Indiana University Bloomington
Department of French and Italian

Nicolas Valazza

Nicolas Valazza

Assistant Professor of French

Office: Ballantine Hall 624
Office phone: 855-5764

Research Areas

19th century French literature; relationship between painting and literature; history of esthetic forms; art theory of the Italian Renaissance; Clandestine literature


  • PhD, French Literature, Johns Hopkins University, 2009
  • Licence ès Lettres, French and Italian Literatures, University of Geneva, 2004


My primary research interests lie in the relationship between painting and literature in 19th-century France, in clandestine literature under the Second Empire and in late 19th-century symbolist aesthetics.

My first book, Crise de plume et Souveraineté du pinceau. Écrire la peinture de Diderot à Proust (Classiques Garnier, 2013) explores the development of French art criticism as a literary genre, in light of the emerging paradigm of sovereignty of painting. The thesis at the core of the book is that the fall of the ut pictura poesis regime, which was governing the classical relationship between painting and literature until the second half of the 18th century, represents a critical moment in the discourse on art—corresponding to the birth of art criticism with Diderot—while causing a proliferation of new literary forms in the 19th century.

My new research project focuses on the paratextual aspects of fin-de-siècle literature, a period when the book came to be threatened by the proliferation of journals, the supremacy of the text by illustrations, and the figure of the author by anonymity or pseudonymity. By calling into question these foundations of literary history, my study aims to open a new perspective on symbolist and decadent esthetics.

Selected Publications


Edited Books

  • Sacher-Masoch, Leopold von. La Vénus à la fourrure. Paris: Le Monde, Garnier, 2010


  • “Félicien Rops: graveur de la décadence latine.” Nineteenth-Century French Studies 41.3-4 (Spring-Summer 2013): 237-254.
  • “Baudelaire au Parnasse satyrique.” L’Année Baudelaire 15 (2012): 87-101.
  • "Aux seuils de l'enfer de la bibliothèque: à propos de quelques éditions clandestines de Poulet-Malassis." Romantisme 155 (2012): 135-146
  • "Portrait de Proust en dentellière: Au-delà du petit pan de mur jaune." Marcel Proust Aujourd'hui 8 (2011): 149-169
  • "Reading the Paratext in Clandestine Literature: The Case of the Publisher Poulet-Malassis." Textual Cultures: Texts, Contexts, Interpretation 6.1 (Spring 2011): 97-113
  • "The Flower and the Monster: On Huysmans' Painters." In The Beautiful and the Monstrous: Essays in French Literature, Thought and Culture. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2010: 93-104
  • "Fleurs pour Des Esseintes." Bulletin de la Société Joris-Karl Huysmans 101 (2008): 3-16
  • "La Chair du Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu." L'Esprit Créateur 47.3 (2007): 145-154
  • "Antonin Artaud et l'essoufflement du logos." Working papers 1 (2006)


  • F300: Revolutions and Literature
  • F300: The Discovery of the New World
  • F306: Exoticism & Exile in Novels and Poetry
  • F443: The Poet Before the Mirror: Forms of Lyricism in the 19th Century
  • F446: The Figure of the Painter in the 19th-Century French Novel
  • F540: 19th-Century Poetic Manifestos
  • F545: Clandestine Literature and Literary Trials in the 19th Century
  • F640: The Emergence of French Art Criticism
  • F640: The Metamorphoses of the Muse in the 19th Century
  • H233: The Pen and the Paintbrush

Honors, Fellowships, and Awards

  • Larry Schehr Memorial Award for the best junior faculty essay presented at the Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium, 2013
  • Trustees Teaching Award, Indiana University, 2010-2011
  • Gilman Fellowhip, 2004-2009
  • Johns Hopkins Fellowship for the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, 2006-2007