Alison Calhoun

Alison Calhoun

Associate Professor, French and Italian

Director of Graduate Studies, French and Francophone Studies

Adjunct Associate Professor, Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance


  • Ph.D., French, Johns Hopkins University, 2009
  • B.A., French and Voice, Johns Hopkins University, 2002

About Alison Calhoun

Professor Calhoun teaches and researches Early Modern French Literature and Drama. She actively publishes in the areas of Montaigne Studies, Theatre History, Opera and Dance History, Affect Studies, and the History of Emotions. Professor Calhoun's first book, Montaigne and the Lives of the Philosophers: Life Writing and Transversality in the Essais, explores the relationship between life writing and philosophy in Michel de Montaigne’s Essais. Her current book project, The Mechanics of the Passions on the French Baroque Stage, studies how the emergence of sentimentality in French baroque drama was influenced by stage technology, specifically machines, automata, and androids.

Recent Books

Montaigne and the Lives of the Philosophers
Montaigne and the Lives of the Philosophers

Life Writing and Transversality in the Essais

Alison Calhoun

Selected publications


Montaigne and the Lives of the Philosophers: Life Writing and Transversality in the Essais. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2015.

  • Marc-Andre Wiesman in The Sixteenth Century Journal, 47.1 (Spring, 2016): 251
  • James Helgeson, The Modern Language Review, 111.2 (April 2016): 549
  • Christopher Edelman, Renaissance Quarterly, 69.2 (Summer 2016): 727
  • Emma Claussen, French Studies, 70.4 (October 2016): 589
  • Rosaleny, V. R., “Las muertes de los filósofos" (Chapter 4 of my book), Revista Versiones 2.10 (2016): 161-193.
  • "Montaigne’s Branloire: Passage, Impact, Vibrant Matter." Montaigne Studies. XXX, Nos. 1-2 (2018): Montaigne, Affect, Emotion: 29-39.
  • “Montaigne’s Swerve: The Geometry of the Parallel in the Essays and Other Writings.” Neophilologus (March 2017).
  • “Affective Sovereignty in Louis XIII’s Royal Ballet.” Nottingham French Studies 55.3 (December, 2016): 343-361.
  • “Corneille’s Andromède and Opera: Practice Before Theory.” Cahiers du dix-septième (2015): 1-17.
  • “The Court Turned Inside Out: The Collapse of Dignity in Louis XIII’s Burlesque Ballet.” in French Renaissance and Baroque Drama, ed. Michael Meere (University of Delaware Press, 2015).
  • “Tongue-Tied: Fairground Theater and the Essence of Comedy,” European Drama and Performance Studies, 2 (2014): 135-154.
  • "The Architecture of Arcadia: Lully, Quinault, and the Complicit Spectator of the Tragédie en Musique," Seventeenth Century French Studies, 33, No. 2 (2011): 114-26.
  • "Montaigne and the Comic: Exposing Private Life." Philosophy and Literature, Volume 35, Number 2 (October 2011): 303-319.
  • "Montaigne's Two Plutarchs." Montaigne Studies. XXI, Nos. 1-2 (2009): Montaigne et les philosophes: 103-114.
  • "Redefining Nobility In the French Renaissance: The Case of Montaigne's Journal de voyage." Modern Language Notes French Edition, 123, 3 (September 2008): 835-53.
Co-edited books
  • Rethinking the Medieval Senses: Heritage/Fascinations/Frames. Calhoun, Kablitz, Nichols (eds.) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.
  • Rethinking the New Medievalism. Bloch, Calhoun, Cerquiglini-Toulet, Küpper, Patterson (eds.) Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.

Courses taught

  • F300: The Rebel in French Literature
  • F300: French Theater Workshop
  • F300: Exploring the Self
  • F300: Prosaic, Poetic and Theatrical Identities
  • F313: Advanced Grammar
  • F362: La France: 1500-1800
  • F375: The Heroine in French Theater
  • F423: 17th Century French Literature
  • F451: French Literature and Music
  • F632: 17th Century French Drama
  • F825: Early Modern French Drama and the Arts (1571-1691)
  • F825: Approaches to French Literature and Music: From Machaut to Debussy