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Michael Johnson

Associate FacultyPhD, Emory University

Assistant Professor
Michael Johnson



Classical and medieval rhetoric, Medieval European literature and culture, Sexuality and Gender Studies, Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis, European comics


I am an assistant professor of medieval French literature with a research focus on medieval grammar and rhetoric.

Current project: The Medieval Erotics of Grammar. This book-length study aims to account for the persistent use of grammatical terminology in reflections about and debates on sex in high medieval literature. The principal claim put forward in the Medieval Erotics of Grammar is that medieval grammatical discourse played a central role in shaping and regulating Western views of sex, particularly in the cultural elevation of the male-female couple hailed by courtly literature. A great deal of medieval writers harnessed grammatical discourse both to the end of celebrating heterosexual erotic love and in condemnations of same-sex eroticism. I examine both of these instances in a large corpus of writing, ranging from a selection of erotic poems in Latin and the vernaculars –– including Goliardic writings, some of the Carmina Burana, an erotic parody of Alexander of Villedieu’s Doctrinale, and troubadour lyric –– to debates that call upon contemporaneous grammatical theories to condemn homoerotic sex, including, most notably, the anonymous but hugely popular Altercatio Ganimedis et Helene, Alain de Lille’s De planctu Naturae and Gautier de Coinci’s Seinte Léocade.

I have also published on Lacan and the troubadour excremental, on euphemism and desire in the Romance of the Rose, and on sex and reading in Alan of Lille's Plaint of Nature. My secondary research focus is on sexuality in twentieth-century French writing, to which end I have published on André Gide, Claude Louis-Combet, Fabrice Neaud and Jacques Derrida.


Johnson, Michael A. "Post-Queer Autobiography: Placing/Facing Fabrice Neaud." Contemporary French and Francophone Studies 12.1 (2008): 27-39. MLA International Bibliography.


Johnson, Michael A. "Sodomy, Allegory, and the Subject of Pleasure." Queer Sexualities in French and Francophone Literature and Film. 1-12. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi, 2007. MLA International Bibliography.


Johnson, Michael A. "Translatio Ganymedis: Reading the Sex out of Ovid in Alan of Lille's The Plaint of Nature." Florilegium 22.(2005): 171-190. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO.


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