Didier Maleuvre


Contact Phone

(805) 893-2220

Office Location

Phelps 5319


Professor of French and Comparative Literature
Affiliated with the Center for Film, Television & New Media


Educational Background

  • Ph.D. Yale University, 1993
  • M.A., Yale University (1990) & University of Minnesota (1989)
  • B.A., English, University of Pau, France

Research Interests

  • European Literature,
  • History of Ideas
  • Art and Society
  • Philosophy, Religion


  • The Art of Civilization: A Bourgeois History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). This newest book is a history of the uses of art since ancient Greece. It argues that art is inextricably linked to a particular place, the city, and its homegrown species, the bourgeois. Thus art in Western societies has helped the rise of a demystified and pragmatic mindset. Art indeed has civilized us, laying the groundwork for the historical victory of reason over revelation, and of productive bourgeois ways over the transcendental
  • The Horizon: A History of our Infinite Longing (University of California Press, 2010). The book offers a journey through artistic representations of the infinite from ancient Sumer to the computer age. It argues that our beguilement with the outer reaches of life and knowledge is a crucial engine of culture
  • The Religion of Reality: Inquiry into the Self, Art, And Transcendence (The Catholic University of America Press, June 2006). The book explains how art offers a corrective to the excessive subjectivism of modern thought
  • Museum Memories: History, Technology, Art (Stanford UP, 1999). A book on museums and the philosophy of art in the modern period. Spanish translation, Memorias del Museo: historia, tecnología, arte (Cendeac, Spain, 2012)
  • A collection of essays co-edited with Catherine Nesci, L'oeuvre d'identité. Essais sur le romantisme de Nodier à Baudelaire (Montréal: Paragraphes, 1996)
  • & articles on art, literature, and philosophy

Recent articles include:

  • "Tocqueville on the Challenge of American Philosophy," Philosophy Today 44.4 (2000): 380-387
  • "Emerson on Patience," Prisms 8 (2000): 49-66. Reprinted in Recent Perspectives on European Romanticism, ed. Larry H. Peer (2002)
  • "Can we Believe Darwin?" Comparative Literature 53.2 (Spring 2001): 118-130
  • "The Heart of Kant's Ethics," Prisms 9 (2001): 157-175
  • "Must Aesthetic Understanding be Interpretive?" SubStance #96, 30. 3 (2001): 120-128
  • "Painting Mortality (Jacques-Louis David)," Diacritics 30. 3 (2002): 13-27
  • "Beyond Culture," Journal of Human Value 10:2 (2004): 131-141
  • "Art and the Teaching of Love," The Journal of Aesthetic Education 39.1 (Spring 2005): 77-92
  • "A Plea for Silence: Putting Art Back into the Art Museum," in Museum Philosophy, ed. Hugh H. Genoways, 2005, 165-176
  • "Of History and Things: The Age of Exhibition," in Die Ausstellung. Politik eines Rituals, Berlin/Zurich: Diaphanes, 2010
  • "Must Museums be Inclusive?" in Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society, Volume 4, Number 2, Autumn 2012, pp. 112-125
  • "Rembrandt, or the Portrait as Encounter," in Media, Memory, Portraiture in the Digital Age,  ANU ePress, 2016

My teaching goes by the practical beacon that it should be half as clear, and perchance a hundredth part as nourishing, as the works of art and literature it owes itself to. To me, the teaching of art and literature is ancillary to admiration. My purpose is to tosensitize students to the ambiguity and perplexity that suffuse human affairs in the hope of offering a counterfoil to the shrill sanctimony of social media.



Quarter Course Title
Spring 2012 FR 229AS Modern and Contemporary Studies
Spring 2012 FR 153C Autobiography and Life Stories
Winter 2012 IT 20X Introduction to Italian Culture
Spring 2011 FR 101C Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis
Spring 2011 FR 11B French for Graduate Students
Fall 2010 ITAL 20X Introduction to Italian Culture
Fall 2010 FR 147C French and Francophone Prose Fiction
Winter 2010 FR 156A French Cinema: History and Theory
Fall 2009 ITAL 20X Introduction to Italian Culture
Fall 2009 FR 153C Autobiographies and Life Stories
Spring 2009 FR 232D French Film and Theory
Spring 2009 FR 50CX Tales of Western Love
Winter 2009 FR 153C Autobiographies and Life Stories
Winter 2009 FR 147C French and Francophone Prose Fiction
Spring 2008 FR 50CX Tales of Western Love
Spring 2007 FR 231C Literature and Travel
Spring 2007 FR 11B French for Graduate Students
Winter 2007 FR 50AX Tales of Love
Winter 2007 FR 11A French for Graduate Students
Fall 2006 FR 50CX Tales of Western Love

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