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


David Marno


Focal Group(s): 
Focal Group(s): 
Workshop in Poetics

Robert Pogue Harrison

portrait: Beverly Allen

121 Pigott Hall
650 723 4204

On leave Autumn 2012

Professor Harrison received his doctorate in romance studies from Cornell University in 1984, with a dissertation on Dante's Vita Nuova. In 1985 he accepted a visiting assistant professorship in the Department of French and Italian at Stanford. In 1986 he joined the faculty as an assistant professor. He was granted tenure in 1992 and was promoted to full professor in 1995. In 1997 Stanford offered him the Rosina Pierotti Chair. In 2002, he was named chair of the Department of French and Italian. He is also lead guitarist for the cerebral rock band Glass Wave.

Professor Harrison's first book, The Body of Beatrice, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 1988. A revised and elaborated version of his dissertation, it deals with medieval Italian lyric poetry, with special emphasis on Dante's early work La Vita Nuova. The Body of Beatrice was translated into Japanese in 1994. Over the next few years Professor Harrison worked on his next book, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, which appeared in 1992 with University of Chicago Press. This book deals with the multiple and complex ways in which the Western imagination has symbolized, represented, and conceived of forests, primarily in literature, religion, and mythology. It offers a select history that begins in antiquity and ends in our own time. Forests appeared simultaneously in English, French, Italian, and German. It subsequently appeared in Japanese and Korean as well. In 1994 his book Rome, la Pluie: A Quoi Bon Littérature? appeared in France, Italy, and Germany. This book is written in the form of dialogues between two characters and deals with various topics such as art restoration, the vocation of literature, and the place of the dead in contemporary society. Professor Harrison's next book, The Dominion of the Dead, published in 2003 by University of Chicago Press, deals with the relations the living maintain with the dead in diverse secular realms. This book was translated into German, French and Italian. Professor Harrison's most recent book is Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, which appeared in 2008 with the University of Chicago Press, and in French with Le Pommier. In 2005 Harrison started a literary talk show on KZSU radio called "Entitled Opinions." The show features hour long conversation with a variety of scholars, writers, and scientists.


1984: Ph.D., Romance Studies (Dissertation: "A Phenomenology of the Vita Nuova"), Cornell University
1976: B.A., Humanities, University of Santa Clara

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