Associate Professor of French
Division of Literature and Languages
Catherine Witt works on French literature and philosophy post-1750s. Her research interests center on Romantic poetry and the notion of philological imagination in authors of the first half of the nineteenth century, ranging from André Chénier and Giacomo Leopardi to Charles Baudelaire. She has written on the emergence of the modern prose poem; the "found object" in early French Romanticism; the anecdote; the lexicography of Charles Nodier; the elusive notion of the nescio quid; Baudelaire reading Chateaubriand; among other topics. Along with Joseph Acquisto and Adrianna Paliyenko, she recently co-edited Poets as Readers in Nineteenth-Century France: Critical Reflections (2015), a collection of essays on how poets approach reading as a notion, a practice, and a political praxis that informs their writings as well as their relationship to readers. Since her arrival at Reed in the fall of 2005, she has taught a wide variety of courses on nineteenth-century and twentieth-century French literature, theater, and film, and has advised and co-advised senior theses in French, English, Lit-Theater as well as Lit-History. Catherine Witt received her BA in modern history and French literature from Oxford University (Merton College), a Masters in modern European literature from the University of Sussex, and a PhD in French and Italian from Princeton University. She studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and was a visiting scholar (pensionnaire scientifique) at the Centre d’Études Poétiques (ENS-Lyon).