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 Marina van Zuylen

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Marina van Zuylen is the Clemente Chair in the Humanities and Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Bard College. She has published five monographs: Difficulty as an Aesthetic Principle (Gunter Narr, 1993), Monomania (Cornell UP, 2005), The Plenitude of Distraction (MIT & Sequence Press, 2017), Mademoiselle Bistouri Di Baudelaire O Dell’Insensatezza (Solfanelli, 2022), and Éloge des vertus minuscules (Flammarion, 2023). Additional editions of her work are available or forthcoming in Spanish, Korean, and Arabic. Prof. van Zuylen’s work grapples with a core identity of productivity in liberal economic modernity, exploring the tensions of difficulty as an aesthetic, monomania, and meritocracy, while praising modes one might align with receptivity: distraction, sympathetic imagination, artisanal arts, non-linear thinking, and the virtues of characters who are not the hero. A leader in Public Humanities, Prof. van Zuylen also has long served as the National Academic Director of a free college course for underserved adults, the Clemente Course. She is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal.


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