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Books | Manuscripts | Journal Articles and Reviews
Courses | Lectures and Seminars | Awards and Fellowships

   Francis-Noël Thomas


Image of Francis-Nol Thomasbyline

My work as a scholar centers on how particular ways of organizing concepts become commonplace. My areas of special knowledge are iconography—the diffusion of ideas through pictures—and the history of literary interpretation—the history of reading as a form of human thought.
Professor of Humanities
(Department Chair 1993-1997)
Harry S Truman College Distinguished Professor, 2000-2001
Truman College, City Colleges of Chicago
Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1974
A.M. University of Chicago, 1965
A.B. Canisius College, 1964

Awards and Fellowships

Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises, 1996 (Académie française)
NEH Fellowship for College Teachers and Independent Scholars, 1996
NEH Summer Seminar (Northwestern University), 1987
Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, 1964


Sole author:
The Writer Writing: Philosophic Acts in Literature. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993.



Table of Contents

Order online from Amazon Books
The Writer Writing cover

Clear and Simple cover Francis-Noël Thomas & Mark Turner:  
Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994.
Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises 1996 (Académie française).
The Princeton University Press Web Page for Clear and Simple
Website on Writing and Prose Style

Second [expanded] edition, Princeton University Press, 2011 [traditional print and digital formats]. Clear and Simple cover


Electronic Publications

Thinking About Writing (with Mark Turner)

Contributions to the Virginia Quarterly Review Online
      "Lives in Words" [Review of Mark Rudman, Sundays on the Phone]
      "Reading the Gospel of Judas in the Light of Early Christian Literature"
      "The Smart Set"
Contributtion to New England Review Digital
     "Line 89 to Cardinal Lemoine-Monge"

Contributions to Books

"Cultural Literacy: Concepts and Information,"

in Rhetoric and Pluralism: Legacies of Wayne Booth. Edited by Frederick J. Antczak. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1995. Pages 40-55.

"Barbara Pym"

in Post-War Literatures in English: A Lexicon of Contemporary Authors. Edited by Hans Bertens, Theo D'haen, Joris Duytschaever, and Richard Todd. Groningen, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1988. (16th supplement, September 1992). Pages 1-9, A-1, and B-1.

Journal Articles, Essays, Translations

"Patrick Modiano and the Mysteries of Paris, or, Making Ghosts Dance," New England Review 39.3 (2018).

New England Review is published by Middlebury College.

"Rogier van der Weyden and James Ensor: Line and Its Deformation," New England Review 35.1 (2014): 98-108.

"Julien Green: The End of a World," Humanities 33.4 (July/August 2012): 28-33.

Humanities is published by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"Tea," New England Review 33.1 (2012): 82-87.

Included among "Notable Essays of 2012" selected by Robert Atwan in The Best American Essays, 2013 (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2013).

"'Moving and Memorable': The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin," Humanities 33.1 (January/February 2012): 19-21 and 53.

Translation:  Dominique Aury, "Proust: Another Likeness," New England Review 32.1 (Winter 2011): 156-160.

"On the rue Saint-André-des-arts," New England Review 31.2 (Spring 2010): 78-94.

"In Search of Lost Novels," Pequod 51 (2009): 145-151.

"Paris at Street Level," New England Review 30.3 (Summer 2009): 152-158.

"Life in a Box," New England Review 29.3 (Summer 2008): 48-55.

Included among "Notable Essays of 2008" selected by Robert Atwan in The Best American Essays, 2009 (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2009).

"Liebling's War," Humanities 29.3 (May/June 2008): [17]-23.

"Last Looks: Reflections on the Face of Death," New England Review 28.2 (Spring 2007): 177-187.

"Piccolomini Among the Illustrious," Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 51/52 (2006/2007): [211]-223.

"Philip Larkin, Barbara Pym, and the Accident of Literary Fame," New England Review 27.2 (Spring 2006): 8-26.

Review Article: "Recent English Translations of La Princesse de Clèves, " EMF: Studies in Early Modern France. 8 (2002): 268-283.

"Une Moult Grande Signifiance: Providence and Madness in Froissart's Chroniques," EMF: Studies in Early Modern France. 2 (1996): 1-15.

EMF is sponsored by the Department of French, University of Virginia.


Ruth Bernard Yeazell, Art of the Everyday: Dutch Painting and the Realist Novel, Modern Philology, 108.2 (November 2010).

Daniel Karlin, Proust's English. Modern Philology 105:2 (November 2007): 406-409.

Modern Philology is published by The University of Chicago Press.

David G. Schultenover, A View from Rome: On the Eve of the Modernist Crisis. Modernism/Modernity 2.2 (April 1995): 99-101.

Modernism/Modernity is published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Lectures and Seminars

Émile Mâle Memorial Lectures in Christian Iconography (University of Chicago)
Case Western Reserve University
Northwestern University: The Writing Program
University of Chicago Law School
Claremont Graduate University: Conference: Exile: Medieval Topos/ Modern Reality
Julien Green: Engagement and Exile
University of Illinois, Chicago
Judicial Institute of Maryland
Loyola College in Maryland
University of Maryland
MMLA 1993 (French 1)
University of Minnesota (Center for the Advanced Study of Language, Style, and Literary Theory)
Northwestern University (NEH Seminar)
Truman College (Chicago Architecture Seminar)
Second International Word and Image Conference (Universität Zürich)
Third International Word and Image Conference (Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)

The Third International Word and Image Confererence is the subject of a review by Charlotte Schoell-Glass and Martin Heusser in Kunstchronik, 47 (October 1994): 641-652. My paper, "Image as Argument: Vermeer's Artist in his Studio," is discussed on page 651.

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