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Robert Doran

  • Professor of French and Comparative Literature
  • Affiliate Faculty in Music Theory (Eastman School of Music)
  • Head, French Program
  • Head, Comparative Literature Program
  • Undergraduate Advisor, French
  • Undergraduate Advisor, Comparative Literature

PhD, Stanford University; PhD, Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris III

414 Lattimore Hall
(585) 275-4251

Office Hours: Tuesday 6:30 - 8 p.m. and by appointment



Robert Doran is Professor of French and Comparative Literature and an Affiliate Faculty member of the Music Theory Department of the Eastman School of Music. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Stanford University and a PhD in General and Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne Nouvelle-University of Paris 3.

He is the author or editor of eight books, including the monographs The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant (Cambridge University Press, 2015/2017), which was translated into Spanish in 2021, and The Ethics of Theory: Philosophy, History, Literature (Bloomsbury, 2017). Most recently, he has edited Liszt and Virtuosity (University of Rochester Press, 2020), co-winner of the 2023 Alan Walker Triennial Book Award, sponsored by the American Liszt Society, and two volumes of Hayden White’s late essays for Cornell University Press (vol. 1, 2022; vol. 2, 2023). His current book projects are Revolutionary Aesthetics: The Sublime in Nineteenth-Century France and Shakespeare in Paris: Reinventing Nineteenth-Century French Theater.

His teaching focuses on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French literature and culture, in particular on the novel, romanticism, theater, Napoleon, and Paris. He also regularly teaches courses on continental philosophy, aesthetics, and twentieth-century French thought.

Research Overview

Ethics of narrative volume two book cover.Ethics of Narrative volume one book cover.Cover of the book with title and details written in SpanishBook cover.
Critical theorists Michel Foucault, Hayden White, Gayatri Spivak, and Richard Rorty."New book explores ‘ethical turn’ of critical theory"
- UR Newscenter article, 12/20/17

Research Interests

  • Nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature and culture
  • the novel
  • continental philosophy
  • literary theory
  • aesthetics
  • intellectual history
  • European cinema
  • existentialism

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • CLTR 200:  Topics in Critical Thinking: The Antihero (Spring 2022)
  • CLTR 389:  Major Seminar (Fall 2017)
  • FREN 157:  French in France (Summer 2018)
  • FREN 202:  Introduction to Literature in French (Spring 2018)
  • FREN 207:  French in France (Summer 2018)
  • FREN 229:  Existentialism (Fall 2019)
  • FREN 230:  French Social Thought (Fall 2018)
  • FREN 232:  Hugo's "Les Misérables" (Spring 2015)
  • FREN 233:  Realists and Romantics (Fall 2015)
  • FREN 245:  Revolution and Romanticism (Fall 2018)
  • FREN 246:  Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" (Fall 2017)
  • FREN 254:  Camus and Sartre (Fall 2014)
  • FREN 255:  Sartre and Heidegger (Fall 2016)
  • FREN 259:  Les Philosophes & the French Enlightenment (Fall 2019)
  • FREN 262:  French Philosophy Since 1960 (Spring 2014)
  • FREN 265:  Aesthetics (Spring 2018)
  • FREN 266:  Balzac and Baudelaire in Paris (Fall 2013)
  • FREN 267:  Baudelaire: Poetry and Modernity (Fall 2016)
  • FREN 268:  Jean Renoir and Cinema (Spring 2017)
  • FREN 269:  Foucault and the Ethics of Theory (Spring 2017)
  • FREN 281:  French Cinema: 1930-1960 (Fall 2014)
  • FREN 289:  Philosophy of Art (Fall 2015)

Selected Publications

Single-Authored Books

Edited Books

Journal Issues

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

Recent Translations

  • Translator. "Rupture and Literary Creation in Jean-Paul Sartre [1968]." By René Girard. Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture, vol. 22, Spring 2015, pp. 1-16.
  • Translator. "Living with Others: Reciprocity and Alterity in Lévi-Strauss." By Marcel Hénaff. Rethinking Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009), edited by Robert Doran. Spec. issue of Yale French Studies, no. 123, 2013, pp. 63-82.
  • Translator. "The Future of the Novel [1957]." By René Girard. Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture, vol. 19, 2012, pp. 1-8.

Selected Invited Presentations

  • “La sérialité selon Sartre et l’aliénation sociale,” Le Collège de France, June 1, 2023.

  • "On the Use and Reuse of History: Reading Hayden White's The Practical Past." Is Theory Critical? UCI Critical Theory, 22-23 May 2016, U of California, Irvine.