Biography

Member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Institut de France).

Born: May 5, 1945 in Issy-les-Moulineaux (France).

Married, three children.

Education

Primary and secondary education: Lycée du Parc (Lyon).

1962-1964: Hypokhâgne et khâgne (post-secondary education): Lycée du Parc (Lyon).

1964-1968: École Normale Supérieure (rue d’Ulm, Paris) (entrance rank: 12th).

1967: Agrégation in French Literature with Latin and Greek (“Lettres classiques”) (rank: 1st).

1970: Docteur de l’Université de Paris: Ph. D., Paris IV-Sorbonne (Thesis: Recherches sur les pastourelles médiévales, under P. Le Gentil’s direction), with highest honours.

1975: Docteur ès Lettres (Thesis: La Prédication en langue romane avant 1300, under P. Le Gentil’s direction), with highest honours.

Professional experience 

Academic Appointments

1968-1970: Assistant-Professor at Paris-Sorbonne.

1970-1972: Alternate Military Service: sent as Assistant-Professor at Tunis University.

1972-1976: Assistant, then Associate Professor of Medieval French Literatures, at Paris IV-Sorbonne University.

1976-1987: Professor at Toulouse-Le Mirail University.

1987-1994: Professor at Paris IV-Sorbonne University.

1994-2016: Professor of French Medieval Literatures at the Collège de France.

2000: Member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Institut de France).

2012-: Permanent Secretary of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Institut de France).

Visiting Professorships

1974, 1982, 1986: Visiting Professor at Yale University (New Haven, U.S.A.).

1978: Visiting Professor at California University (Berkeley, U.S.A.).

1981: Visiting Professor at Konstanz University (Germany).

1992: Visiting Professor at Pennsylvania University (Philadelphia, U.S.A.).

1996, 1998, 2002: Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, U.S.A.).

1997: Visiting Professor at Roma University “La Sapienza” (Italy).

1997, 2004: Visiting Professor at Napoli University (Italy).

1998: Visiting Professor at Santiago de Compostela University (Spain).

1999-2000: Visiting Professor at Geneva University (Switzerland).

2002: Visiting Professor at Columbia University (New York, U.S.A.).

2005: Visiting Professor at Wesleyan University (Middletown, U.S.A.).

Lectures sponsored by the French Foreign Ministry

1987: Lectures at California, Arizona, and New Mexico Universities (U.S.A.).

1989: Lectures at Polish Universities (Poland).

1990: Lectures at Switzerland Universities.

1994: Lectures at Ljubljana University (Slovenia).

2000: Lectures at several Japanese Universities.

Professional responsibilities

Past Responsibilities

  • Member of the jury for the French Literature’s agrégation with Latin and Greek (“Lettres classiques”) 1970; 1973-1975.
  • Member of the jury for the competitive entrance examinations to the École Normale Supérieure (rue d’Ulm, Paris) (required French test), 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1986, 1987.
  • Director of Modern Letters’ U.E.R (Department of French Literatures) at Toulouse-II University, 1980-3.
  • Chair of the commission to choose the subjects of French essays for the “baccalauréat” for Toulouse Academy, 1978-83.
  • Member of the jury for junior candidates (less than forty years old) of the Institut Universitaire de France (1995 and 1996).
  • Member of the Committee on Academic Affairs for the Lycées (1998).
  • Chair of the competitive entrance examination (A/L) at the École Normale Supérieure (rue d’Ulm, Paris) 1996-2000.
  • Member of Unesco’s National Commission (1995-2000).
  • Member of the Association Guillaume Budé’s Board of Directors (1995-2003).
  • Member of the Presses Universitaires de France’s Advisory Board (1999-2005).
  • Chair of the École normale supérieure’s Board of Directors (2004-2005).

Current Responsibilities

  • Vice-Chairman of the Full Assembly of the Elected Professors of the Collège de France, 2000-2003; 2003-2006.
  • Delegate of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres to the Union Académique Internationale (2004-).
  • Member of the Fondation Singer-Polignac’s Board of Directors (Institut de France).
  • Vice-Chairman of the Fondation Hugot du Collège de France’s Board of Directors.
  • Member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute for Advanced Research at Nagoya University (Japan).
  • Member of the European Center for Doctoral Studies of Frédéric II’s University, Napoli (Italy).
  • Vice-Chairman of the Sauvegarde des Enseignements Littéraires’ Association.
  • Member of the Advisory Committee for the Centre de Musique Médiévale de Royaumont.
  • Member of the Advisory Committee for the Institut Collégial Européen.
  • Administrator of the Société des amis de la Romania, co-editor of Romania.
  • Co-editor of Revue critique de philologie romane.
  • Member of the Advisory Committee of Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale.
  • Member of the Lecture Committee of Heresis’ Review.
  • Member of the Honorary Committee of Revue des Langues romanes.
  • General editor of the series “Lettres gothiques”, Livre de Poche (Hachette).
  • Co-editor of the series “Livre de Poche Classique”.
  • Co-editor of the series “Perspectives littéraires”, Presses Universitaires de France.
  • Member of the Editorial Board for the journal Commentaire.
  • Member of the Advisory Committee for the journal Bibliographie des Écrivains Français.
  • Member of the Advisory Committee for the series Translatio.
  • Member of the Editorial Committee for the series Figurae: Reading Medieval Culture (Stanford).

Honours and awards

  • Member (1992) then Honory Member (2013) of the Académie de Versailles et de l’Île-de-France.
  • Grande Médaille d’Or from the Society of Arts, Sciences, and Letters (1996).
  • Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1997).
  • Corresponding Member (1999) then Member (2000) of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Institut de France).
  • Member of the Liseron d’Or de l’Académie des Jeux Floraux de Toulouse (2001).
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of Sheffield University (2004).
  • Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America (2006).
  • Honorary Member of the Académie d’Alsace (2009).
  • Foreign Corresponding Fellow of the Académie autrichienne des sciences (2011).
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of Bucharest University, Romania (2011).
  • Honorary Member of the Académie de Lyon (2014).
  • Recipient of the Association Internationale des Études Françaises Prize (1987).
  • Recipient of the International Balzan Prize for European literature – 1000-1500 (2007).
  • Recipient of the Provins Moyen Âge Prize for Les Troubadours, une histoire poétique, Paris, Perrin (2014). 
  • Chevalier (2001), Officier (2011) of the Légion d’Honneur.
  • Commandeur of the Palmes académiques Order (2008).