Benjamin Hoffmann

Assistant Professor

Benjamin Hoffmann is Assistant Professor of Early Modern French Studies. His research focuses on eighteenth-century French literature and philosophy, with a special interest in the representations of America during the Age of Enlightenment. He is the recipient of several academic awards and prizes including a scholarship for academic excellence from the Sorbonne, the Marguerite A. Peyre Prize for outstanding dissertation, and the Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities.

His first academic book, Posthumous America: Literary Reinventions of America at the end of the Eighteenth Century, will be published by Pennsylvania State University Press in the Spring of 2018. This book examines the idealization of a lost American past in the work of Saint-John de Crèvecœur, Lezay-Marnésia, and Chateaubriand. A French edition of Posthumous America is forthcoming from Éditions Classiques Garnier.

Dr. Hoffmann is the author of two critical editions of Lezay-Marnésia’s Letters Written from the Banks of the Ohio. An English edition was translated by Alan J. Singerman and published by Pennsylvania State University Press in 2017; a French edition is forthcoming from Éditions Classiques Garnier. He has published essays on authors and topics such as Vivant-Denon, Diderot, Crèvecœur, Casanova, Rousseau, Mallarmé, the Counter-Enlightenment, the Literature of Francophone Louisiana, and Digital Humanities. His articles have appeared in such journals as Southern Quarterly, Les Écrits, French Studies, French Forum, Fabula, L’Atelier du roman, La Règle du jeu, and Dix-Huitième siècle.

He’s currently working on two projects. The first one is a philosophical analysis of the concept of posterity: focusing on key works 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. His second project deals with the introduction of Buddhism in the Western World during the Early Modern Period. It investigates travel narratives about Siam, China, Tibet, and Japan, as well as French commentaries on Buddhist ethics and metaphysics.

Seminars and graduate courses taught at OSU include “Introduction to French Studies”, “From the Sun King to WWI”, “French Literature in the Age of Discovery”, and “Eighteenth-Century Literary Experiments”.

In addition to his scholarly work, Benjamin Hoffmann has published 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).

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

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221 Hagerty Hall
1775 College Rd
Columbus, OH 43210

Spring 2018 Office Hours:
Tuesday and Thursday 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm
and by appointment