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Sentimental Literature: Directing the Flows of Sympathy in Enlightenment and Francophone Texts
April 5, 2010 @ 3:00 pm
Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2009-2010)
French and Italian, UW-Madison
In this presentation, I will examine the ways that certain philosophical notions of sympathy and various literary portrayals of sympathy define the human in eighteenth-century French slave narratives and contemporary Caribbean novels. I will also discuss methodological questions raised in my comparison of the two periods: Is a sympathetic approach appropriate to the study of postcolonial literature? On what grounds can one draw scholarly conclusions when comparing literary works that arise from radically different epistemological traditions?
Stephanie Spadaro is a graduate student in the French department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include Enlightenment philosophy and literature, Caribbean studies, cosmopolitanism, theories of language and pain, and narratology. Stephanie graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University in 2003 with a BA in comparative literature.