The Daily e-mailed faculty a short questionnaire that strayed beyond their work at Stanford. Here is a glimpse into the personalities behind your professors.
Hometown: Cambridge, England. But I’ve lost the accent, apparently.
Undergrad alma mater and major: French and German, Cambridge.
Grad school and degree: Comparative Literature, Princeton.
Hobbies: football (which for some reason in these parts is pronounced “soccer”).
#1 on your playlist: looks like a three-way tie right now between “Bad Romance,” “Dance Music” (The Mountain Goats) and “Comfortably Numb.”
Currently reading: Joseph O’Neill, “Netherland.”
Favorite book: There’s only one contender here: Marcel Proust, “In Search of Lost Time.”
You wouldn’t mind being a character in: a Sherlock Holmes film (preferably the Robert Downey, Jr. version).
If you could live in any time period, it would be: 1850s France, except with indoor plumbing and penicillin.
You have never: given up hope that Liverpool will win their 19th league title.
If you hadn’t gone into academia, you’d be: doomed.
Department: French & Italian.
Classes taught: In addition to my Fall IHUM (“The Art of Living”), I regularly teach “Philosophy and Literature” (winter) and, periodically, a class called “Getting Through Proust.”
Primary research interest/project: My work is mostly about the value of literature for life. Some literature is, of course, mere entertainment, but some of it allows us to become better at specific mental activities, some of it helps us to discover who we are and some of it fills us with a sense of what it would be to live a beautiful life.