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30 sept. 2022, Niagara Falls : France and the World Beyond France : Reading Early Modern Texts in a Global Context

France and the World Beyond France : Reading Early Modern Texts in a Global Context
Panel at NeMLA Convention
Niagara Falls, NY
March 23-26, 2023

The early modern period is often cited as a time of growing national self-awareness in France. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century authors looked inward at French literature and culture, and sought to distance the French from the foreign. In 1539, the Edict of Villers-Cotterêts called for the French language to replace Latin in legal documents. Ten years later, Joachim du Bellay’s Deffence et Illustration de la Langue Françoyse called for French writers to detach themselves from foreign influence and develop a uniquely French literary style. Recently, scholars have drawn attention to ways in which early modern French authors expressed consciousness of—and even contributed to the creation of—national community in their texts.

These France-focused authors wrote in a period of significant and growing international interactions. Increased contact between Europe and the Americas, trade within and beyond Europe, and the advent of the printing press brought early modern France in contact with people and ideas from places far from the Hexagon.

This panel invites papers which investigate how such international interactions and early modern French literature are intertwined. How did French authors respond to people and ideas from far away ? How do these interactions challenge, or shape, what these authors say, explicitly or implicitly, about France ? In seeking papers which consider these questions, this panel invites reflection on how reading early modern French texts with attention to those considered “outsiders” in France is crucial to understanding these texts.

Abstracts of 250 words in English or French should be submitted through the NeMLA website by September 30, 2022.

Please feel free to contact Emily Epperson (epperson chez with any questions.