Benjamin Hoffmann

Benjamin Hoffmann

Benjamin Hoffmann

Associate Professor

221 Hagerty Hall
1775 College Rd
Columbus, OH

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Professional Website

Office Hours

Spring 2020: By appointment

Areas of Expertise

  • 18th-century French literature and philosophy
  • Transatlantic Studies
  • Creative Writing


  • Licence de Philosophie & Licence de Lettres Modernes, Université Bordeaux III
  • Diplôme de l’École Normale Supérieure (double major in literature and philosophy)
  • Master 2 de Littérature française, Paris IV-Sorbonne (Summa cum laude)
  • Ph.D., Yale University

Benjamin Hoffmann is Associate Professor of Early Modern French Studies at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on eighteenth-century French literature and philosophy, with a special interest in the introduction of “new worlds” in French thought during the Age of Enlightenment.  

His first monograph, Posthumous America: Literary Reinventions of America at the end of the Eighteenth Century (2018), was published in French by Éditions Classiques Garnier and in English translation by The Pennsylvania State University Press. Posthumous America examines the literary idealization of a lost American past and investigates the reasons why, for a series of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French writers, America was never more potent as a driving ideal than in its loss.

His second monograph, Les Paradoxes de la postérité (2019), was published by Éditions de Minuit and is forthcoming in English translation with The Pennsylvania State University Press. Focusing on key texts by Diderot, Falconet, Casanova, Chateaubriand, and Sartre, exploring such fields as digital humanities and book history, this work intends to illuminate the paradoxes inherent in the research of symbolic immortality through the power of writing.  

Prof. Hoffmann has published a critical edition of Letters Written from the Banks of the Ohio (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017; Éditions Classiques Garnier, 2019), the story of French aristocrat Lezay-Marnésia and the utopia he attempted to create in North America at the beginning of the French Revolution. Hoffmann has also published numerous essays on authors and topics such as Vivant-Denon, Diderot, Crèvecœur, Casanova, Rousseau, the Counter-Enlightenment, the literature of Francophone Louisiana, and Digital Humanities. His articles have appeared in such journals as French Studies, French Forum, Orages, L’Atelier du roman, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, The Southern Quarterly, and Dix-Huitième siècle.

His new research project deals with the introduction of Buddhism in the Western World during the Early Modern Period and investigates travel narratives about Siam, China, and Japan, as well as French commentaries on Buddhist ethics and metaphysics. The first results of this project were published by Recherches sur Diderot et sur l’Encyclopédie and are forthcoming with Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Seminars and graduate courses taught at OSU include “Creative Writing in French”, “From the Sun King to WWI”, “French Literature in the Age of Discovery”, “Eighteenth-Century Literary Experiments”, and “Enlightenment and Desire”. Since 2018, Prof. Hoffmann has been the Resident Director of the Global May Paris Program

A creative writer, Benjamin Hoffmann is also the author of four novels: Le monde est beau, on peut y voyager (Bastingage, 2008); Anya Ivanovna (Bastingage, 2010); Père et fils (Gallimard, 2011); and American Pandemonium (Gallimard, 2016). With the support of a special assignment granted by OSU, he is currently finishing a new novel.