Helen Solterer

Helen Solterer

Professor of Romance Studies

External address: 
217B Language Center, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708-0257
(919) 660-3118
Office Hours: 
Wednesdays, 5-6 pm.& by appt.

My research and teaching focus on pre-modern literature and culture in French and their interplay with contemporary thought; twentieth-century French cultural history; writing through gender.

Published works include:  Un Moyen Âge républicain: les paradoxes du théâtre en temps de guerre (Presses Paris-Sorbonne, 2014) Medieval Roles for Modern Times (Penn State 2010); The Master and Minerva (California 1995); European Medieval Studies Under Fire, 1919-1945, an edited collection (JMEMS, Duke. 1995).  Current book in progress: Timely Fictions on the historical action of the earliest literary and graphic arts in French

Students interested in researching all forms of fiction in French in historical depth are particularly welcome. 


  • Ph.D., University of Toronto (Canada) 1986

Solterer, H. “La Belle Dame sans Merci.” In Medieval Women: An Encyclopedia, edited by Katharina M. Wilson and Nadia Margolis, 80–84. New York: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Solterer, H. “The Freedoms of Fiction for Gender in Premodern France.” In Gender in Debate from the Early Middle Ages to the Renaissance, edited by Thelma S. Fenster and Clare A. Lees, 135–63. New York: Palgrave Press, 2002.

Solterer, H. “Performer le passé.” In Paul Zumthor Ou l’invention Permanente. Critique, Histoire, Poésie, edited by Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet and Christopher Lucken, 117–59. Droz, 1998.

authored, Christopher co-, E Jane Burns, Sarah Kay, and Roberta L. Krueger. “Feminism and the Discipline of Old French Studies: "Une Bele Disjointure".” In Medievalism in a Modernist Temper, edited by R Howard Bloch and Stephen G. Nichols, 225–66. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

Solterer, H. M. “"Amériques prémodernes ? Départ pour le grand Nord”.” In Poétiques de Paul Zumthor, edited by H. M. éds. Jean-René Valette,  Idelette Muzart-Fonseca dos Santos. Paris: Garnier, n.d.


SOLTERER, H. “Figures for Female Militancy in Medieval France.” Signs 16, no. 2 (1991): 522–49. https://doi.org/10.1086/494682. Full Text

SOLTERER, H. “Letter-Writing & Picture Reading: Medieval Textuality and the "Bestiaire d'amour".” Word & Image 5, no. 1 (1989): 131–47.