Roudeau Cécile

Posted on November 15, 2019



Professor of American literature
Head of LARCA UMR 8225
Head editor of Transatlantica: American Studies Journal (literature and arts)



Research themes

  • US literature, long nineteenth-century
  • literature and political history (construction of the State, literature and democracy)
  • gender studies
  • literature and environmental studies


Research Supervision:   

  • US literature, long nineteenth-century
  • regionalism, New England
  • women writers, gender studies
  • literature and political history
  • environmental humanities (literature and environment, literature and the Anthropocene)
  • periodical studies

Current Project

Cécile Roudeau’s early work focused on New England regionalism, which she situates more broadly wihin the US literature of the long nineteenth century and reads in counterpoint to transcendentalist writings, the fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe… Her first book (La Nouvelle-Angleterre: Politique d’une écriture, Presses Universitaires Paris Sorbonne, 2012) reconsiders the notion of “place” in New England regionalist writing (Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, among others). The book shows how “taking place” is as much a political and epistemic claim as a spatial experience. These regionalist texts invent a place, ie a labile space that enters into dissonance with categorical thinking. To take place, in this sense, is not so much to take root as to cut through the cadasters. By putting definitions in crisis, it implies situating oneself on the moving, borderline line between categories, and redistributing the sensible from the space of the text.

Her new project, “Beyond Stateless Literature: Practices of Democratic Power in Nineteenth-Century US Literature” builds on a growing body of empirical and theoretical work on the State (in sociology, political science, and history) that reconsiders the relationship between democracy and the State by revisiting the a-priori opposition between the two. Contrary to interpretations of early and mid-nineteenth-century American literature as a literature against the state, the book intends to show how literary production in the broadest sense participates in a redefinition of the State—from the age of the “well-regulated” society of the 1830s in New England through the Civil War crisis to the Progressive era. Literary texts of the period enter into conversation with the invention of a new regime of democratic governance and statecraft based on modes of everyday administration rather than constitutional revolutions.  Focusing on different (literary) practices and forms—from the domestic treatise to the novel to the periodical—the project reads texts by women writers alongside canonical male writers, with the aim of extending ongoing research on the democratic state to areas such as domesticity and gender politics.

Academic positions:  

  • 2015-            Professor, Department of Anglophone Studies, Université Paris Cité
  • 2007-2015     Associate Professor, Department of Anglophone Studies, Université Sorbonne nouvelle
  • 1998-2007     Lecturer, Département LILA (Literature and Languages), Ecole normale supérieure, rue d’Ulm, Paris


  • 2014               Habilitation à diriger des recherches. Ce que peut la littérature: vers une singularité sans concept. Parcours de la littérature américaine. Université Sorbonne nouvelle. Under the supervision of Christine Savinel.
  • 2007               PhD : La Nouvelle-Angleterre : Questions de lieu. Autour de l’œuvre de Sarah Orne Jewett, under the supervision of Pierre-Yves Pétillon (ENS/Sorbonne-Paris IV).
  • 1996               Agrégation d’anglais
  • 1992               École normale supérieure de la rue d’Ulm.

Administrative Responsibilities: 

Selected Publications:

  • 2023 “The Form(s) of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Pragmatism,” American Literature in Transition, ed. Lindsay Reckson, Cambridge University Press. (in press)
  • 2023 Reading with and against the Grain: New Perspectives on Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. Dir. Myrto Drizou, Stephanie Palmer, Cécile Roudeau. Edinburgh University Press.
  • 2022 “Toward Critical State Studies: Bringing the Democratic State Back in American Literary Criticism,” American Literary History, vol. 34, no.1, p. 315-326.
  • 2022 ““Democracy / State: James Fenimore Cooper on the Frontier, 1826-1757,” Crossings in Nineteenth-Century American Culture: Juctures of Time, Space, Self and Politics, ed. Edward Sugden, Edinburgh University Press.
  • 2012 La Nouvelle-Angleterre: Politique d’une écriture. Récits, genre, lieu. Paris. Presses Universitaires de  Paris Sorbonne/AFEA. 2012, 464 p.