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 (Cornell University Press, 2020),  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 Pidgin Poetics, is about avian-human circuits in medieval literature and what they produce.

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 Articles and Book Chapters

“Chrétien the Jay: Avian Rhetoric in Philomena.” Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 38.2 (2020): 156-179

“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 (2019), 51-76

“Francophone Troubadours: Assimilating Occitan Lyric in Medieval France.” In Medieval Francophone Literary Culture Outside France, ed. Dirk Schoenaers and Nicola Morato. Turnhout: Brepols (2019), 371-387

“Pidgin Poetics: Bird Talk in Medieval France and Occitania.” New Medieval Literatures 17 (2017): 62-80. (Winner of the Malcolm Bowie Prize from the Society for French Studies)

“Remembering to Forget Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amour in Italy: The Case of Pierpont Morgan MS 459.” French Studies 69.4 (2015): 439-448

“The Vernacular Panther: Encyclopedism, Citation, and French Authority in Nicole de Margival’s Dit de la panthère.” Modern Philology 109.3 (2012): 301-311

“The Genesis of Poetry: Machaut’s Prologue, Boethius’ 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


Last updated September 2020