A Roundtable on Irène Némirovsky, Author of Suite Française

Tuesday, 29 March 2016, 4-5:30 p.m.
Reception at 3:30 p.m.
Glasscock Center Library, 311 Glasscock Building

Susan Rubin Suleiman on Némirovsky’s Jewish Protagonists
C. Douglas Dillon Research Professor of the Civilization of France at Harvard University, 2015-16 TIAS Faculty Fellow

Olivier Philipponnat on Némirovsky and Catholicism
Author of The Life of Irène Némirovsky

Nathan Bracher on Némirovsky’s Fiction and History
Professor of French in the Department of International Studies at Texas A&M University

Irène Némirovsky (1903-1942) was a novelist of Ukrainian Jewish origin born in Kiev under the Russian Empire. Regardless of living more than half her life in France and writing in French, she was denied French citizenship. Némirovsky was arrested by the Nazis as a Jew under the racial laws, which did not take into account her conversion to Roman Catholicism. She died at Auschwitz at the age of 39. Némirovsky is now best known for the posthumously-published Suite française.

Suggested Reading
There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion. Preparatory readings including:
Suite française by Irène Némirovsky
David Golder by Irène Némirovsky
More coming soon…


ssuleiman_120x160SUSAN RUBIN SULEIMAN is the C. Douglas Dillon Research Professor of the Civilization of France at Harvard University. Considered one of the leading U.S. scholars of twentieth-century French literature, Susan R. Suleiman ranks among the world’s foremost scholars in her field and is considered a leading international scholar of gender and Holocaust studies.

Among her works is the 1983 Authoritarian Fictions: The Ideological Novel as a Literary Genre, one of the most important critical studies on the political novel written over the last four decades.

She received the Radcliffe Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 1990 and a decoration by the French government as an Officer of the Order of Academic Palms (Palmes Académiques) in 1992.

Suleiman is the author or editor of many books and more than one hundred articles on contemporary literature and culture published in the United States and abroad. Her latest book, forthcoming from Yale University Press, is about the Russian-French novelist Irène Némirovsky and issues of “foreignness” in twentieth-century France. Her other books include Crises of Memory and the Second World War (2006); Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics, and the Avant-Garde (1990); Risking Who One Is: Encounters with Contemporary Art and Literature (1994); and the memoir Budapest Diary: In Search of the Motherbook (1996). She has edited and coedited influential collective volumes, including French Global: A New Approach to Literary History (2010) and After Testimony: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future (2012).

philipponnat_120x160OLIVIER PHILIPPONNAT, a French writer, editor and critic, was born in Épernay in 1967. Along with Patrick Lienhardt, he wrote of a biography of Roger Stéphane (Grasset, 2004), a French resistant, writer and journalist. For their biography of Irène Némirovsky (Grasset & Denoël, 2007), they have had unprecedented access to unpublished letters, notebooks and archives. The book has since been translated into English, Spanish, German, Italian, and Chinese.

Philipponnat was the curator of the exhibition Irène Némirovsky in the Memorial of Holocaust, Paris (2010). He also has written introductions for several unreleased stories and novels about Némirovsky and prepared the first edition of her complete works for La Pochothèque (2 vol., 2011), as well as a volume of eight biographies by Stefan Zweig (2014).

He is now preparing a collection of Némirovsky’s correspondence, and a detailed biography of the French writer, polemist and journalist Emmanuel Berl (forthcoming, 2017).

bracher-n_120x160NATHAN BRACHER is Professor of French at Texas A & M University. His book François Mauriac on Race, War, Politics, and Religion was published by the Catholic University of America Press in December 2015, while After the Fall:  War and Occupation in Irène Némirovsky’s Suite française, appeared from the same press in 2010. His recent articles include “L’Histoire hors sujet ou Écrire le passé “comme Elstir peignait la mer”: le cas de l’Histoire des grands-parents que je n’ai pas eus d’Ivan Jablonka,” published in 2015 in Modern & Contemporary France, and  “Pour une histoire à l’imparfait du présent: La Dernière Catastrophe d’Henry Rousso,” published in 2015 in French Cultural Studies. His current research focuses on the intersections of history and the contemporary French novel.

Lecture supported in part by the
France/Texas A&M University Institute (Centre Pluridisciplinaire)