Department ofModern Languages and Literatures

Catherine Montfort

Catherine Montfort


Biographical Information

Catherine R. Montfort is Professor of French and Women's and Gender Studies at Santa Clara University. She was born in Marseille, France and received her PhD from Stanford University. She is the author of several books (among them Les Fortunes de Mme de Sévigné au XVIIème et XVIIIème siècle), and has written more than forty articles and chapters on various French literary notables including Agrippa d’Aubigné, Mme de Sévigné, Charlotte Corday, Mme de Staël, Mme Campan, Vigée Lebrun, Mme de La Tour du Pin, Simone de Beauvoir, Annie Ernaux and Pierrette Fleutiaux. She edited a book entitled Literate Women and the French Revolution of 1789, and has edited or co-edited a number of Women in French Special volumes: French and Francophone Women, 16th-21st Centuries: Essays on Literature, Culture and Society with Biographical and Media Resources; French/Francophone Culture and Literature Through Film; and Les femmes et la lecture among others. She also has been editor of Pacific Coast Philology and of Women in French Studies and is currently working on Women and Travel Narratives and Paula Dumont.
Courses Taught

  • Literature courses:

    Humanism and the Renaissance
    Theatre in the Age of Louis XIV
    The French Enlightenment
    Majors Works of French Literature I (Middle Ages to the 18th Century)
    Seminar on the Theme of Love (Special topic)
    Introduction to Literary Analysis
    Women in French Literature from the Middle Ages to 20th Century: Authors and Characters
    Twentieth and 21st Century French Women Writers
    Introduction to Francophone Studies
    African/Caribbean Women Writers
    Politics of Love Seminar

  • Language and Culture courses:

    Elementary French
    Intermediate French
    Intermediate French, “Le thème de la famille”
    Advanced French Language and Culture
    Advanced French Conversation
    French Business Culture and Institutions
    Seminar on the Culture and Civilization of the Francophone World: From Quebec to Africa

  • Courses taught in translation:

    Twentieth Century French Women Writers
    Seminar on Gender in Modern French History and Literature (team-taught interdisciplinary class)
    French Novels and Films: Culture, Gender and Social Classes

Research Interests

  • Sixteenth century epic poetry
  • French and Francophone Women Writers and Artists
  • Reception History of works by 17th and 18th Century Women Writers
  • Film studies
  • Translation



• Les Fortunes de Mme de Sévigné au XVIIè et au XVIIIè siècles. Préface de Roger Duchêne. Collection: Etudes littéraires françaises. Paris: Jean Michel Place, 1982.

• "Classical Mythology and Baroque in Les Tragiques." Baroque: Literature and the other Arts. Essays in memory of Robert N. Nicolich. Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature 15 (1988): 497 515.

• "Engagement : Introduction du texte littéraire dans un cours de langue." French Review 62 (1989): 623 30.

• "Grouvelle, lecteur de Mme de Sévigné : la `scandaleuse édition' de 1806." Papers on French Seventeenth Century French Literature 19.37 (1992): 501 514.

• Literate Women and the French Revolution of 1789, editor. Summa Publications, 1994.

• "For the Defence: Charlotte Corday's letters from prison." Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 329 (1995): 235-247.

• "Mme Campan's Institution d’Education: A Revolution in the Education of Women" (with Terrie J. Quintana). Australian Journal of French Studies XXXIII.1(1996): 30-41.

• "Mme de Sévigné: 17th Century Feminist?" French Studies 50.2 (April 1996): 144-156.

• "'La vieille née’ : Simone de Beauvoir, Une mort très douce and Annie Ernaux, Une femme." French Forum 21.3 (September 1996): 349-364.

• "La ‘souriante maternité’ de Vigée Le Brun : Le point de vue de Simone de Beauvoir." Dalhousie French Studies 36 (Fall 1996): 113-21.

• "Madame de Sévigné et le Chevalier de Grignan : ‘Le Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche’" (with student Leah Ball). In Madame de Sévigné (1626-1696): Provence, spectacles, "lanternes." Grignan: Direction des Archives de France, 1998. 93-108.

• "Les méchancetés de Mme de Sévigné" (with student Rima Lanning)." Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature XXVI. 50 (1999): 131-158.

• “Mme de Sévigné and the Jesuits in the Siècle des Lumières.” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 12 (2001): 167- 77.

• “Self-Portraits, Portraits of Self: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard and Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun, Women Artists of the Eighteenth Century.” Pacific Coast Philology 40 (2005): 1-18.

• French and Francophone Literature and Culture through Film, ed. (with Michèle Bissière). Women in French Studies. Special Issue, 2006. 395 pages
Reviewed French Review 82.5 (April 2009): 1080-81.

• “Deuil et écriture : Des phrases courtes, ma chérie de Pierrette Fleutiaux.” Dalhousie French Studies 94 (fall 2011): 123-39.

• “Mme de Sévigné et la lecture.” Les femmes et la lecture. Women in French Studies. Special Orange Issue (2012): 56-84.

• “Madame de La Tour du Pin: An Aristocratic Farmer in America.” New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century 12.1 (Spring 2015): 35-47.

• "Mme de La Tour du Pin, 1770-1853: Le Journal d'une femme de cinquante ans.” Dalhousie French Studies 108 (Spring 2016 [published 2017]) : 39-51.

• Women and Traveling. Les femmes et le voyage, co-editor (Christine McCall Probes). Women in French Studies. Special Volume, 2018. 390 pages.

Kenna Hall