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Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics / Programs / French / People / Faculty / Cloonan, William

Cloonan, William

 The Richard Chapple Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics



(Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) specializes in 17th-Century French theater and in the 20th-Century European novel, primarily French and German.  In his most recent book, entitled

The Writing of War: French and German Fiction about World War II (University Press of Florida, 1999), Dr Cloonan examines the Holocaust and its effects on post-war literature, especially on the works of  Junger, Mann, Camus, Sartre, Duras, Wolf, Simon and Grass.  He has also worked extensively on Michel Tournier (Michel Tournier, Twayne, 1985) and on Racine (Racine's Theater: The Politics of Love, U of Mississippi Romance Monograph Series, 1978). Dr. Cloonan has recently begun research for a book tentatively titled, Paris in Americans, Americans in Paris: Franco-American Culture Wars. His translation of Olivier Rolin’s novel, Tigre en papier, will be published in the Spring of 2007 by the University of Nebraska Press.


Professor Cloonan writes an annual essay on trends in contemporary French fiction forThe French Review, where he also serves as an assistant editor for twentieth and twenty-first century literature. This former project has brought him into contact with prominent French novelists and journalists, some of whom have come to the FSU campus to participate in literary events sponsored by the Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies. Among these writers are Daniel Pennac, Christine Ferrand, Pierre Michon, Christian Garcin, Olivier Rolin, and Tonino Benacquista.

Professor Cloonan has a strong interest in painting, and incorporates examples from the visual arts in all of his courses. He has also published in the area of visual aesthetics with essays on Braque, Maillol and most recently in Studies in Early Modern France, an article on Michelangelo and Delacroix entitled “La Barque de Dante : Michelangelo, Delacroix and the Anxiety of Influence” (2005).

Dr. Cloonan is the retired Chair of the Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics, and was the Coordinator of the French Division from 1996 until taking on his chairmonship. He has won numerous awards including the University Teaching Award (in 1992, 1995 and 1993), the TIP (1996, 1998) and PEP (1998). He was named the Teacher of the month in February 1996.


In 2000, Dr. Cloonan was named the Richard Chapple Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics. Richard Chapple was a professor of Slavic languages in the department for 26 years (1971-1997), who served as Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies from 1977 to 1991 and as Chair from 1991 to 1993. In addition to his outstanding service to the department, Professor Chapple was an accomplished Dostoevsky scholar. In 2007 Dr. Cloonan published an English translation of Olivier Rolin's novel,Tigre en papier. He is currently working on a translation of Rolin's Méroé.


Courses previously taught at FSU:
  • FOW 4540. Franco-American Culture Wars
  • FRT Masterworks of French Literature in Translation
  • FRW 4433. 17th and 18th-Century Literature
  • FRW 4480. 20th-Century Literature
  • FRW 5587. Studies in 17th-Century Literature
  • FRW 5588. Studies in 18th-Century Literature
  • FRW 5599. Studies in 20th-Century Post-War (1944 to the present) Literature.