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Publications in VIVO

Samuelson, Charlie

Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Charlie Samuelson is a specialist of medieval French literature. My research uses close textual analysis and looks to both medieval learned culture and modern theory to take to task entrenched notions about the gender and sexual politics of medieval texts. My monograph, 'Courtly and Queer: Deconstruction, Desire, and Medieval French Literature' appeared in 2022 with the Ohio State University Press. This monograph considers in tandem two genres of verse narratives that have not previously been studied together: verse romances, best known for Chrétien de Troyes’s twelfth-century Arthurian fictions; and dits, associated with Guillaume de Machaut’s fourteenth-century narrative poetry. It makes the case for important continuities between these two genres both characterized by their extreme literary self-consciousness and studies how literary play and experimentation bleed, in these texts always about love, into issues of gender and sexual politics. Resisting the notion that medieval texts about “courtly love” are either (proto-)heteronormative or just unrelated to modern heteronormativity, as well as the tendency always to situate queerness at margins, this book explores how one facet of their “courtliness”—namely, their sophistication, as valued by medieval courts—maps in disruptive, even queer, ways onto influential modern conceptions of queerness. Recently, I have undertaken a new project on representations of sexual consent in medieval literature, for which articles have appeared in Romanic Review and Digital Philology.


  • 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 / Fall 2023
    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 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    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 / Spring 2024
    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 / Spring 2024
    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 / Fall 2023
    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 / Spring 2023
    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