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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Marc Bizer

Professor PhD, Princeton University

Professor of French Literature
Marc Bizer


  • Phone: 512-471-7780
  • Office: HRH 3.112B
  • Office Hours: Tu Th 12:30-1:30 and by appt.
  • Campus Mail Code: B7600


Marc Bizer, originally from Amherst, Massachusetts, has taught at UT since 1992. He holds an A.B. in Comparative Literature from Brown University, a Maîtrise ès lettres modernes from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University. He is the author of three books, as well as of numerous articles: the just-published Homer and the Politics of Authority in Renaissance France (Oxford University Press, 2011), Les Lettres Romaines de Du Bellay: Les Regrets et la Tradition Epistolaire (University of Montreal Press, 2001), and La Poésie au Miroir: Imitation et Conscience de soi dans la Poésie Latine de la Pléiade (Champion, 1995). He is the recipient of sabbatical fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the American Philosophical Society, and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation. He won a silver award for innovative instructional technology for his Reading Between the Lines web site (2008).



early modern Europe & France, classical reception, national identity, gender, tragedy and the tragic

T C 302 • Hunger

42345 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CRD 007A
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Course Description:

Today, thanks to journalists such as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) but also Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food), eating is recognized as an integral (and problematic) part of national and individual identity. This seminar will focus on the relationship between eating, hunger, and identity by looking at modern non-fictional as well as literary and filmic accounts of eating, fasting, and starving. The course will be divided into three sections: politics, poetics, and culture. In the politics section of the course, we will study the physiological and political dimensions of hunger: first how hunger affects the body, and then how starvation can be a result of marginalization, exploitation, and victimization. In the poetics part, we will read works where eating, hunger and fasting are acts of self-definition and revolt. The last portion of the course, devoted to cultural questions, will use filmic representations of eating and hunger to generate discussion about the ways in which they are conditioned by cultural and national identities. Discussion throughout the course will be enriched by students’ hands-on experience of the politics and economics of hunger by volunteer work at the Capitol Area Food Bank, a local soup kitchen, sustainable farm, etc.

Course Requirements:

Students write 2 short papers (4-5 pages each 15% and 20%; a research paper on an aspect of a work read in the first part of the course and a literary analysis of a work from the second). Students’ volunteer experience will be blogged. Throughout the course, students will keep a journal (25%) composed of one-page writings on at least six reading/viewing assignments. During the third part of the course, students will work in teams to organize a film festival and will be responsible for animating discussion on the films viewed. Participation will count for 40% of the final grade, since it will consist not only of regular participation in class discussions, the volunteer blog, but also of an oral report on one of the reading assignments.

Texts (subject to change):

For part I (politics), we will read Russell’s Hunger: An Unnatural History, and a variety of texts highlighting different key aspects of the politics of hunger. For part II (poetics), we will read Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist” and “The Metamorphosis,” Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, and Amélie Nothomb’s The Life of Hunger. The films viewed and discussed in part III (culture) will be chosen by the students, except for one chosen by the instructor as a special surprise.

About the Professor:

Marc Bizer is professor of French literature at the University of Texas at Austin and a specialist of sixteenth-century French literature which includes some notable scenes of gluttony. He has published three books, the last of which analyzes the political uses of Homer in Renaissance France. In his free time, he is an avid movie-watcher and a bit of a computer geek indoors, and used to be a runner and a swimmer outdoors before the arrival of boy/girl twins, currently four and a half years old, who already like tofu, although it looks like quinoa will be an acquired taste.


External Grants



  • 2007-8  Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship (year); Renaissance Society of America Senior Scholar Research Grant for research in Paris (one month).
  • 2002-3  Sabbatical Fellowship, American Philosophical Society.
  • 2001 Marandon Fellowship, Society of American Professors of French, 6 mos.
  • 1996-97 Fulbright-Hays senior research fellowship (Paris, France), 6 mos.



Bizer, M. (2011)Homer and the Politics of Authority in Renaissance France. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 272pp. Oxford Scholarship Online. Oxford University Press. January 2012.

Bizer, M. (2010). "From Lyric to Epic and Back: Joachim Du Bellay's Epic Regrets." Modern Language Quarterly 71.2. 107-127.

Bizer, M. (2008). “Homer, La Boétie, Montaigne, and the Question of Sovereignty.” In Zahi Zalloua and Reinier Leushuis (Eds.), “Esprit généreux, esprit pantagruélicque”: Essays by His Students In Honor of François Rigolot. Geneva: Droz, 259-277.

Bizer, M. (2006). “Men are from Mars: Jean de Sponde’s Homeric Heroes and Vision of Just French Leaders.” In Philip Ford and Paul White (Eds.), Masculinities in Sixteenth-Century France. Cambridge: Cambridge French Colloquia, 167-179.

Bizer, M. (2006). “Garnier’s La Troade between Homeric Fiction and French History: the Question of Moral Authority.” Romance Notes 46.3 (2006). 331-39.

Bizer, M. (2004, September). What’s in a Name? Biography vs. Wordplay in Du Bellay’s Regrets. Early Modern France, 9, 99-109.

Bizer, M. (2002). ‘Qui a païs n'a que faire de patrie’: Joachim Du Bellay’s Resistance to a French Identity. Romanic Review 91.4, 375-395.

Bizer, M. (2002). A Source of Du Bellay’s Most Famous Sonnet: ‘Heureux qui comme Ulysse’. Romance Notes, 42.3, 371-375.

Bizer, M. (2001). Les Lettres Romaines de Du Bellay: Les Regrets et la Tradition Epistolaire. Montreal: University of Montreal Press. 302pp.

Bizer, M. (1999). “Letters from Home: The Epistolary Aspects of Joachim Du Bellay’s Regrets.” Renaissance Quarterly 52.1, 140-79.

Bizer, M. (1996). “The Reflection of the Other in One’s Own Mirror: The Idea of the Portrait in Renaissance imitatio.”Romance Notes 36.2, 191-9.

Bizer, M. (1995). “Ronsard the poet, Belleau the Translator: The Difficulties of Writing in the Laureate’s Shadow”. In K. Lloyd-Jones & J. Beer (Eds.), Humanist Translators and their Craft. Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University, 175-226.

Bizer, M. (1995). La Poésie au Miroir: Imitation et Conscience de Soi dans la Poésie Latine de la Pléiade. Paris: Honoré Champion. 227pp.

Bizer, M. (1995). “Salammbô, Polybe et la rhétorique de la violence.” Revue d’Histoire Littéraire de la France 6, 974-88.

Bizer, M. (1994). “The Genealogy of Poetry According to Ronsard and Julius Cesar Scaliger.” Humanistica Lovaniensia 43, 304-318.

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