Michele Longino

Michele Longino

Professor of Romance Studies

External address: 
111 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708-0257
Internal office address: 
Box 90257, Dept. of Romance Studies, Durham, NC 27708-0257
(919) 660-3121
Office Hours: 
By appointment. Generally available 2:40-4:40 p.m. T, Th


Professor of French & Italian Studies, received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and taught at Rice University before coming to Duke in 1989.  She is an early modern specialist on the French Classical age, 1650-1700. Her interests in the epistolary genre and in women's writing led to the publication of Performing Motherhood: The Sévigné Correspondence (UP of New England, 1991).  She has also published articles on the writings of other seventeenth-century authors, including Mme d'Aulnoy, Marie de Gournay, Poullain de la Barre, Mme de Lafayette, Corneille, Boileau, Molière, and Racine.  Her research interests include travel writing, classical theater, questions of genre, and seventeenth-century French literature in a cultural studies context.  Her second book, Orientalism in French Classical Drama (Cambridge UP, 2002) was awarded "honorable mention" for the MLA Scaglione Prize.  Her recent research focuses on Mediterranean travel accounts from the classical period, and has resulted in her new book, “French Travel Writing and the Ottoman Empire: Marseilles to Constantinople, 1650-1700,” Routledge Press, 2015.   In connection with this project, she has published articles on Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Jean Thévenot, Guillaume-Joseph Grelot, Jean Chardin, and Antoine Galland. Her teaching interests cover a broader range, including but not limited to The French Love Story, The Reader, Yesterday’s Classics / Today’s Films, and seminars on the comedies of Molière and the tragedies of Racine, the Staging of Exoticism in Seventeenth-century France, the Classical Age and the Law of Genre, Seventeenth-century French Mediterranean Travel Writing.

French Travel Writing in the Ottoman Empire

Marseilles to Constantinople, 1650-1700

By Michele Longino

Routledge – 2015 – 180 pages

Series: Routledge Research in Travel Writing

        Examining the history of the French experience of the Ottoman world and Turkey, this comparative study visits the accounts of early modern travelers for the insights they bring to the field of travel writing. The journals of contemporaries Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Jean Thévenot, Laurent D’Arvieux, Guillaume-Joseph Grelot, Jean Chardin, and Antoine Galland reveal a rich corpus of political, social, and cultural elements relating to the Ottoman Empire at the time, enabling an appreciation of the diverse shapes that travel narratives can take at a distinct historical juncture. Longino examines how these writers construct themselves as authors, characters, and individuals in keeping with the central human project of individuation in the early modern era, also marking the differences that define each of these travelers – the shopper, the envoy, the voyeur, the arriviste, the ethnographer, the merchant. She shows how these narratives complicate and alter political and cultural paradigms in the fields of Mediterranean studies, 17th-century French studies, and cultural studies, arguing for their importance in the canon of early modern narrative forms, and specifically travel writing. The first study to examine these travel journals and writers together, this book will be of interest to a range of scholars covering travel writing, French literature, and history.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 1984

Longino, M. Orientalism in French Classical Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Longino, M. Performing Motherhood: The Sevigne Corespondence. University Press of New England, 1991.

Matar, N. "Britain and Barbary, 1589-1689 by Nabil Matar." South Central Review 24.2 (2007): 107-109.

Longino, M. "The Reinvention of Obscenity: Sex, Lies and Tabloids in Early Modern France." The French Review 77.6 (May 2004): 1258-1259.


Longino, ML. "Le Moment de la Séparation." Mandez-moi des bagatelles. Première année de correspondance entre Mme de Sévigné et Mme de Grignan. Ed. C Lignereux. Classiques Garnier, 2012.

Longino, M. "Le "Mamamouchi" ou la colonisation de l’imaginaire français par le monde ottoman." Théâtre et voyage. Presses universitaires de Paris - Sorbonne, 2011. 71-83.

Longino, M. "Derrière le présentisme" du regard lointain." La Littérature, le XVIIe siècle et nous: Dialogue Transatlantique. Ed. H Merlin-Kajman. Paris Sorbonne nouvelle, 2008. 85-90.

Longino, M. "Racine, Corneille, La Fontaine (co-written with Guy Barthèlemey), Moliere." Dictionnaire biographique des orientalistes de langue française. Ed. L Valensi and F Pouillon. Paris: Editions Karthala, 2008.

Longino, M. "Antoine Galland: Voyageur et passeur." Récits d’orient dans les littératures d’Europe. Ed. ADEE Picherot. Presses universitaires de Paris - Sorbonne IV, 2008. 341-347.

Longino, M. "Jean Chardin, Traveler: Freedom in the Margins." Marginalités classiques; Mélanges en l’honneur de Madeleine Alcover. Ed. P Harry, A Mothu, and P Sellier. Paris: Honoré Champion, 2006.

Longino, M. "Creüse: Corneille’s Material Girl." La femme au dix-septième siècle. Actes du colloque de Vancouver (University of British Columbia), 2002. 115-123.

Longino, M. "Constantinople: The telling and the taking." Esprit Createur 53.4 (December 1, 2013): 124-138. Full Text

Longino, ML. "Le Voyageur, les Eunuques, et le Serrail : L’Oculaire par Procuration." Littératures classiques (January 2013). (Academic Article)

Longino, ML. "Portrait de Jean Thévenot: voyageur et savant." Ed. S Requemora-Gros. Mélanges à l’honneur de Pierre Ronzeaud (2013): 6-6. (Academic Article)

Longino, M. "Jean Thévenot, le Levant et le récit de voyage." Ed. L Norman. 17e Siècle 258 (2013): 55-64.

Longino, M. "Jean Thevenot, the East and the travel story." DIX-SEPTIEME SIECLE 258 (2013): 55-64.

Longino, M. "Jean Thévenot, le Levant et le récit de voyage." Dix Septième Siècle 258.1 (2013): 55-55. Full Text

Longino, M. "L’Apprentissage épistolaire de Madame de Sévigné." Œuvres et critiques XXXV (2010): 29-49. (Academic Article)

Longino, M. "Jean Thévenot: ethnographe des îles du Levant." Actes du CIR 17 : “L’Ile au XVIIe siècle: réalités et imaginaire.” (April 2009): 59-68. (Academic Article)

Goldsmith, EC, and Winn, CH. "Lettres de femmes: Textes inedits et oublies du XVIe au XVIIIe siecle." The French Review 80 (March 2007). (Review)