Nicole Ferrari

Ph.D. Candidate, French and Francophone Studies


I have studied French and Italian literature at the University of Delaware and Duke UniversityI have long been fascinated by the literary and political exchanges among French and Italian writers in the aftermath of the French revolution, particularly the Romantic era. As the 19th century gave rise to new republics in France, themes of natural law and justice were hotly debated and increasingly dramatized in literary works. I would like to investigate the exchanges between France and Italy during this period. In seeking to extend the Enlightenment notion of universal equality to the lower classes, authors like Victor Hugo were among the first to believe in a democracy where the poor had agency. He used the historical novel in his project to dramatize a new vision of the populace. According to Hannah Arendt in On Revolution, our modern concept of revolution is bound up with the notion that history begins anew, that an entirely new story is about to unfold. I would like to research what new vision of justice emerged from Hugo’s writings and how it mold rights in France’s republics.