Marianne Bessy, a native of France educated in Brittany, Ireland, and Louisiana came to the department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Furman University in 2008. Her research interests include contemporary literatures in French, self-translation, literary bilingualism, exile narratives, and the literary productions of the Haitian diaspora. Her book Vassilis Alexakis: Exorciser l’exil (Rodopi, 2011) is the only book-length critical study dedicated to the works of this award-wining contemporary author. Dr. Bessy currently works on several projects focusing on the literary and filmic depiction of migration in the Francophone world. Her research interests are complemented by diverse teaching endeavors: French language and literatures in French; First Year Seminars about French politics, Haitian-American literature, and the image of French women in American self-help books; or exciting study away adventures. Dr. Bessy co-directed Furman’s program in Versailles with Dr. Harlan Patton in 2010 and 2012 as well as the “Working Toward a Sustainable New Orleans” study away May Experience course with Dr. Diane Boyd in 2011.

Name Title Description


Intermediate French I

Continuation of the development of proficiency in listening and speaking, while expanding the reading and writing skills using materials of a literary or cultural nature.


Intro to French Readings

Builds upon and further enhances the basics developed through the first intermediate course. Reading numerous short works of fiction and nonfiction and through discussions and short written assignments in French, expanding the critical listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary and cultural skills necessary for further study.


French Conversation

Intense oral practice focusing on practical daily use as well as discourse on Francophone cultures and events with an emphasis on current, everyday speech. A variety of sources are used to develop listening and communication skills; improve fluency in speaking French; build vocabulary; and familiarize students with appropriate linguistic register. An introduction to French phonetics is included.


French Language House

Media such as newspapers, magazines, film, and television helps focus regular discussions on current topics of concern to French society. Student journals are presented in both oral and written form. French is used for all discussions and written work.


French Language House

Media such as newspapers, magazines, film, and television help focus regular discussions on current topics of concern to French society. Student journals are presented in both oral and written form. French is used for all discussions and written work.


French Lit & Civilization III

An interdisciplinary introduction to French civilization, literature and fine arts of the 19th and 20th centuries, including authors of the Francophone world.


Lit in Frn: Wrtng Across Wrlds

Exploration of contemporary literary productions (from late 20th century to today) in French of non-French authors. Special focus on the literary representation of experiences of migration and exile.


Haitian Women

Seminar introducing students to contemporary Haitian female authors, such as Edwidge Danticat and Marie-Hilhne Laforest, who write in English about migratory experiences to the United States and Canada. Discuss themes of home, exile, transnational identity, language, tradition, and the female body. Develop a broad and involved knowledge of Haitian migratory experiences. Student analysis of the authors and their experiences will culminate with a final project consisting of interviewing Haitian women in Greenville.


French Women in American Cltr

We will investigate the current fascination with representations of French women in American self-help literature. Is it true that French women Don't Get Fat" and "Don't Sleep Alone"? Why should we want to know "How French Women Do It" or how to find our "Inner French Girl"?"

To foster academic development, students need guidance and encouragement from a professor who supports them with clear, yet challenging, goals. Defined expectations help reduce anxiety, facilitate learning, and contribute to building a vibrant community of scholars catering to all those involved in the learning process. I also rely on the creative energy that enthusiasm can bring to the classroom. My first goal, whether the class sets out to learn a complex grammatical structure or interpret a literary text, is to encourage student enthusiasm for the activity. I find that hands-on projects such as staging mock French presidential elections, creating a documentary on the Greenville Haitian community, or composing poetry in French rather than simply studying literary material from the textbook bring the most excitement to the classroom. This invaluable enthusiastic momentum enhances motivation, triggers the desire to learn, and pushes us to apply newly acquired knowledge in practical and meaningful ways.

Books and Journals:

  • Nouvelles études francophones: Littérature de la migrance 27.1 (Spring 2012), special issue co-edited with Catherine Khordoc
  • Vassilis Alexakis: Exorciser l’exil. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011, author.

Book Chapters

  • “Introduction: Plaidoyer pour l’analyse des pratiques scripturales de la migrance dans les littératures contemporaines en français.” Nouvelles études francophones: Littérature de la migrance 27.1 (Spring 2012): 1-18, co-author with Catherine Khordoc
  • “Exil et écriture chez Vassilis Alexakis: la mise en scène du moi.” Le Culte du Moi dans la littérature francophone. Ed. Mokhtar Atallah. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012. 273-86.

Journal Articles, Book Reviews, and Encyclopedia Entries

  • “PORRA, VÉRONIQUE. Langue française, langue d’adoption. Une littérature “invitée” entre création, stratégies et contraintes (1946-2000).” The French Review: Journal of the American Association of Teachers of French 86.6 (May 2013): 1270-71 (book review)
  • “Geographical Dilemma and Literary Creation: Vassilis Alexakis’ Paris.” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies/SITES 17.2 (March 2013): 227-35
  • “Vassilis Alexakis.” The Literary Encyclopedia. 6 January 2013 (encyclopedia entry)
  • Furman eBook Project Contributor. Te(a)chnology: Teaching with Technology at Furman. Eds. Jane Love, Mike Winiski, Diane Boyd, and Jean Schwab. Furman University (2012): 3-4
  • “Subversive autotraduction: mise en évidence du décalage entre le discours critique et les pratiques scripturales des auteurs bilingues contemporains.” Intercâmbio 4 (2011), Instituto de Estudos Franceses Da Universidade Do Porto, Portugal: 38-58.
  • “Spatial Metaphors and Identity in Pham Van Ky’s Frères de Sang.” The French Review: Journal of the American Association of Teachers of French 82. 4 (March 2009): 762-72
  • “Vassilis Alexakis: bilinguisme littéraire et autotraduction. Parcours linguistique et itinéraire identitaire.” Essays in French Literature and Culture 45 (November 2008): 69-88
  • “‘Beannacht libh, cried Miss Ivors’ Translating James Joyce: Culture-Specific Items in Translation.” Société des études supérieures du département d’études françaises de l’Université de Toronto (2008).
  • “Créolité et narration: refonte identitaire en action.” Chimères 29 (Spring 2006): 27-37.
Louisiana State University
University of Limerick (Ireland)
Université Rennes 2 - Haute Bretagne (France)
Université Rennes 2 - Haute Bretagne (France)

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