Pauline Goul

Professor Pauline Goul

Pauline Goul


Email: Pauline Goul

Pauline Goul specializes in early modern literature and environmental criticism. She is currently working on her first book, An Ecology of Waste, examining the emergence of early forms of anxiety in the human relationships to the environment in the French Renaissance. She explores the notion of waste as crucial to the construction of a notion of ecology in the early modern period. Bridging Renaissance France and modern ecological thought both in the Francophone world and in Anglophone productions, her work has been published in the Forum for Modern Languages Studies and in volumes like Global Garbage and French Ecocriticism. Last year, she published a volume entitled Early Modern Écologies, with Phillip John Usher (NYU), on the theoretical intersections between early modern French literature and ecocriticism. 

She received her PhD in Romance Studies from Cornell University, where she was awarded the Dean’s Prize for Distinguished Teaching. She also holds a Maîtrise and double BA from the Université Paris 4-la Sorbonne in English Literature and Lettres Modernes. Before coming to GW, she taught at Vassar College for two years.


By appointment. Email instructor to schedule an appointment

Co-edited Volume:

  • Early Modern Écologies, co-edited with Phillip John Usher, University of Amsterdam Press, series “Environmental Humanities in Pre-Modern Cultures”, March 2020. 

Journal Articles:

  •  “Le branle de Montaigne : mouvance et environnement dans les Essais,” Lendemains: Etudes comparées sur la France, Vergleichende Frankreichstudien, forthcoming.
  • “The Pointless Ecology of Renaissance Cynicism”, The Comparatist, Fall 2020. 
  •  “‘Et voylà l’ouvrage gasté’: the Poetics of Plenitude and Scarcity in Rabelais’ Gaster”, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Oxford University Press, 2014.

Book Chapters

  • "1610 Wood/Cut: The Anthropocene, Uprooted", Critical Zones: the Sciences and Politics of Landing on Earth, ed. Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, MIT Press, October 2020. The book was named one of the best Art Books of 2020 by the New York Times. 
  • “Is Ecology Absurd? Diogenes and the End of Civilization,” chapter in volume Early Modern Écologies, March 2020. 
  • “An Ecology of Vanity: Expenditure in Montaigne’s Vision of the New World”, chapter in French Ecocriticism anthology, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, “Studies in Culture, Environment, and Literature” series, ed. D.A. Finch Race and Stephanie Posthumus, 2017.
  •  “Dirt Poor/Filthy Rich: Urban Garbage from Le Corbusier’s Radiant City to Abstention”, chapter in Global Garbage: Urban Imaginaries of Excess, Waste, and Abandonment, Routledge, “Sustainable Urbanism” series, ed. Christoph Lindner, 2016.

Book reviews

  • Natural History in Early Modern France: The Poetics of an Epistemic Genre, Ed. Raphaele Garrod and Paul J. Smith, Sixteenth Century Journal, Fall 2019. 
  • Stephanie Posthumus, French Ecocritique : Reading Contemporary French Theory and Fiction Ecologically, for H-France, May 2019.
  • Michael Wintroub, The Voyage of Thought (Cambridge UP, 2017), for the Journal of Modern History, 2019. Vol. 91, Number 2, June 2019.…, roman de crédit et crédit du roman”, Acta fabula,, 2013

Manuscript in Preparation

  • A Renaissance Ecology of Waste: Disorientation, Environment, and the New World (book-length manuscript in progress through 2022)