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Publications in VIVO

Samuelson, Charles L

Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Charlie Samuelson is a specialist of medieval French literature. He is interested in courtly literature of both the High and the Late Middle Ages. His current book project considers in tandem two sorts of verse narratives: high medieval verse romance, best known for the twelfth-century work of Chrétien de Troyes; and late medieval dits amoureux, associated in particular with the fourteenth-century oeuvre of Guillaume de Machaut. His research focuses, on the one hand, on the indeterminacy of courtly texts: how they persistently play with form and self-consciously indulge the messiness of language. Resisting any impulse, though, to conceive of medieval literature in primarily formal or esthetic terms, his research also attends to how poetic play routinely, and almost invariably, spills into gender and sexual politics: to the political implications, often remarkably subtle, of the devious self-consciousness of medieval French literature.


  • Medieval French literature, Romance, Literary Theory


selected publications


courses taught

  • FREN 1200 - Medieval Epic Through Game of Thrones
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
    Covers the most important works of medieval literature, in English translation. Among the texts studied are the Song of Roland, and Arthurian romances, including the stories of Lancelot and Guinevere. Offers a general introduction for nonmajors to medieval literature and society. Taught in English.
  • FREN 3100 - Introduction to Critical Reading and Writing in French Literature
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019
    Study of French literature through close readings of representative examples of major literary forms (poetry, fiction, drama, essay) and through the composition of critical writings in French. Required for French majors.
  • FREN 3110 - Main Currents of French Literature 1
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Surveys 19th and 20th century French literature. Close reading of selected texts and the principal writers and schools.This course or FREN 3120 are required for all majors.
  • FREN 3200 - Introduction to Literary Theory and Advanced Critical Analysis
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Introduces important aspects of both classical and modern literary theory as an aid to reading and understanding literary texts. Covers theoretical works by figures ranging from Plato and Aristotle to modern French critics such as Barthes, Foucault, and Derrida in conjunction with selected literary works. Offers students more sophisticated means of understanding issues like gender, ethnicity, the roles of both author and reader in constructing meaning, the nature and functions of signs, and the relationship between literature and the larger society. Conducted in English, though French majors are required to read the texts in the original language. Required for students taking honors in French or Italian.
  • FREN 4250 - Medieval and Renaissance Readings
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
    Explores the complex and evolving cultural and historical contexts of medieval and/or Renaissance French. Introduces the masterpieces of French medieval and Renaissance literature, such as the Chanson de Roland, Arthurian romances, and the work of Christine de Pizan. Course explores a variety of literary genres, while focusing on specific themes, such as representations of licit or illicit desire.
  • FREN 4990 - Senior Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2022
    Preparation of a 15-page research paper in French presented to two members of the department faculty and defended orally in class. Recommended prerequisite: at least one course numbered FREN 4100 or above and all third-year requirements and advisor consent.
  • FREN 5120 - French Special Topics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Different topics are offered and, in a number of cases, cross-listed with other departments. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours on different topics.
  • FREN 5250 - Medieval and Renaissance Readings
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
    Through close readings of masterpieces of French medieval and Renaissance literature in conjunction with contemporary criticism and theory, explores the contexts of medieval and Renaissance France. Readings in French. May be taught in English to accommodate students in other programs. May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours on different topics.
  • ITAL 4140 - The Age of Dante: Readings from The Divine Comedy
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Fall 2021
    Focuses on close reading of Dante's poetry with emphasis on the intellectual, religious, political, and scientific background of the medieval world. Taught in English. Degree credit not granted for this course and ITAL 4145 or ITAL 4147 or HUMN 4140.


International Activities