College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

John T. Booker

Department of French and Italian
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2075
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594


Professor Booker’s teaching and research focus on the French novel of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and more broadly on the evolution of narrative forms, particularly first-person narration (novel, autofiction, and autobiography), from the nineteenth century to the present, including the current renewal of interest in more traditional and popular forms of storytelling. He teaches graduate courses on the French novel from La Princesse de Clèves to the twentieth century; the nineteenth-century French novel; the Romantic period; first-person novel and narration; and narrative explorations, from Balzac to the New Novel. He has directed dissertations on Stendhal, Dumas, Gide, Colette and Beauvoir, Mauriac, Annie Ernaux, and the New Novel, as well as on topics based on novels such as La Princesse de Clèves, Les Egarements du cœur et de l’esprit, Eugénie Grandet, Le Lys dans la vallée, Le Docteur Pascal, and Journal d’un curé de campagne. He is currently directing a dissertation on Marceline Desbordes-Valmore.

Professor Booker has been recognized for excellence in teaching both within the department—the Jessie Marie Senor Cramer and Ann Cramer Root Award for meritorious teaching and/or research, the Center for Teaching Excellence award at the Graduate level—and University-wide: twice named an Outstanding Educator by the Mortar Board Society, he has also received the Burlington Northern Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching and a W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Excellent Teaching.

Professor Booker co-edited, with Professor Allan Pasco, The Play of Terror in Nineteenth-Century France (U of Delaware Press, 1996), a collection of work originally presented in the form of papers at the Nineteenth Century French Conference held at the University of Kansas. He has published articles on Constant, Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert, Gide, and Mauriac, and has contributed to the MLA Approaches to Teaching volumes on Balzac’s Old Goriot and George Sand’s Indiana. In recent years he has presented papers at national conferences on George Sand, Colette, Simone de Beauvoir, Annie Ernaux, and Camille Laurens.

Over the course of his career, Professor Booker has served at various times as vice-president and president of the Kansas chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French, as reader and consultant for the Advanced Placement Test in French, and as adviser to the University of Kansas chapter of Pi Delta Phi (French National Honors Society.


Recent Graduate Courses Taught

Nineteenth-Century French Novel

Survey of the French Novel (from La Princesse de Clèves forward)

French Romanticism

Narrative Explorations (from Balzac through the New Novel, and a sampling of contemporary autobiographical and/or autofictional texts)

Recent Undergraduate Courses Taught

Third-semester Honors

Introduction to French Literature

Nineteenth-Century French Literature

Selected Publications

Professor Booker co-edited, with Professor Allan Pasco, The Play of Terror in Nineteenth-Century France, a collection of work originally presented in the form of papers at the Nineteenth Century French Conference held at the University of Kansas.

“A Thematic Approach: Seeing to Learn, Learning to See: Rastignac’s Visual Education.” Approaches to Teaching Balzac’s Old Goriot. Ed. Michal Peled Ginsburg. New York: MLA, 2000. 134-41.

Indiana and Madame Bovary: Intertextual Echoes.” Nineteenth Century French Studies 31.3-4 (2003): 226-36.

“The Melodramatic World of Indiana” (in the forthcoming MLA volume on Approaches to Teaching Sand’s Indiana)



Our Statement on Diversity in support of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk and the University of Kansas Black Student Union’s efforts to combat racism.
The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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