Faith E. Beasley

Academic Appointments

Professor of French

My work as a scholar and a teacher focused first on resurrecting the works and voices of French women writers primarily from the early modern period, a key period of French and western civilization, and putting these works and voices in dialogue with those of their contemporaries and situating them in their literary and historical context.  I then moved to interrogating the effect women's actions had on the cultural field in general, and to analyzing how and why the historical record has been constructed to erase this influence.  Currently my work interrogates France's engagement with the world, in particular India, during the early modern period.  In my most recent book, Versailles Meets the Taj Mahal:  François Bernier, Marguerite de La Sablière, and Enlightening Conversations in Seventeenth-Century France,  I examine the effect early encounters with India had on French literature, culture, and the history of ideas.  I locate the dissemination of the concept of India in salon culture, and explore how one salon served as the focal point for the encounter between France and India during France’s Grand Siècle and the effect of this encounter on early Enlightenment thought, material culture, and literature. I am working to revive the conversations of the past, and include these conversations often erased from the official historical record, in order to restore their influence to the history of ideas.   

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Dartmouth Hall, Room 213F
HB 6087


  • B.A. Mount Holyoke College
  • MA Princeton University
  • Ph.D. Princeton University

Selected Publications

  • Book:  Versailles Meets the Taj Mahal:  François Bernier, Marguerite de La Sablière and Enlightening Conversations in Seventeenth-Century France. Toronto:  University of Toronto Press, 2018

  • article:  “Changing the Conversation:  Re-positioning the French Seventeenth-Century Salon,” in L’Esprit créateur, “Writing/Creating in the Feminine in Early Modern France (1500-1700),” ed. Colette Winn, Vol. 60, No. 1 (2020), pp. 34–46.

  • article:  “Decentering the European Imaginary:  A Baroque Taste for India,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Baroque.  Ed. John D. Lyons. Oxford:  Oxford UP, 2018.

  • article:  “Réseaux mondains et création littéraire,” in Lendemains:  Etudes comparées sur la France, volume titled “Du genre de la littérature” eds. Lieselotte Steinbrügge and Hendrik Schlieper. Vol 41, no. 162/163, January 2016, 137-49.

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Speaking Engagements

“Feminist Criticism and Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves,” recording for the digital bilingual edition of La Princesse de Clèves, Lever Press, recorded April 2021

Talkback “In Conversation” for Molière in the Park’s performance of “pen/man/ship,” by Christina Anderson, April 18, 2021

“Fairy Tales:  The Power of Narrative and the Imagination”. Duke University, April, 2021

“Textes et Contextes:  Writing Conversation.”  “Autour du Livre.”  Silver Colloquium, Washington University.  October 16, 2020

“Creating Controversy:  The Provocative Ending of Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves.”  Seminar, Duke University, September 2, 2020

“Mythes de Versailles:  Influences indiennes.”  Seminar, Yale 11 November 2019.

“Bernier Re-contextualisé: Vers une autre vision de la rencontre entre L’Inde et la France au Grand Siècle” Keynote address for conference “Le Voyage en Inde à l’âge classique.”  Univ. Aix Marseille, France, October 18, 2019.

Works In Progress

  • New French edition of Versailles Meets the Taj Mahal

  • Translation of François Bernier's travels to India

  • Biography of Marguerite de La Sablière