Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French Literature.
Professor of French and Italian, Emeritus
François Rigolot, the Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French Literature, has published critical studies, edited literary texts, and directed Ph.D. dissertations in the field of French and Comparative Literature of the Renaissance. A native of France, Professor Rigolot earned his Ph.D. in French literature from the University of Wisconsin (1969) and taught at the University of Michigan until 1974 when he joined the Princeton faculty. Professor Rigolot’s primary interests involve the transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern period. He has pursued them through investigations into such diverse topics as rhetoric, stylistics and poetics. He is the author of a dozen books, including Les Langages de Rabelais (1972, 1996), Poétique et onomastique (1977), Le Texte de la Renaissance (1983), Les Métamorphoses de Montaigne (1988) ; Louise Labé Lyonnaise ou la Renaissance au féminin (1997) ; L’Erreur de la Renaissance (2002) ; Poésie et Renaissance (2003). He is the editor of Louise Labé’s Complete Works (1986), Montaigne's Journal de voyage (1992) ; Sainte-Beuve’s Causeries sur Montaigne (2004), and Clément Marot’s Œuvres complètes (2 volumes, 2007-2008). Professor Rigolot has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1979-80) and the Guggengeim Foundation (1982-83). He has received numerous honors and awards including the James Russell Lowell Prize in the Humanities from the Modern Language Association (1990), the Howard T. Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities (1993), the Palmes académiques (chevalier 1987, officier 1993), and the Ordre National du Mérite from the French Government (2002). In 2008 fifteen of his former students edited a Festschrift in his honor, Esprit généreux, esprit pantagruélique.
Current Research Projects
Professor Rigolot is currently writing on Montaigne's views of Italy , Rabelais’s concept of hybridity, post-modern views of the Pléiade, and the po etry written by Mary Queen of Scots . His long-term project is a book examining the relationship between magic and poetry in early modern Europe.
Professor Rigolot teaches courses on early modern French literature, Renaissance poetry, Rabelais and other storytellers, travel literature, Montaigne, Descartes and Pascal.
He especially enjoys teaching the undergraduate survey course on “The Rise of France” from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution, and the Humanistic Studies sequence on interdisciplinary approaches to western culture.