Christopher Davis Assistant Professor of French

Christopher Davis holds a BA in Classics from McGill University and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on medieval French, Occitan and Classical literatures, particularly lyric poetry, medieval theories of poetry and language, medieval textual culture and the circulation of medieval Francophone literature in a Mediterranean context. His current book project, Poetry and Power: Literary Language in the High Middle Ages examines the competition between French and Occitan as languages of vernacular literary authority during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. This project argues for the importance of vernaculars lyric anthologies in conceptualizing new models of literary and linguistic authority distinct from Latin. It also contends that anthologies in French and Occitan serve not only as literary and linguistic exemplars, but as cultural handbooks, which stage debates about the changing political and cultural roles of the vernacular as a literary language. Poetry and Power thus situates the competition for prestige among languages and genres within historical and political frameworks, including the expansion of medieval empires and trade routes throughout the Mediterranean, the emergence of national languages and the increasingly broad circulation of vernacular literary texts. Before coming to Northwestern, he was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Classics at Kalamazoo College, the ACLS/Mellon New Faculty Fellow in French and Comparative Literature at U-C, Berkeley and a Visiting Lecturer in French and Italian at Princeton, where he taught courses on medieval travel narratives, Arthurian romance and troubadour lyric, among many others.