Ian Williams Curtis joined the faculty at Kenyon College in 2020 after receiving his doctorate in French from Yale University. While completing his dissertation, he studied as a pensionnaire étranger at the École Normale Supérieure, rue d’Ulm, and as a visiting student in the Department of History at Sciences Po, Paris. He holds a master’s degree in psychoanalysis from the Université de Paris VIII where he wrote a thesis on James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. In 2012, he received an A.B. with highest honors in French Literature from Kenyon College. A cultural historian by training, his teaching and research interests include the French popular press, crime fiction and the récit d’enquête, post-World War II youth culture, and the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in France.

Areas of Expertise

Twentieth-century French literature, youth culture and crime, Lacanian theory


2020 — Doctor of Philosophy from Yale University

2017 — Master of Philosophy from Yale University

2015 — Master of Arts from Yale University

Courses Recently Taught

This course is the continuation of the first semester of intermediate French and includes a comprehensive grammar review and short cultural and literary readings, which will serve as points of departure for class discussion. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Attendance at a weekly French table is strongly encouraged. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y or placement or permission of instructor. Offered every spring.

This course is designed to provide advanced students with the opportunity to strengthen their abilities to write, read and speak French. The conversation component of the course will focus on the discussion of articles from the current French and Francophone press, films and web sites, with the aim of developing students' fluency in French and their performance of linguistically and culturally appropriate tasks. Through the composition component, students will seek to improve their ability to write clearly and coherently in French. In order to foster these goals, the course also will provide a review of selected advanced grammatical structures and work on literary excerpts. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Offered every year.

In this course, we will examine representative texts — lyric poems, plays, short stories and novels — from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution. In addition to gaining a greater understanding of French literary history and of related social and philosophical trends, students will develop skills necessary for close reading, explication de texte and oral discussion. We will read complete texts rather than excerpts whenever possible. It is especially recommended for students with little or no previous exposure to French literature. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Offered every year or alternating with FREN 324.

Special Topic