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  • Faculty

  • Rose Rejouis

    Associate Professor of Literature


    Office Location
    B - Eugene Lang College Building - 65 West 11th Street

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    Rose Rejouis



    Rose Désir Réjouis writes about cultural politics, literature, humor and theory -- anthropology, Jewish thought, psychoanalysis, class and race, sociology. 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 offer insights into the fruitful tensions between idiomatic and idiosyncratic uses of language. 

    Good writers are good readers. As a teacher, she encourages her 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 of my work:

    • Cover of The New York Times Book Review essay by Leonard Michaels of the translation with of Patrick Chamoiseau's novel, Texaco.

     The New Yorker review by John Updike of the translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's novel, Texaco. 

    •  The New York Times review by Holland Cotter of "Négritude," an art exhibit I curated at Exit art.  In this experimental multi-media and multi-disciplinary show  (supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Council for the Humanities), I presented the work of Vladimir Cybil Charlier and Wura-Natasha Ogunji, as evidence of the history of "dark play" embodied in Aimé Césaire's practice of Négritude.

    •  The Guardian's Homage ("On How Fiction can make it new" by Garth Risk Hallberg) to the translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's novel, Texaco.

    •  New York Times Review article by Richard Bernstein on the translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's novel, Solibo Magnificent.

    •  The New York Book Times review by Caryl Phillips of the translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's Solibo Magnificent

    •  New York Review of Books review by Derek Walcott of the translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco

    •  The New Republic review by Caryl Philips of the translation of Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco.

    Degrees Held


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

    B.A., Amherst College, French and English.



    Ecole Normale Supérieure (research sabbatical semester as externe while doing PhD at Princeton)

    Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Etudiante Etrangère - one semester, while a B.A. student at Amherst)

    Institut d’Etudes de Sciences Politiques (Etudiante Etrangère - one semester, while a B.A. student at Amherst)

    Professional Affiliation

    Modern Literary Association


    Recent Publications


    •  Essays in N+1:  "Circle of Visibility," "In Thrall," (2021), "Hidden Fortress," Ogresse" (2019),  "You can't read,"  "Letter to Freud," (2018)

    •"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.

    • "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,” an essay for the catalogue of the art exhibit, “Négritude,” I curated at Exit Art (New York, May 20-July 25, 2009).

    • “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.



    I also write regularly for the French journal, Esprit.  Here is a list of my most recent essays in French.

    •. 'Black Face et Encre Invisibile," Février 2020. 

    • La Forteresse Cachée, ESPRIT, June 2018

    •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  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.  


    •  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 , three novellas by Marie Vieux-Chauvet (New York: Modern Library, August 2009). 

    •  Texaco , 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, 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 on Translating Chamoiseau.  As part of the Literary Translation series organized by Susan Bernofsky.  Columbia University, April 2018.  

    • Guest on discussion panel for a discussion of 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 particularlary distinguished work in French)


    Current Courses

    Childhood Narrative

    Create/Destroy a Book

    Immigrant Narratives

    Immigrant Narratives (Spring 2021)

    Ind Senior Project

    Ind Senior Project (Spring 2021)

    Independent Study

    Independent Study (Spring 2021)

    Lorraine Hansberry

    New Women, New Myths

    New Women, New Myths (Spring 2021)

    The Souls of Black Women

    The Souls of Black Women (Spring 2021)

    Theater of Cruelty

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