Department of International Studies
College of Liberal Arts
Melanie Hawthorne specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature, with a special emphasis on prose fiction of the “Decadent” period and on women writers. She tends to emphasize how narrative expectations shape the stories we find compelling, and in particular the conventions of life-writing.
Hawthorne’s book 36 Views of Renée Vivien combines a creative approach to biography with the highest standards of original scholarly research in order to offer the first book in English devoted entirely to the life and work of the Anglo-American writer Pauline Tarn (1877–1909), better known to literary history as Renée Vivien. Hawthorne will offer a timely re-appraisal of her work for a contemporary audience—using new research that presents Vivien as a more modern, globally-connected author. The book will offer a wealth of new biographical material, the result of over a decade of her research on this writer. Her book will emphasize the many Asian connections in Vivien’s work, and will concentrate on her short stories to argue that her prose is at least as significant as her poetry. The biography will tell Vivien’s life through a series of objects, rather than through the traditional cradle-to-grave chronological narrative.