Lisa Ann Villarreal

portrait: Isaac Bleaman
Curriculum Vitae: 

Lisa Ann Villarreal completed her Ph.D. this Fall in Comparative Literature at Stanford. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from the Loyola University Chicago Honors College in 2005, with majors in French, English, International Studies, and Philosophy, along with minors in Comparative Literature and Women's Studies.  She has also studied German at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in 2006 and attended the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University in 2009. Her research focuses on fiction of the francophone, anglophone, and germanophone traditions from the late-nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries, especially Surrealism, minimalism, gothic literature, the fantastic and the uncanny. She is also interested in film and film studies, particularly Weimar and classical Hollywood cinema. Her approach to literary texts is a political aesthetics that draws on phenomenology, Marxism, and post-structuralism.


The Subject and Matter: The Body and the Space of Narration in Early-Twentieth-Century Literature interrogates the literary work’s capacity to engage the body of the reader, exploring the intersection of narrative representations of the visual and tactile experience of being-in-space and the work’s engagement with its own material dimensions as text, page, and book. Exploring the question of how the material presence of the book inflects the experience of reading, the project examines the use of elements of textual organization such as enjambment, punctuation, paragraph breaks, juxtaposition, and graphic elements in the works of the French Surrealists, Céline, Beckett, and Hemingway.

Committee Members: 

H.U. Gumbrecht (principal advisor), David Palumbo-Liu, Laura Wittman


  • "'Là bas où sa race était née': Colonial Anxieties and the Fantasy of the Native Body in Maupassant's Le Horla." [forthcoming in Nineteenth-Century French Studies]

  • “Dead Man Walking: Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Monstrous Form of Nineteenth-Century Mobility.” [under revision for Victorian Literature and Culture

  • "Hegel as Philosophy of Observation: Reflections on the Discourse of Science and Self-Reflexivity in the Phenomenology of Spirit." [forthcoming in Spanish in La Historia de la Observacion Segundo Grado. Ed. Perla Chinchilla and H.U. Gumbrecht. Mexico City: Universidad Iberoamericana, 2012; forthcoming in German in Beobachtung Zweiter Ordnung — Historisiert. München, Fink Verlag, 2012.]

  • Translation of Geist und Materie--Was ist Leben? Zur Aktualitaet von Erwin Schroedinger, Ed. H.U. Gumbrecht. Stanford UP, 2011.

  • "'A simulation from beginning to end':(Mis)representing Otherness in J.M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello" in Declensions of the Self: A Bestiary of Modernity, Ed. Jean-Jacques Defert, Trevor Tchir, and Dan Webb. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.

Conference Presentations:

  • “Telegraphic Style and Post-War Topography: Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Textual Landscapes.” The Edges of Exposure, Graduate Student Conference, Dept. of French, UC Berkeley. April 27-28, 2012.
  • "Dead Man Walking: Bram Stoker's Dracula and the Monstrous Form of Nineteenth-century Mobility." Travelling Concepts, Metaphors, and Narratives: Literary and Cultural Studies in an Age of Interdisciplinary Research, Hermes Consortium for Literary and Cultural Studies, Justus-Liebig-Universitaet Giessen. June 13-19, 2010.
  • "'Ce corps inconnaissable': The Fantasy of the Native Body in Discourses of Degeneration." Fossilization and Evolution, Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium. October 22-24, 2009.
  • "Tracing the Limits of Representation: Freud and Todorov on the Fantasy of Historical Memory."Inside/Outside,Graduate Student Conference, Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins University. April 2-3, 2009.
  • "'Là bas où sa race était née': Reading Race and Repression in Maupassant's Le Horla." Circulation: Networks, Knowledge and the Literary, Eighteenth Annual Conference, French Graduate Student Association, Columbia University. March 6, 2009.
  • “Imagining the Modern: Towards a Critical Historiography (On Eschatological Themes in the Writings of Marx).”Arrivals and Departures, 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association. April 24-27, 2008.
  • “Sex, Lies, and the Nation-State: Spies and Sexual Deviants in Proust’s Recherche.” Comparative Literature Colloquium, Stanford University, May 18, 2007.
  • “A Lesson in Narration: Representations of Otherness and the Rational Project in Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello.”Declensions of the Self: A Bestiary of Modernity, Fifth Graduate Student Conference, Depts. of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, and Political Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton. September 28-29, 2006.
  • “'On est pour son pays comme on est pour soi-même': Proustian Space and the Semiotics of Nationhood.”L’Exception Française: Negotiating Identity in the French National Imaginary, Graduate Student Conference, Dept. of French and Francophone Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. November 2-3, 2006.

 Work in Progress:

  • "Much Ado About Nothing: On Flannery O'Connor 's Engagement with Heidegger" [article]
  • “The Visual Poetics of Minimalism” [article]

Professional Activities:

  • Strategic Communications Internship (researching initiatives to promote the humanities) with the Office of Public Affairs at Stanford University (Summer 2012)

  • Planning Committee, Restructuring Humanities Departments: Language, Literature, Culture, Conference organized by the Research Unit of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, Stanford University, May 8-9, 2011.

  • Planning Committee, Avatars: Personae, Heteronyms, Pseudonyms, Third Graduate Student Conference, Dept. of Comparative Literature, Stanford University, April 10-11, 2009.

  • Planning Committee, Corruption in Modern Literature and Theory, Second Graduate Student Conference, Dept. of Comparative Literature, Stanford University. April 4-5, 2008.

  • Co-organizer, Horizons, First Graduate Student Conference, Dept. of Comparative Literature. November 17-18, 2006.

  • Research Assistant to Professor Adrian Daub

  • Aesthetics Project, Research Group of the Philosophy and Literature Initiative, Stanford University. 

  • Philosophical Reading Group, Research Workshop of the Stanford Humanities Center.
  • French Culture Workshop, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, Stanford University

  • Working Group on the Novel, Center for the Study of the Novel, Stanford University


Christy Wampole

portrait: Christy Wampole

Dissertation: Late Twentieth-Century French and Italian Essayistic Fiction.

Principal advisors: Jeffrey Schnapp, Laura Wittman. Committee members: Robert Harrison, Joshua Landy, Thomas Harrison (UCLA)

My dissertation analyzes the various strands of essayism in French and Italian fiction from the 1960s to present. Beginning with Montaigne, I define the essay’s main features and survey important theories of the essay into the twentieth century. I then offer an expansive genealogy of European essayistic fiction from the early twentieth century to present. I claim that early essayistic fiction, exemplified by writers such as Valéry, Proust, Musil, and Pirandello, fell dormant until the late 1960s when writers rediscovered that the essay’s tentative nature and its rhetorical structures (digression, dialogism, contingency, hypothetical language) could be enlisted to reorient the novel from a realist trajectory to a more open-ended, speculative, and metaphysical one. These writers include Michel Tournier, Yannick Haenel, Muriel Barbery, Italo Calvino, Claudio Magris, and other contemporary French and Francophone novelists.

  • “The Impudence of Claude Cahun.” L’Esprit créateur (forthcoming Spring 2013).
  • “Schreber, parfaitement extralucide.” Magazine littéraire no. 524, October 2012.
  • “Cioran’s Providential Bicycle.” Revista Transilvania (Romania), January 2012.
  • “Fenoglio’s Vitalist Impulse: Primaverilità, Infuturamento, and the Force of Life in Il Partigiano Johnny,Quaderni del ‘900, no. 11, November 2011.
  • “Slim Prospects: The Anorexic Body in the Postmodern Condition.” Quaderni di Synapsis, Vol. 8., 2010.
  • “Jarry, Tabucchi, Pessoa: The Design of Temporal Navigation.” Pataphysica, Vol. 3, mNemonik iNk Press, 2006.
  • “Founders of Discursivity?: A Foucauldian Glimpse of the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle.” Chimères: A Journal of French Literature published by the University of Kansas, Vol. XXVIII, Fall 2004.
  • Review of France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality and Globalization since 1980 by Timothy B. Smith. The French Review 79:4 (p. 860-861) March 2006.
  • Review of Globalization Redux: New Name, Same Game edited by Tom Conner and Ikuko Torimoto. The French Review 79:3 (p.652-653) February 2006.
  • Review of Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady edited by Bonnie Wheeler and John Carmi Parsons. The French Review 78:6 (p.1259-1260) May 2005.
  • Review of Cock and Bull Stories: Folco de Baroncelli and the Invention of the Camargue by Robert Zaretsky. The French Review 78:4 (p. 794-795) Mar. 2005.
  • Review of French Popular Culture: An Introduction, Hugh Dauncey, ed. To appear in The French Review 78:3 (p. 602-3) Feb. 2005.
  • Review of Popular Music in Contemporary France: Authenticity, Politics, Debate, by David L. Looseley. The French Review 78:1(p. 183) Oct. 2004.
  • Review of France and Women, 1789-1914: Gender, Society and Politics, by James F. McMillan. The French Review 77:3 (pp. 603-604) Feb. 2004.
  • Review of The French Wars 1792-1815, by Charles J. Esdaile. The French Review 77:1 (pp. 176-177) Oct. 2003.


  • “Un entretien avec Sonia Korn-Grimani, écrivaine” Guest Host of Professor Robert Harrison’s radio program “Entitled Opinions (About Life and Literature),” on KZSU 90.1 Stanford, March 2011.
  • "Un entretien avec Lyonel Trouillot, écrivain haïtien," Guest Host of "Entitled Opinions," February 2011.
  • "Le Nouveau Roman," Guest on "Entitled Opinions," February 2011.


  • Robinson Crusoe and Its Imitators,” (precept) Creative Arts and Humanities Symposium, Princeton University, September 2012.
  • “The Essayification of Everything,” Preoccupied: The Words, Wounds, and Workings of Occupations, Past and Present (Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Conference), Berlin, Germany, June 2012.
  • “Self-Begetting Theory: Volodine’s Post-Exotic Aesthetics,” Actuality and the Idea Conference, Princeton University, May 2012.
  • “The Root: The Toxicity of a Metaphor in Twentieth-Century France,” Department of French and Italian Faculty Works in Progress Lecture Series, Princeton University, March 2012.
  • “The Essayistic Thrust in the Contemporary French Novel,” Crossings, Frictions, Fusions: 20th- and 21st-Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, Long Beach, CA, March 2012.
  • “Rootedness, a Troublesome Metaphor: Enracination, Eradication, and the Caribbean,” Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, Rochester, NY, March 2012.
  • Endogamie, Exogamie and the Sphere of Possibilities,” Deceit, Desire, and the Novel Fifty Years Later: Mimetic Theory and Literary Studies, Stanford University, April 2011.
  • “Pragmatism and the Essay Form,” American Comparative Literature Association, Vancouver, Canada, March 2011.
  • “Procedere quasi a tentoni: Possibilitarianism and the Tentacular in Claudio Magris’Danubio,” California Interdisciplinary Consortium for Italian Studies Annual Conference, Stanford, California, March 2009.
  • “A Conversation with Modernism/Modernity” (panelist), Modernist Studies Association Conference, Long Beach, CA, November 2007.
  •  “Oeil pour oeil: Retributive Violence in Houllebecq’s Plateforme,” Violence, Disaster, and the Crisis of Representation Conference, University of California, Los Angeles, October 2007.
  •  “Semiosis of Suspicion in Italian Literary Conversion,” Conversions Conference, Stanford University, January 2007.
  •  “Electronic Games as a Constrained Medium: An Oulipian Approach,” Form, Culture and Video Game Criticism Conference, Princeton University, March 2004.
  •  “The Ninth Art: A Survey of the Comic in France,”  Graduate Student Lecture Series, University of North Texas, April 2003.
  •  “Art as a Classroom Catalyst,”  Texas Foreign Language Association Fall Conference, Fort Worth, TX, November 2002.


  • Essay by Rudolf Arnheim, “Disciplina del grammofono, della radio, del telefono e della televisione,” Modernism/Modernity, Vol. 16.2, March 2009.
  • Essay by Valéry Larbaud, “La lenteur,” SPEED Limits (Milan: Skira, 2009).
  • “The Law of 22 Prairial (1794),” with Dan Edelstein, Telos, no. 141, Winter 2007.
  • Essay by Dr. Sylvie Chalaye entitled “Écritures contemporaines du monde noir francophone: dramaturgies du détour,” Yale French Studies, Vol. 112, November 2007.
  • Essay by Dr. Bernadette Bost entitled “Drames hors-limites: des théâtres de la totalité,”Yale French Studies, Vol. 112, November 2007.
  • Essay by Dr. Natacha Allet entitled “Mythe et légende dans les théâtres d’Antonin Artaud”Yale French Studies, Vol. 111, May 2007.
  • Ten completed books of memoirs of Antoine Köpe, a World War I soldier who resided inTurkey and whose native language was French. 
  • Stanford University: Ph.D in French and Italian literature of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. (2005-2011)
  • École normale supérieure, Paris, France. One year abroad as a pensionnaire étrangère. (2008-2009)
  • Middlebury College. Graduate courses in French and Italian. (2003-2004)
  • L'Université François Rabelais, Tours, France. Semester abroad. (2000)
  • University of North Texas. MA and BA in French Literature. (1996-2002)

Serena Ferrando


Serena Ferrando is a Ph.D. candidate in Italian at Stanford University, specializing in contemporary Italian poetry. She received an MA in American Studies and an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her BA in Foreign Languages at the Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy. Her dissertation is a study of the city of Milan, water, and love in the poetry of Alda Merini, Daria Menicanti and Milo De Angelis.

Committee Members: 
Jeffrey Schnapp, Laura Wittman, Carolyn Springer, Serenella Iovino.
Conferences and Publications: 

-'Water in Milan. A Cultural History of the Naviglio'. ASLE Biennial Conference, Bloomington, IN (June 21-26, 2011). 

-'Mi ricordo Alda Merini.' Testimonianze. Milano: Incisione Arte, 2010.

-'Alda Merini and Marilyn Monroe. Icone dell’amore perduto’ in Catalogo Mostra ’Marilyn Monroe e l’arte della bellezza’. Milano: Incisione Arte, 2010.

-'Acqua nella Milano di Daria Menicanti e di Alda Merini.' Chiasmi, Brown-Harvard Graduate Student Conference in Italian Studies (March 12-13, 2010).

-‘Alda Merini and Marilyn Monroe. Icons of Lost Love.’ Mantis, 7, 2009: 40-67.

-Franca Pellegrini. La tempesta originale. La vita di Alda Merini in poesia. Book Review. Italica, 85 (2), 2009.

-‘Gender and Translation. From the Margins to Visibility.’ ‘Corruption’ - Stanford Graduate Student Conference Comparative Literature (April 4-5, 2008).

-The Other Truth. Diary of An Other. (A translation of Alda Merini’s L’altra verita`. Diario di una diversa) Milano: L’Incisione, 2007.

-‘An Italian Poet in the Madhouse: The Life and Works of Alda Merini.’ AAIS-AATI Convention in Genova, Italy (May 25-28, 2006).


-ITALLANG 1, 2, 3, 23, 5A, 2A - Language Instructor.

-ITALLIT 127 (Inventing Italian Literature: Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca), ITALLIT 128 (The Italian Renaissance and the Path to Modernity), ITALLIT 129 (Modern Italian History and Literature) - Teaching Assistant.

-ITALLIT 142 (Literature and the City) - Instructor.


  • 2005: Master’s in Comparative Literature, University of Texas at Austin. MA Thesis: “The Other Truth. Diary of Another. A Translation of Alda Merini’s L’altra verità. Diario di una diversa.”
  • 2001: Master’s in American Studies, University of Texas at Austin. MA Thesis: “Madness as Speechless Rebellion, Writing as Voice. The Diary and Letters of Alice James.”
  • 1998: BA in Modern Foreign Languages (summa cum laude, Dignità di stampa), Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy.
  • Ph.D. in Italian, Stanford University

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