Associate Professor of Literature
Rose Réjouis writes about cultural politics, literature, humor and theory -- anthropology, Jewish thought, psychoanalysis, class and race, sociology. She studies the narrative strategies of ethnic and social insider-outsiders, particularly as those narratives veer between history and romance, utopia and dystopia. As a literary critic, she immerses herself in the "deep play" between ideas and literary structures; and her translations offer insights into the fruitful tensions between idiomatic and idiosyncratic uses of language.
Good writers are good readers. As a teacher, she encourages her students to explore literary history broadly while committing themselves to close readings. Lately, she and her students have been extending their close readings into the realm of audio-visual storytelling and mixed media.
Prominent critical reviews of my work:
• Cover of The New York Times Book Review essay by Leonard Michaels of my translation with (Val Vinokur) of Patrick Chamoiseau's novel, Texaco.
• The New Yorker review by John Updike of my translation (with Val Vinokur) of Patrick Chamoiseau's novel, Texaco.
• The New York Times review by Holland Cotter of "Négritude," an art exhibit I curated at Exit art. In this experimental multi-media and multi-disciplinary show (supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Council for the Humanities), I presented the work of Vladimir Cybil Charlier and Wura-Natasha Ogunji, as evidence of the history of "dark play" embodied in Aimé Césaire's practice of Négritude.
• The Guardian's Homage ("On How Fiction can make it new" by Garth Risk Hallberg) to my translation (with Val Vinokur) of Patrick Chamoiseau's novel, Texaco.
• New York Times Review article by Richard Bernstein on my translation (with Val Vinokur) of Patrick Chamoiseau's novel, Solibo Magnificent.
• The New York Book Times review by Caryl Phillips of my translation (with Val Vinokur) of Patrick Chamoiseau's Solibo Magnificent
• New York Review of Books review by Derek Walcott of my translation (with Val Vinokur) of Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco
• The New Republic review by Caryl Philips of my translation (with Val Vinokur of Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco.
Ph.D., Romance Languages and Literatures, Princeton University.
B.A., Amherst College, French and English.
OTHER ACADEMIC EXPERIENCES
Ecole Normale Supérieure (research sabbatical semester as externe while doing PhD at Princeton)
Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Etudiante Etrangère - one semester, while a B.A. student at Amherst)
Institut d’Etudes de Sciences Politiques (Etudiante Etrangère - one semester, while a B.A. student at Amherst)
Recent Work in English
• Essays in N+1: "You can't read" and "Letter to Freud" (2018)
•"Wild Solidarity," in Untranslatability Goes Global edited by Jill Levine and Katie Jan (forthcoming from Routledge Press): an essay on the necessity to keep translating and collaborating, not merely despite but because of the very limitations of language and human relationships.
• "Ekphrasis and Collaboration in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Joe Wright's" (with Val Vinokur) in Tolstoy Studies Journal (Special Issue): Anna Karenina for the Twenty First Century, edited by Ani Kokobobo and Emma Lieber (2016): an essay on how Anna Karenina functions as a negative bildungsroman, a failed search for vocation and self-actualization, and how Anna's performance of an impossible love story, a tragic tableau vivant, becomes the outsider art project of a 19th century housewife.
• "Tasks Without Solutions: Why Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams Matters to Translation Culture," Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Number 45 (November 2014). This piece can be inscribed in what Daniel Boyarin has referred to as Cultural Studies in Freud, a movement that reclaims the insights in Freud's work without relying on its data or conclusions.
• "Dark Horse Poetics: Lévi-Strauss, Benitez-Rojo, and Caribbean Epistemology, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Volume 18, Number 43 (March 2014). Lévi-Strauss is famous for saying that the figure of Don Quixote is the key to his work. This essay reads the work of Lévi-Strauss and the works he has inspired as a kind of heroic poetics that values "the culture of the weak," that champions the underdog.
• “Négritude as Dark Play,” an essay for the catalogue of the art exhibit, “Négritude,” I curated at Exit Art (New York, May 20-July 25, 2009).
• “Object Lessons: Metaphors of Literary Agency in Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Task of the Translator’ and Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnifique,” French Literature Series, 2009. An essay on cultural agency in the work of Walter Benjamina and Patrick Chamoiseau.
• “Sharp Minds, Raw Hearts,” preface to Love, Anger, Madness by Marie Vieux-Chauvet, translated by Réjouis/Vinokur (New York: Modern Library, 2009). An essay on Marie Vieux-Chauvet's integrity and intellectual rigor.
• Rose Réjouis's interview with Chamoiseau
Recent Work in French:
I write regularly for Esprit. Here is a list of my most recent essays in French.
• « Une lectrice dans la salle: Entretien de Rose Réjouis avec Patrick Chamoiseau ».
• Veillées pour les mots [Wakes for Words] : Aimé Césaire, Patrick Chamoiseau et Maryse Condé (Paris: Karthala, 2005). A study of the motif of the funerary wake in the Caribbean novel, tracing an evolution from the figure of the martyr, in works from the colonial period, to that of the storyteller-writer, who adopts the mode of mourning for the passing of a traditional society in order to address forms of neo-colonialism. Featured in Radio-France/France Culture’s dossier, “Hommage à Aimé Césaire,” June 2008.
• Love, Anger, Madness (with Val Vinokur), three novellas by Marie Vieux-Chauvet (New York: Modern Library, August 2009). Project supported by a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.
• Texaco (with Val Vinokur), novel by Patrick Chamoiseau (New York: Pantheon Books, 1997), (London: Granta, 1998), (New York: Vintage Books, 1998). Reviewed by John Updike (New Yorker), Leonard Michaels (cover of The New York Times Book Review), Derek Walcott (NYRB), Caryl Phillips (New Republic); reviews in NYT, LA Times, TLS, London Review, Chicago Tribune, etc.
• Solibo Magnificent, (with Val Vinokur), novel by Patrick Chamoiseau (New York: Pantheon Books, 1997), (New York: Anchor Books, 1999), (London: Granta, 2000). Reviewed by Richard Bernstein (NYT), Caryl Phillips (NYTBR), Salon, African American Review, etc.
For a list of my most recent essays for the French review, ESPRIT, click here
• La Forteresse Cachée, ESPRIT, June 2018
•Lire Poe dans L'Obscurité, ESPRIT, March 2018. Just as there is an existential "French Freud," there is an existential "French Poe." This essay is a feminist reading of the "French Poe."
• Ecrire nos pensées sauvages ESPRIT, March 2018. This is a meditation on Levi-Strauss's work, La Pensée Sauvage. It's about the presence of a kind of continuity in so many folk and modern cultures.
• Mea Res Agitur [An Open Letter to Freud]. ESPRIT, January 2018. This is an essay responding to Freud's last book, Moses and Monotheism and to Joseph Yerushalmi's response to it, Judaism, Terminable and Interminable. Like so many others, I suscribe to what Stanely Cavell has to say about Freud: "Most philosophers in my tradition, I believe, relate to psychoanalysis, if at all, with suspicion, habitually asking whether psychoanalysis deserves the title of a science…. I am for myself convinced that the corpus of Freud’s writing, and a considerable amount of writing that depends upon it, has achieved an unsurpassed horizon of knowledge about the human mind. Accordingly I would not be satisfied with an answer that declares psychoanalysis not to be a science, if that answer denies that horizon of knowledge."
• Le Mauvais Lycée [a response to Donal Trump calling Haiti a "shithole"]. ESPRIT, January 2018.
• "Tu ne sais pas lire" ESPRIT, March/April 2017: An essay Euromagazine has called "a provocative parable of integration." It might also be described as a manifesto that describes the subliminal and paradoxical nature of a cultural politics meant to paralyze those who do not have the means to purchase a seat at the table.
• "Touching the Distance," A conversation with Rose Réjouis and Val Vinokur on Translating Chamoiseau and others. As part of the Literary Translation series organized by Susan Bernofsky. Columbia University, April 2018.
• Guest on discussion panel for a discussion of The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire, La Maison Française, Columbia University, November 2017. Organizer: Brent Hayes Edward.
• "Freud's Cracked Mirror." An essay framed by Leonard Baskin's quote: "Our human frame, our gutted mansion, our enveloping sack of beef and ash is yet a glory. I hold the cracked mirror up to man." Association for Jewish Studies, 2016.
• “Dark and Dangerous Fiction: A discussion between Rose Réjouis and Edwidge Danticat." Introduction by Tiphanie Yanique. Organized by Miriam Ticktin and the Gender Studies Program at The New School (February 2014).
• “Translating the Savage: Léry and Lévi-Strauss,” La Maison Française, New York University (Spring 2013). Organized by Emmanuelle Ertel.
• “Freud’s Moses and Césaire’s Toussaint Louverture” UC Davis (February 2012).
• “Celebrating Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s Reading of her own Work,” keynote address at Florida Atlantic University conference: Haiti and the Americas (October 2010). Organized by Raphael Dalleo.
• “Staging Sacrifice: Reading Marie Vieux-Chauvet Again,” Yale University (spring 2010). Organized by Chris Miller.
Hermeneutics, the cultural politics of affects, gender, race, and class; the modern novel; the literature of the African diaspora; childhood narratives; translation and cultural transmission; intellectual history.
American Translation Association Lewis Galantière Prize for Best Book
Princeton University Fellowship
Amherst College Fellowship
The Amherst College Frederick King Turgeon Prize (For a senior who has done particularlary distinguished work in French)
Ind Senior Project
First Year Seminar