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Michele Longino

Professor Emerita of Romance Studies
Romance Studies
Box 90257, Dept. of Romance Studies, Durham, NC 27708-0257
205 Languages, BOX90257 Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Office hours By appointment. Generally available 2:40-4:40 p.m. T, Th  


Professor of French & Italian Studies, received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and taught at Rice University before coming to Duke in 1989.  She is an early modern specialist on the French Classical age, 1650-1700. Her interests in the epistolary genre and in women's writing led to the publication of Performing Motherhood: The Sévigné Correspondence (UP of New England, 1991).  Her second book, Orientalism in French Classical Drama (Cambridge UP, 2002) focused on the questions of the 17th-century French theater-going public, nation-building, and the world of the early modern Mediterranean.  Her subsequent research examined Mediterranean travel accounts from the classical period, and resulted in her book, “French Travel Writing and the Ottoman Empire: Marseilles to Constantinople, 1650-1700,” (Routledge Press, 2015).She has also published articles on the writings of other seventeenth-century authors, including Mme d'Aulnoy, Marie de Gournay, Poullain de la Barre, Mme de Lafayette, Corneille, Boileau, Molière, and Racine, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Jean Thévenot, Guillaume-Joseph Grelot, Jean Chardin, and Antoine Galland.  Her research interests include travel writing, classical theater, questions of genre, and seventeenth-century French literature in a cultural studies context. Her courses have covered a broader range, including but not limited to The French Love Story, The Reader, Yesterday’s Classics / Today’s Films, and seminars on the comedies of Molière and the tragedies of Racine, the Staging of Exoticism in Seventeenth-century France, the Classical Age and the Law of Genre, Seventeenth-century French Mediterranean Travel Writing.

Most recent book:

French Travel Writing in the Ottoman Empire

Marseilles to Constantinople, 1650-1700

By Michele Longino

Routledge – 2015 – 180 pages

Series: Routledge Research in Travel Writing

        Examining the history of the French experience of the Ottoman world and Turkey, this comparative study visits the accounts of early modern travelers for the insights they bring to the field of travel writing. The journals of contemporaries Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Jean Thévenot, Laurent D’Arvieux, Guillaume-Joseph Grelot, Jean Chardin, and Antoine Galland reveal a rich corpus of political, social, and cultural elements relating to the Ottoman Empire at the time, enabling an appreciation of the diverse shapes that travel narratives can take at a distinct historical juncture. Longino examines how these writers construct themselves as authors, characters, and individuals in keeping with the central human project of individuation in the early modern era, also marking the differences that define each of these travelers – the shopper, the envoy, the voyeur, the arriviste, the ethnographer, the merchant. She shows how these narratives complicate and alter political and cultural paradigms in the fields of Mediterranean studies, 17th-century French studies, and cultural studies, arguing for their importance in the canon of early modern narrative forms, and specifically travel writing. The first study to examine these travel journals and writers together, this book will be of interest to a range of scholars covering travel writing, French literature, and history.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor Emerita of Romance Studies · 2021 - Present Romance Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor · 1984 Ph.D.