, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and Chartrian Neoplatonism.” Viator 42:2 (2011): 143-156

“The Value of Verse: Storytelling as Accounting in Froissart’s Dit du florin.” Modern Language Notes 125:4 (2010): 861-872

“Rabelais et Ésope en images.” Études Rabelaisiennes 50 (2010): 23-42