• Rose Rejouis

    Associate Professor of Literature

    Office Location:

    Eugene Lang Building


    Rose Réjouis writes about cultural politics, literature, theory (anthropology, Jewish thought, psychoanalysis, class and race, sociology) and humor. She studies the narrative strategies of ethnic and social insider-outsiders, particularly as those narratives veer between history and romance, utopia and dystopia. As a literary critic, she immerses herself in the "deep play" between ideas and literary structures; and her translations (with Val Vinokur) offer insights into the fruitful tensions between idiomatic and idiosyncratic uses of language.  

    Good writers are good readers. As a teacher, Rose Réjouis encourages students to explore literary history broadly while committing themselves to close readings. Lately, she and her students have been extending their close readings into the realm of audio-visual storytelling and mixed media.   

    Prominent Critical Reviews:

    • 2015 Homage to the Réjouis/Vinokur translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco, in The Guardian:  "On How Fiction Can Make it New" by Garth Risk Hallberg (October 2015).

    •  2009 New York Times review of Négritude, an experimental multi-media and multi-disciplinary exhibition at Exit Art (supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Council for the Humanities) which Rose Réjouis guest curated.

    • 1998 New York Times review of Réjouis/Vinokur translation of Chamoiseau's Solibo Magnificent.

    • 1998 New York Times Book Review of Réjouis/Vinokur translation of Chamoiseau's Solibo Magnificent.

    • 1997 Cover of The New York Times Book Review review of Réjouis/Vinokur translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco.

    • 1997 The New Yorker review by John Updike of Réjouis/Vinokur translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's Texacoby Rose Réjouis and Val Vinokur


    Note:  Institutional cvs often mask failures and other unflattering learning opportunities.  If you are interested in what a CV OF FAILURES might look like, please take a look at the one by Princeton professor, Johannes Haushofer.  His CV was a project inspired by an article in Nature by Melanie I. Stefan

    Degrees Held:

    Ph.D., Romance Languages and Literatures, Princeton University, 2002.

    B.A., Amherst College, magna cum laude, French and English, 1994.



    Ecole Normale Supérieure (research sabbatical as externe), 1997

    Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Etudiante Etrangère - printemps 1993)

    Institut d’Etudes de Sciences Politiques (Etudiante Etrangère - printemps 1993)

    Recent Publications:


    For a list of my most recent essays for the French review, ESPRIT, click here

    •  Lire Poe dans L'Obscurité, ESPRIT, March 2018.  Just as there is an existential "French Freud," there is an existential "French Poe."  This essay is a feminist reading of the "French Poe."

    Ecrire nos pensées sauvages  ESPRIT, March 2018.  This is a meditation on Levi-Strauss's work, La Pensée Sauvage.  It's about the presence of a kind of continuity in so many folk and modern cultures.

    Mea Res Agitur [An Open Letter to Freud]ESPRIT, January 2018. This is an essay responding to Freud's last book, Moses and Monotheism and to Joseph Yerushalmi's response to it, Judaism, Terminable and Interminable.  Like so many others, I suscribe to what Stanely Cavell has to say about Freud:  "Most philosophers in my tradition, I believe, relate to psychoanalysis, if at all, with suspicion, habitually asking whether psychoanalysis deserves the title of a science…. I am for myself convinced that the corpus of Freud’s writing, and a considerable amount of writing that depends upon it, has achieved an unsurpassed horizon of knowledge about the human mind. Accordingly I would not be satisfied with an answer that declares psychoanalysis not to be a science, if that answer denies that horizon of knowledge."

    •  Le Mauvais Lycée [a response to Donal Trump calling Haiti a "shithole"].  ESPRIT, January 2018.

    • "Tu ne sais pas lireESPRIT, March/April 2017:  An essay Euromagazine has called "a provocative parable of integration."  It might also be described as a manifesto that describes the subliminal and paradoxical nature of a cultural politics meant to paralyze those who do not have the means to purchase a seat at the table.  

    • "Wild Solidarity," in Untranslatability Goes Global edited by Jill Levine and Katie Jan (forthcoming from Routledge Press): an essay on the necessity to keep translating and collaborating, not merely despite but because of the very limitations of language and human relationships.

    "Ekphrasis and Collaboration in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Joe Wright's" (with Val Vinokur) in Tolstoy Studies Journal (Special Issue): Anna Karenina for the Twenty First Century, edited by Ani Kokobobo and Emma Lieber (2016): an essay on how Anna Karenina functions as a negative bildungsroman, a failed search for vocation and self-actualization, and how Anna's performance of an impossible love story, a tragic tableau vivant, becomes the outsider art project of a 19th century housewife. 

    • "Tasks Without Solutions:  Why Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams Matters to Translation Culture," Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Number 45 (November 2014).  This piece can be inscribed in what Daniel Boyarin has referred to as Cultural Studies in Freud, a movement that reclaims the insights in Freud's work without relying on its data or conclusions.  

    • "Dark Horse Poetics:  Lévi-Strauss, Benitez-Rojo, and Caribbean Epistemology, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Volume 18, Number 43 (March 2014). Lévi-Strauss is famous for saying that the figure of Don Quixote is the key to his work. This essay reads the work of Lévi-Strauss and the works he has inspired as a kind of heroic poetics that values "the culture of the weak," that champions the underdog. 

    •  “Négritude as Dark Play,” This is the essay Rose Réjouis wrote for the catalogue for the art exhibit, “Négritude,” at Exit Art (New York, May 20-July 25, 2009), for which she was a guest curator. This New York Times review of the show offers a great description of her contribution to it.

    • “Object Lessons:  Metaphors of Literary Agency in Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Task of the Translator’ and Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnifique,”  French Literature Series, 2009.  An essay on cultural agency in the work of Walter Benjamina and Patrick Chamoiseau.

    • “Sharp Minds, Raw Hearts,” preface to Love, Anger, Madness by Marie Vieux-Chauvet, translated by Réjouis/Vinokur (New York: Modern Library, 2009).  An essay on Marie Vieux-Chauvet's integrity and intellectual rigor.

    • Interview with Patrick Chamoiseau [in French]: « Une lectrice dans la salle; entretien avec Patrick Chamoiseau  ».  See the English version in Calalloo.


    •  Veillées pour les mots [Wakes for Words] : Aimé Césaire, Patrick Chamoiseau et Maryse Condé (Paris: Karthala, 2005). A study of the motif of the funerary wake in the Caribbean novel, tracing an evolution from the figure of the martyr, in works from the colonial period, to that of the storyteller-writer, who adopts the mode of mourning for the passing of a traditional society in order to address forms of neo-colonialism. Featured in Radio-France/France Culture’s dossier, “Hommage à Aimé Césaire,” June 2008.


    • Love, Anger, Madness (with Val Vinokur), three novellas by Marie Vieux-Chauvet (New York: Modern Library, August 2009). Project supported by a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

    •  Texaco (with Val Vinokur), novel by Patrick Chamoiseau (New York: Pantheon Books, 1997), (London: Granta, 1998), (New York: Vintage Books, 1998). Reviewed by John Updike (New Yorker), Leonard Michaels (cover of The New York Times Book Review), Derek Walcott (NYRB), Caryl Phillips (New Republic); reviews in NYT, LA Times, TLS, London Review, Chicago Tribune, etc.

    •  Solibo Magnificent, (with Val Vinokur), novel by Patrick Chamoiseau (New York: Pantheon Books, 1997), (New York: Anchor Books, 1999), (London: Granta, 2000). Reviewed by Richard Bernstein (NYT), Caryl Phillips (NYTBR), Salon, African American Review, etc.



    Performances And Appearances:


    "Touching the Distance,"  A conversation with Rose Réjouis and Val Vinokur on Translating Chamoiseau and others.  As part of the Literary Translation series organized by Susan Bernofsky.  Columbia University, April 2018.  

    • Guest on discussion panel:  The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire, La Maison Française, Columbia University, November 2017.  Organizer:  Brent Hayes Edward.   

    • "Freud's Cracked Mirror."  An essay framed by Leonard Baskin's quote: "Our human frame, our gutted mansion, our enveloping sack of beef and ash is yet a glory.  I hold the cracked mirror up to man."  Association for Jewish Studies, 2016. 

    • “Dark and Dangerous Fiction: A discussion between Rose Réjouis and Edwidge Danticat."  Introduction by Tiphanie Yanique. Organized by Miriam Ticktin and the Gender Studies Program at The New School (February 2014).

    • “Translating the Savage: Léry and Lévi-Strauss,” La Maison Française, New York University (Spring 2013).  Organized by Emmanuelle Ertel.

    • “Freud’s Moses and Césaire’s Toussaint Louverture” UC Davis (February 2012).

    • “Celebrating Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s Reading of her own Work,”  keynote address at Florida Atlantic University conference: Haiti and the Americas (October 2010).  Organized by Raphael Dalleo.

    • “Staging Sacrifice: Reading Marie Vieux-Chauvet Again,” Yale University (spring 2010).  Organized by Chris Miller.  


    Research Interests:

    Hermeneutics, the cultural politics of affects, gender, race, and class; the modern novel; the literature of the African diaspora; childhood narratives; translation and cultural transmission; intellectual history.

    Awards And Honors:

    American Translation Association Lewis Galantière Prize for Best Book.

    Princeton University Fellowship.

    Amherst College Fellowship.

    The Amherst College Frederick King Turgeon Prize:  For a senior who has done particularly distinguished work in French.