Professor Brian Martin
French and Comparative Literature
85 Mission Park Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267 USA
M.A. University of California, Los Angeles, Comparative Literature (1996)
A.M. Harvard University, French Language and Literature (1999)
Ph.D. Harvard University, French Language and Literature (2003)
Areas of Expertise
• Nineteenth-Century French Novel
• Twentieth-Century French Fiction and Film
• Gender, Sexuality, and Queer Studies
• Military History, Literature, Sexuality
• Nordic Literature from Scandinavia to Québec
Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France (1987)
École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France (1999-2000)
Stockholms Universitet, Stockholm, Sweden (1993-1994)
Uppsala Universitet, Uppsala, Sweden (2010)
• French 101: Introduction to French Language and Francophone Cultures
• French 103: Intermediate Studies in French Language and Francophone Cultures
• French 106: Advanced French: Danger and Desire in French Film and Fiction
• French 202: War and Resistance: Two Centuries of War Literature in France (1804-2004)
• French 224: Sexuality and Seduction in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century France
• French 316: Paris on Fire: Incendiary Voices from the City of Light (1830-2010)
• French 318: French Twentieth-Century Novel: From Adversity to Modernity
• French 412: Nineteenth-Century Novel: Desperate Housewives & Extreme Makeovers
• French 14: Formidable French Film: Contemporary Cinema from France and the Francophone World
• French 16: Contemporary Queer Cinema in France
• Comp Lit 212: Nordic Lights: Literary and Cultural Diversity in Modern Scandinavia
• Comp Lit 402 / WGSS 404: Before We Were Queer: GLBT Lives (1935-1995)
RLFR 101(F)Introduction to French Language and Francophone Cultures
RLFR 106(S)Advanced French: Danger and Desire in French Film and Fiction
RLFR 202 / WGSS 201(F)War and Resistance: Two Centuries of War Literature in France (1804-2016)
COMP 212 / WGSS 200Nordic Lights: Literary and Cultural Diversity in Modern Scandinavia
RLFR 224 / WGSS 224Sexuality and Seduction in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century France
RLFR 316 / WGSS 315(S)Paris on Fire: Incendiary Voices from the City of Light (1830-2015)
RLFR 318 / COMP 318Twentieth-Century French Novel: From Adversity to Modernity
WGSS 404 / COMP 402Before We Were Queer: Gay and Lesbian Lives before 1990
RLFR 412 / WGSS 408Senior Seminar: Nineteenth-Century French Novel: Desperate Housewives and Extreme Makeovers
Napoleonic Friendship: Military Fraternity, Intimacy, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century France (Durham: University of New Hampshire Press, 2011).
Published in the series “Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies” by the University Press of New England.
http://www.amazon.com (Keyword “Napoleonic Friendship”)
One of the first books on “Gays in the Military” published following the historic repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 2011, Napoleonic Friendship examines the history of male intimacy in the French military, from Napoleon to the First World War. Echoing the historical record of gay soldiers in the United States, Napoleonic Friendship is the first book-length study on the origin of queer soldiers in modern France. Based on extensive archival research in France, the book traces the development of affectionate friendships in the French Army from 1789 to 1916. Following the French Revolution, radical military reforms created conditions for new physical and emotional intimacy between soldiers, establishing a model of fraternal affection during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars that would persist amid the ravages of the Franco-Prussian War and World War I. Through readings of Napoleonic military memoirs (and other non-fiction archival material) and French military fiction (from Hugo and Balzac to Zola and Proust), Martin examines a broad range of emotional and erotic relationships, from combat buddies to soldier lovers. He argues that the French Revolution’s emphasis on military fraternity evolved into an unprecedented sense of camaraderie in the armies of Napoleon. For many soldiers, the hardships of combat led to intimate friendships. For some, the homosociality of military life inspired mutual affection, lifelong commitment, and homoerotic desire.
Napoleonic Friendship has been praised as “the postmodern military history that Foucault never wrote” (H-France Review), “a seminal text in understanding the cultural production of masculinity and homosocial relations…a protestatory gesture against the silencing of gays in the military” (South Central Review), “a work of solid historiography and level-headed literary analysis…a well-documented historian’s presentation of how Napoleon…radically changed…the relationship between soldiers” (Gay and Lesbian Review), “one of the few academic books where the author’s prologue is a genuinely moving testimony and explains much of the passion of what follows” (French History), “a solid contribution to military and literary history” (Nineteenth-Century French Studies), “a provocative book…[o]riginal and challenging” (H-War Review), and “a remarkable contribution to historical, literary, military, and queer studies” (American Historical Association’s Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History).
Christine Adams, The Historian 74.1 (Spring 2012) 156-57; Richard Berrong, The Gay and Lesbian Review 18.5 (September-October 2011) 34-35; Andrew Counter, Modern and Contemporary France 19.4 (2011); Eduardo Febles, South Central Review 28.3 (Fall 2011) 135-37; Alan Forrest, French History 25.3 (2011) 386-87; Michael Hughes, H-France Review 11.177 (August 2011); Sharon Larson, French Review 86.3 (Forthcoming, February 2013); Edward Ousselin, Dalhousie French Studies 94 (Spring 2011) 167-68; William Peniston, American Historical Association’s Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History Newsletter 26.2 (Spring 2012) 11-12; Noah Shusterman, H-War, H-Net Reviews (February 2012); Marilyn Yalom, Nineteenth-Century French Studies 40.1-2 (Fall-Winter 2011-2012) 166-68.
• Winner, Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies, 2012.
• Nominated, Lambda Literary Prize in LGBT Studies, 2011.
Nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in 2011, Napoleonic Friendship was awarded the Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies in 2012. Created in 1995 to honor the memory of Laurence Wylie, professor of French civilization at Harvard University, the Wylie Prize is awarded biennially to the best book in French social or cultural studies. In addition to the Modern Language Association’s Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Studies, the Wylie Prize is recognized as one of the most prestigious book prizes in the field of French Studies. The jury for this year’s prize included prominent scholars in French history and literature from NYU, Harvard, Tufts, and Duke, who chose Napoleonic Friendship from among 65 books under consideration in 2010 and 2011.
Selected Articles, Book Chapters, Reviews
“Champagne Seduction and Sewer Putrefaction: Homosexuality and August Strindberg,” Father Figures and Gender Diversity in Scandinavian and Comparative Literature, ed. Kathleen Komar (Berkeley: North Pinehurst Press, 2016) 155-74.
“Fraternité forestière: amitié intime et affection masculine au Québec,” Le Lieu du nord: Vers une cartographie des lieux du Nord, eds. Daniel Chartier et al. (Montréal: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2015) 141-58.
“Revolutionary Manhood,” Review of Masculinités en révolution de Rousseau à Balzac, eds. Daniel Maira and Jean Marie Roulin (Saint-Étienne: Presses de l’Université de Saint-Etienne, 2013), Nineteenth-Century French Studies 43.1-2 (Fall-Winter, 2014-2015).
“Bûcherons: Forest Fraternity and Frontier Masculinity in Québec,” Quebec Studies 56 (Special Issue 2013) 85-105.
“Napoleonic Memory and Memoir: Military Friendship and the Memoirs of Colonel Combe,” Mapping Memory in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture, eds. Susan Harrow and Andrew Watts (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012) 115-34.
“Military Fraternity and Friendship: Napoleonic Soldiers and the Memoirs of Sergeant Bourgogne,” Romanic Review 102.1-2 (March 2011) 217-34.
“Caron’s Queer and Jewish Paris,” Review of My Father and I: The Marais and the Queerness of Community, by David Caron (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2009), South Central Review 28.1 (Spring 2011): 124-26.
“Panthers, Palms, and Desert Passions: Balzac and Napoleon in Egypt,” Queer Exoticism, eds. David A. Powell and Tamara Powell (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010) 47-62.
“Conscripts and Convicts,” Review of Biribi: Les bagnes coloniaux de l’armée française, by Dominique Kalifa (Paris: Perrin, 2009), Contemporary French Civilization 34.2 (Summer 2010): 221-25.
“Cultural Formations of Masculinity in North America,” Routledge International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities, eds. Michael Flood et al. (New York: Routledge, 2007) 113-17.
“Brothers,” Routledge International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities, eds. Michael Flood et al. (New York: Routledge, 2007) 50-51.
“From Balzac to Iraq: Soldiers, Veterans, and Military Adaptation,” The Comparatist 30 (May 2006): 68-80.
“Corporal Affairs: French Military Fiction from Zola to Proust,” The Future of Beauty, ed. Daniel Meyer-Dinkgrafe (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2005) 103-22.
“Queer Lumber: Forest Fraternity and Frontier Masculinity,” McGill University, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, September 2015.
“Timber Texts: Lumber Literature in Québec,” New York University, Kimmel Center for University Life and Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, October 2014.
“Nordic Masculinities from Sweden to Québec,” Comparative Literature and Scandinavian Departments, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), April 2014.
“Queer Napoleon: From Napoleonic Friendship to Gays in the Military,” Wylie Prize Lecture, Maison Française, New York University, March 2013.
“Lumber Jacques: Logging and Literature from the French Novel to Queer Culture,” Department of Romance Languages, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, February 2013.
“Gays in the French Military: From Napoleon to the First World War,” Williams College, Faculty Lecture Series, March 2011.
“A Tale of Two Napoleons: Homoeroticism and French Military Literature,” Vassar College, Department of French and Francophone Studies, September 2009.
“Disastrous Love: Soldiers and Sexuality in Zola’s La Débâcle,” Bucknell University, French and Francophone Studies Program, September 2009.
“Beyond Blond: Diversity in Modern Scandinavia,” Williams College, International Studies Colloquium, April 2009.
“Cavalry Couples: Balzac’s Napoleonic Veterans,” New York University, French Nineteenth-Century Colloquium, April 2006.
“Soldiers and Sexuality: Military Masculinity in Napoleonic France,” Williams College, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Faculty Lecture Series, March 2005.
Recent Conference Papers
“Military Mates: Friendship in the Armies of Napoleon,” Second ‘Art of Friendship’ Symposium, Maison Française, Oxford University, July 2017.
“Professor Jean Norton Cru: from Williams College to the Battle of Verdun,” France and the Memory of the Great War, University of South Alabama, March 2017.
“Terre & Tranchées: L’Armée de terre, de Sedan à Verdun (1870-1916),” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), Brown University, October 2016.
“French Military Friendship from Napoleon to WWI,” First ‘Art of Friendship’ Symposium, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, July 2016.
“Combat Companions: Passion and Intimacy in the Armies of Napoleon,” ‘Passions of War’ Conference, University of Leicester (UK), February 2016.
“Bûcheron Buddies: Forest Friendship and Frontier Masculinity in Québec,” Queer Research Colloquium, McGill University, April 2016.
“Utopian Innovation or Dystopian Decline: Interdisciplinary Teaching and Research in the Humanities,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Harvard University, March 2016.
“Trigger Warnings,” Feminist Pedagogy and Professionalism Symposium, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, McGill University, March 20016.
“Combat Companions: Passion and Intimacy in the Armies of Napoleon,” ‘Passions of War’ Conference, University of Leicester (UK), February 2016.
“Terreur & Terroir: Wilderness and Resistance from Nineteenth-Century France to Québec,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), Princeton University, November 2015.
“Queer Québec: From Archive to Interview,” Colloquium on Québécois Autobiography and Memoir, Université du Québec à Montréal, June 2015.
“Frontier Frenchmen: Trappeurs & Voyageurs in Nineteenth-Century French America,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), University of Puerto Rico, October 2014.
“Queer Means and Ends: Resistance and Assimilation in Contemporary France,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), New York University, March 2014.
“Hommes des bois: Forest Labor and Québécois Manhood in the Nineteenth-Century Novel,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), University of Richmond, Richmond, VA, October 2013.
“Lumber and Literature: Forestation, Novelization, Globalization,” International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA), Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), July 2013.
“Queer Bears and North American Manhood,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), University of Toronto, April 2013.
“Bûcherons: Forest Fraternity and Frontier Masculinity in Québec,” Québec Studies Colloquium, American Council on Québec Studies (ACQS), Sarasota, FL (in absentia), November 2012.
“Bouquins bûcherons: Lumber and Literature from Nouvelle-France to Nineteenth-Century Québec,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, October 2012.
“Timber Tales: The Use and Abuse of Forest Labor,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Brown University, Providence, March 2012.
“Nordicité forestière: l’histoire littéraire du bûcheron au Québec,” Conference: ‘Vers une cartographie des lieux du Nord,’ Université du Québec à Montréal, March 2012.
“Lumber Literature: From Balzac and Stendhal to Sand and Zola,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, October 2011.
“Men and Lumber: Foresters, Woodsmen, and Transnational Masculinity,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Vancouver, April 2011.
“Who Queers? Radical Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century France,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), Yale University, October 2010.
“Sobbing into his Soup: Napoleon, Friendship, and Loss,” Modern Language Association (MLA), Philadelphia, PA, December 2009.
“Army of Bachelors: Combat Buddies from the Empire to the Restoration,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), Brigham Young University, October 2009.
“Global Balzac: Orientalism, Eroticism, and Desire,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Harvard University, March 2009.
“Lumbering Legends: Paul Bunyan and Jos Montferrand,” Hofstra University Symposium on Queer Iconography, November 2008.
“Fraternité forestière: l’imaginaire littéraire du bûcheron au Québec,” American Council for Québec Studies (ACQS) Biannual Conference, Québec, Québec, November 2008.
“Napoleonic Friendship and Colonial Conquest,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), Vanderbilt University, October 2008.
“Bûcheron Butch: Bear Culture, Lumber Lore, and Francophone Fantasy,” ‘Rhetoric of the Other’ Conference, University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, March 2008.
“Sympathetic Sergeants and Bivouac Bedfellows,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), Mobile AL, October 2007.
“Desert Passions and Colonial Sexploitation: Balzac and Napoleon in Egypt,” Hofstra University Symposium on Queer Exoticism, October 2007.
“Family Vacations and Seaside Romance: Queer Families in Contemporary French Film,” 20th-21st Century French and Francophone Studies Colloquium, Texas A&M, March 2007.
“Terroristes ou patriotes: guerre et résistance cinématographiques au Québec,” American Council for Québec Studies (ACQS) Biannual Conference, Cambridge MA, October 2006.
“Pères de familles: origines cinématographiques de la paternité homosexuelle,” ‘Hypervisibité(s) queer au cinéma francophone,’ Université Concordia, Montréal, Québec, June 2006.
“From ‘Gay Paris’ to ‘Gay Famille’: Emerging Queer Families in New French Film,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Princeton University, March 2006.
“Napoleon Wept: Military Friendship and Masculine Affection in France,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (NCFS), University of Texas Austin, October 2005.
“Balzac in Baghdad: Military Adaptation and Imperial Conquest,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Pennsylvania State University, March 2005.
Scandinavian Studies Talks (at Williams College)
“Rise of Scandinavian Neo-Nationalism,” International Studies Colloquium, September 2011.
“Eurovision and Swedish Pop,” International Studies Colloquium, April 2011.
“Royal Weddings and Scandinavian Monarchy,” International Studies Colloquium, May 2011.
“Scandinavian Sexualities,” Women’s Center, April 2011.
“Beyond Blond: Diversity in Modern Scandinavia,” Internat’l Studies Colloquium, April 2009.
“Radical Scandinavian Women,” Women’s Center, March 2009.
Awards, Fellowships & Grants
Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies, for Napoleonic Friendship: Military Fraternity, Intimacy, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century France (Durham: University of New Hampshire Press, 2011). Awarded biennially for the best book in French social or cultural studies, from among 65 books under consideration in 2010 and 2011. Prize announced in 2012, awarded in 2013.
Williams Class of 1945 World Fellowship Sabbatical Grant, 2012-2013.
French American Cultural Exchange Grants,
from FACE (New York), French Embassy (Washington), and Ministry of Culture (Paris)
to fund five French Film Festivals at Williams, 2006-2011.
Hellman Foundation Fellows Grant, for research in France, 2007-2008.
Whiting Foundation Fellowship, for research in France and Québec, 2007-2008.
Québec Studies Program Grant, from Québécois Government, for new research in Québec, 2007-2008.
Stanford University Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2006 (declined).
Wesleyan University Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2005 (declined).
Harvard Humanities Center Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, 2002-2003.
Krupp Foundation-Gunzburg Center for European Studies Fellowship, 2000.
École Normale Supérieure Fellowship, 1999-2000.
Harvard Edmund J. Curley Graduate Fellowship, 1999-2000.
Harvard Romance Languages Graduate Fellowship, 1996-1998.
UCLA Pauley Graduate Fellowship, 1994-1996.
Harvard Frederick Sheldon Fellowship, for a year of study in France, 1993 (declined).
Fulbright Scholarship, for a year of study in Sweden, 1993-1994.
• Modern Language Association (MLA)
• American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
• Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association (NCFS)
2015-2016, Muriel Gold Visiting Professor, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, McGill University.
2011, Chair, Romance Languages Department, Williams College.
2010-2016, Associate Professor, French and Comparative Literature, Williams College.
2004-2009, Assistant Professor, French and Comparative Literature, Williams College.
1999-2000, Lecturer, English and American Literature, École Normale Supérieure (Fontenay-aux-Roses, France).
1998-2004, Teaching Fellow, French Language and English Literature, Harvard University.
1995-1996, Teaching Assistant, Comparative Literature, University of California Los Angeles.
Kayla Servin, Translation Theory & Practice: Maïsssa Bey’s Nouvelles d’Algérie (Williams, 2017).
Thammika Prim Songkaeo, “Festive Orgies: Zola’s L’Assommoir and Le Ventre de Paris” (Williams, 2011).
Colleen Farrell, “Epidemic Politics: Representation and Resistance in the First Decade of AIDS” (Williams, 2010) (Second Reader).
Annabel Kim, “Du corps au corpus: l’écriture de l’Holocauste dans Aucun de nous ne reviendra de Charlotte Delbo et La Nuit d’Élie Wiesel” (Williams, 2007).
Joseph Hutchinson, “Fulfilling Forbidden Desire: Gide’s L’Immoraliste and Mann’s Der Tod in Venedig” (Williams, 2006).
Mary Ziegler, “Dangerous Imaginings in Trollope’s Can You Forgive Her and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary” (Harvard, 2004).
Thomas Clarke, “Contemporary French Paternity in Mathieu Kassovitz’s Métisse, La Haine, and Assassins” (Harvard, 2004).
Katherine Wagner, “Lifting the Veil: Beurette Politics, Literature, and Cinema in France, 1980-1999” (Harvard, 2001).
Doctoral Juries and External Exams
Université du Québéc à Montréal (UQÀM), Doctoral Jury for Dominic Dagenais, “Culture urbaine et homosexualité: pratiques et identités homosexuelles à Montréal (1880-1929,” August 2017.
Université du Québéc à Trois Rivières (UQTR), Doctoral Jury for Serge Fournier, “Le coureur des bois au pays du Québec,” February 2012.
Université de Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle), Doctoral Jury for Céline Brossillon, “Le Célibataire dans les contes et nouvelles de Guy de Maupassant,” December 2011.
Swarthmore College, External Examiner for Honors Program in French, Written and Oral Exams on Romanticism and the Nineteenth-Century Novel, 2006-2010.
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Advisory Committee (2005-2017).
Dively Committee for Human Sexuality and Diversity (2004-2017, Chair 2010-12, 2017-18).
Comparative Literature Faculty Advisory Committee (2014-15, 2017-18).
Committee on Educational Policy (CEP) (2009-2011).
Multicultural Center (MCC) Director Search Committee (Spring 2010).
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Advisory Committee (2004-2009).
French Film Festivals
“School Stories: Diversity and Adversity in New French Film” (2017).
“In/Tolerance: Conflict and Violence in New French Film” (2015).
“Unlikely Love: Longing and Desire in New French Film” (2014).
“Without Distinction: Race and Ethnicity in New French Film” (2012).
“Secrecy and Scandal: Clandestine Lives and Passions in New French Film” (2011).
“Faith, Hope, Identity: Religious/Cultural Diversity in Contemporary French Film” (2010).
“Critical Visions: New Film from Francophone Africa” (2009).
“In the Best of Families: Domestic Drama in New French and Francophone Film” (2007).
“Beyond the Femme Fatale: Leading Women in New French and Francophone Film” (2006).
Gantt Gurley (U of Oregon), Danish Jews & WWII, March 2014 (Co-hosted with Jewish Studies).
Toril Moi (Duke), Ibsen’s Modernism, April 2011 (co-hosted with Theater Department).
Eszter Szalczer (SUNY Albany), Strindberg’s Modernism, February 2011 (co-hosted with Theater Department).
Sandi DuBowski (Filmmaker), Contemporary Queer Film, April 2011.
Alison Bechdel (Novelist), Queer Graphic Novel, February 2011.
Robyn Ochs (Activist), Feminism and Bisexuality, April 2010.
Isabel Roche (Bennington), Victor Hugo, April 2009.
Kate Kendel (Activist), Diversity in Denmark, February 2009.
Tom Conley (Harvard), Contemporary French Film, February 2007.
Allan Bérubé (Historian), Gays in the Military, April 2006.
Alice Jardine (Harvard), Twenty-First Century Feminism, February 2006.
Colloquia on Contemporary France
“Charlie Hebdo & Hyper Cacher: In the Aftermath of the Violence in Paris,” February 2015.
“French Presidential Elections: François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy,” May 2012.
“France in Revolt: The Labor Strikes that Shut Down the Nation,” November 2010.
“Crisis in the Caribbean: The French Antilles and the Global Economic Crisis in France,”
“Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal: Debating the French Presidential Elections,” May 2007.
“Paris is Burning: Recent Race Riots in France,” November 2005.