A native of Paris, France, André Benhaïm received a Maîtrise de Lettres Modernes from the Université de Paris-7, and a Diplôme d’Etudes Avancées from the Université de Lille-3, before obtaining his Ph.D. from Emory University. He joined the Princeton faculty in 2001. Professor Benhaïm’s main areas of research and teaching are 20th-century French prose literature and culture and Francophone literature and culture from North Africa and the Mediterranean. Particularly interested in questions of identity and representation, and the relation between ethics and aesthetics, he also focuses on the relationship between “canonical” literature (Proust, Camus…), contemporary works (Chevillard, Modiano…), and “popular culture.” A Proust scholar, he is the author of Panim. Visages de Proust (2006), and of a collection of essays: The Strange M. Proust (2009). He has also co-edited Ecrivains de la Préhistoire(2004), and a special issue of the journal Revue des Sciences Humaines entitled “Petits coins. Lieux de Mémoire” (2001). Lately, his research has led him to study French and Francophone bandes dessinées (and graphic novels), from Hergé’s Tintin to Joann Sfar’s Le Chat du Rabbin. Professor Benhaïm's latest publication include a book on Albert Camus and the everyday, Albert Camus au Quotidien (co-edited with Aymeric Glacet, 2013).
Benhaïm is also a longstanding member of the international research team "Animots", devoted to the study of animals and animality in French literature, directed by Dr. Anne Simon and hosted by the CNRS and the EHESS. He recently co-edited with Effie Rentzou 1913: The Year of French Modernism) (Manchester UP, 2020). His latest book, Après Ulysse. Vers une poétique de l’hospitalité en Méditerranée (Hermann, 2021), is an essay on the Mediterranean as a space of passages and transformations, from Homer to the present.
Professor Benhaïm regularly teaches graduate seminars and undergraduate courses on Marcel Proust, Albert Camus, and the Mediterranean. Some of his favorite courses include one on Paris in the 20th century (“Visions of Paris”), and one on hospitality (“Tales of Hospitality: France, North Africa, and the Mediterranean”), cross-listed with Comparative Literature. He recently offered courses entitled “The World in Bandes Dessinées" (cross-listed with African Studies), and "The Art of Insignificance" (sponsored by the Princeton Art Museum's Mellon Fund).
Benhaïm is currently working on an essay entitled: Marcel Proust Superstar. Du boulevard Haussmann à Hollywood Boulevard, on the presence of Proust in American visual culture (cinema and TV).
Fiction and Creative Projects
Of late, Benhaïm has been working on creative projects. In 2018, Sans Vincent, a play he co-authored with Aymeric Glacet about a cobbler convinced (and convincing the world) he is the reincarnation of Van Gogh, was produced in a stage reading directed by Florent Masse. Recently, he published a short story called “Les Juifs du cosmos” (“Jews of the Cosmos”) in the online journal K. Les Juifs, l’Europe, le XXIe siècle. He just finished writing a novel and is working on the second part of the triptych opened with Sans Vincent.