L. Scott Lerner has been on the faculty of Franklin & Marshall since 1995 and has served as Chair of the Department of French and Italian, the Program in Comparative Literary Studies, and the Program in Judaic Studies. Before coming to Franklin & Marshall, he served as a lecturer at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and taught briefly at the Université de Paris VII and Ministère des Affaires Etrangères in Paris. He also taught in the Literature Concentration, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Core Program at Harvard. At Franklin & Marshall he teaches courses in the Italian, French, Comparative Literature, Judaic Studies, and Connections programs. During the summer, he is frequently a resident faculty member of the F&M in Tuscany summer program.
He has been a Fellow of the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and of the Katz Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a Visiting Scholar at the Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies at Harvard. His scholarship has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Jewish Identities (Johns Hopkins University Press) and Michigan Studies in Comparative Jewish Cultures (University of Michigan Press). He has served as a referee or jury member for the NEH, the Fulbright Program, the Rome Prize, Stanford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, PMLA, Modern and Contemporary France, and Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture and Society.
His current book project, Italy Out of the Ghetto: A Catholic Nation in the Jewish Mirror, 1789-1910--supported by an NEH Fellowship (2020-21)--examines the sites of intersection between Christians and Jews—carnivals and festivals, novels and operas, political discourse, church façades and monumental synagogues—in order to argue that the Jewish ghettos served as a social mirror, helping pre-Enlightenment society to perceive its own Catholic order, and later reflecting the ways in which the Liberal nation reconceived its identity as a Catholic community. A subsequent book is also in progress, The Bishops and the Synagogue of Rome, 1986-2017. It reflects on the significance, in broad historical context, of the visits by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis to the synagogue built on the site of the former Jewish ghetto of Rome.
With Jonathan Druker, he recently co-edited volume 36 of Annali d’Italianistica (2018): The New Italy and the Jews: From Massimo d’Azeglio to Primo Levi. This interdisciplinary volume, with contributions on literature, history and music, bridges the gap between Italian Studies and modern Jewish Studies and features the work of 19 international scholars. He is also co-editor of Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries (University of Pennsylvania Press), editor of The Dreyfus Affair in the Making of Modern France, and the author of articles in journals in literature, critical theory, Jewish studies and history. His research interests also include Proust, and representations of loss and mourning in literature, film and psychoanalysis.
Ph.D. Comparative Literature (Harvard University)
Dissertation: “Proust and the Profanation of the Jewish Mother” (Director: Susan R. Suleiman)
A.M. Comparative Literature (Harvard University)
B.A. English magna cum laude, Distinction in the Major (Yale University)
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century French and Italian literature and culture; Jewish identity in French and Italian literature and culture; Proust; the Dreyfus Affair; theories of narrative; loss and mourning; intersections of psychoanalysis, critical theory, film and literature.
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2020-21 )
Woodrow Wilson Foundation, McIntosh Fellowship (2007-09)
Fellowship, Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Michigan (2007-08)
Fellowship, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture (2007-08)
Fellowship, Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania (2004)
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend (2001)
Book Projects and Edited Works
Italy Out of the Ghetto: A Catholic Nation in the Jewish Mirror, 1789-1910 (in progress).
The Bishops and the Synagogue of Rome, 1986-2017 (in progress).
The New Italy and the Jews: From Massimo d’Azeglio to Primo Levi. Annali d’Italianistica 36 (2018). 416 p. With Jonathan Druker.
Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries. With Sheila Jelen and Michael Kramer. Philadelphia, U. of Penn P. 2010.
The Dreyfus Affair in the Making of Modern France. L’Affaire Dreyfus et l’émergence de la France moderne. Woodbridge, CT and Reading, UK: Research Publications, Primary Source Media, 1997.
“Davide Ferrario’s Architecture of Cinema: Body, Building, Line.” Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies 7.2 (2019): 233-248.
“Les « fils » d’Esther: A la recherche du temps perdu comme micro-littérature.” MLN French Issue 133.4 (2018): 831-58.
"Why Angel's Fallen: The Narrating Architecture of Dopo mezzanotte." Italica 87.4 (2010): 646-671.
"Italian Subjectivity in the Era of Roma capitale (1870-2010): The Embrace of the Empty Sign." Annali d'italianistica 28 (2010): 137-152.
"Confinement and the Artist in Alain Spiess." Modern Language Studies 40.1 (2009) 96-102.
“Mourning and Subjectivity from Bersani to Proust, Klein and Freud.” Diacritics: A Review of Contemporary Criticism 37.1 (2007): 41-53.
“The Subversive Obedience of Proust and Freud.” Mfs - Modern Fiction Studies 51.2 (2005): 285-310.
“Jewish Identity and French Opera, Stage and Politics, 1831-1860.” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 30.2 (2004): 255-81.
“Against Ideological Determinism: Blum on Barrès.” Contemporary French Civilization 27.1 (2003): 37-70.
“Narrating Over the Ghetto of Rome.” Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture and Society 8.2/3 (2002): 1-38.
“L’Eglise Invisible” and “La Maison du Messie Charnel”: The Saintly and Prophetic Voices of Les Grands cimetières sous la lune,” French Forum 26. 2 (2001): 67-90.
“Beyond Grégoire: A Third Discourse on Jews and the French.” Modern Judaism 21.3 (2001): 199-215.
“The Narrating Architecture of Emancipation.” Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture and Society 6.3 (2000): 1-30.
“The Genesis of Jewish Swann.” Romanic Review 89.3 (1998): 345-65.
Book Chapters and Other Articles
“Past Imperfect: Mourning and the Work of Memory in Holocaust Memoirs." Shadows in the City of Light: Paris in Postwar French Jewish Writing. Ed. Sara R. Horowitz, Amira Bojadzija-Dan and Julia Creet. Albany: SUNY Press, 2021: 141-159.
"Introduction." With Jonathan Druker. The New Italy and the Jews: From Massimo d’Azeglio to Primo Levi. Annali d’Italianistica 36 (2018). 17-28.
"Massimo D'Azeglio and the New Italy in the Jewish Mirror." The New Italy and the Jews: From Massimo d’Azeglio to Primo Levi. Ed. Jonathan Druker and L. Scott Lerner. Annali d'italianistica 36 (2018). 29-54.
"Introduction: Intersections and Boundaries in Modern Jewish Literary Studies." With Sheila E. Jelen and Michael P. Kramer. Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries. Philadelphia: U. of Penn P., 2010. 1-23.
“Joseph Salvador's Jerusalem Lost and Jerusalem Regained.” Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries. Ed. Sheila Jelen, Michael P. Kramer, L. Scott Lerner. Philadelphia: U. of Penn P, 2010. 44-65.
“La Synagogue «parlante» de Zadoc Kahn.” Zadoc Kahn. Un grand rabbin entre culture juive, affaire Dreyfus et laïcité. Paris: Editions de l'Eclat, 2007. 103-114.
“Joseph Kessel, Belle de jour.” Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature. Ed. Gaëtan Brulotte and John Phillips. 2 vols. New York and London: Routledge, 2006. Vol. 1. 725-27.
“Albert Cohen.” Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature. Ed. Gaëtan Brulotte and John Phillips. 2 vols.New York and London: Routledge, 2006. Vol. 1. 257-61.
“Rallying Around Dreyfus and Daudet: Proust's Affair.” Intolérance et indignation. L'Affaire Dreyfus. Ed. Jean-Max Guieu. Paris: Fischbacher, 2000. 178-90.
“I Templi monumentali in quanto monumenti parlanti: rivendicazioni dell'epoca e interpretazioni posteriori.” Architettura e spazio sacro nella modernità. Ed. Paola Genaro. Milan: Biennale di Venezia, Abitare Segesta Cataloghi, 1992. 39-44.
"Primo Levi nel constesto dell'ebraismo italiano: lo specchio dello stato nazionale dal Risorgimento al fascismo." Il sistema periodico e Primo Levi. Accademia nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, 2019. Interview: https://youtu.be/z33TClOgMQI
"Clara Sereni's Game of Realms: A Jewish Family Saga from Liberal Italy to Communisim and Early Zionism." Symposium on the Work of Clara Sereni. The Graduate Center, CUNY, 2019.
"The New Italy in the Jewish Mirror: the Mysterious Case of Gentile Urbino." Plenary lecture. Symposium on The New Italy and the Jews. Seton Hall University, 2019.
“The New Italy on the Road to Jerusalem: Verdi and the santa libertà.” AAIS, Ohio State University, Columbus, 2017.
“The Work of Memory.” Symposium on Paris and Post-War Jewish Literary Memory. York University, Toronto, 2016
"Massimo D'Azeglio on Jewish and Italian Regeneration: A Reconsideration." American Association for Italian Studies Colloquium. University of Colorado. Boulder, 2015.
"From Bakhtin to Bonfil: Theory Meets History." Crossing Disciplines: Comparative Studies Colloquia in Interdisciplinarity." Ph.D. Program in Comparative Studies. Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, 2015.
"The Carnival, the Monk and the Ghetto." Department of Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature. Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, 2015.
"Theorizing the Italian Ghetto." Annual Convention of the Association for Jewish Studies. Boston, 2013.
"The Bishop and the Synagogue of Rome." Common Hour Lecture, Franklin & Marshall College, 2013.
"The Bishop and the Synagogue of Rome." American Association for Italian Studies Colloquium. University of Oregon. Eugene, 2013.
"The Narrating Architecture of Radical Hospitality." International Conference, "Rome's Modernity: Trauma, Fracture, Narration." University of Warwick and British School of Rome. Rome, 2012.
"The Narrating Architecture of the Catholic-Jewish Relation." American Association for Italian Studies Colloquium. College of Charleston. Charleston, 2012.
"Les fils d'Esther." Equipe Proust, Institut des textes et manuscrits modernes. Centre national de recherche scientifique and Ecole normale supérieure, Paris, 2011.
"Beyond the Ghetto: Reclaiming the Jewish Signifier." International Symposium: "Il Ghetto: Forging Italian Jewish Identities, 1516-1870." University of California, Santa Cruz, 2009.
"Jewish Space in the City and the Civil War of Italian Unification." Association for Jewish Studies Conference, Washington D.C., 2008.
"La Juive au Vatican and the 'Liberal Question.'" Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium, Vanderbilt University, 2008.
"La France juive by Marcel Proust, with Henri Grégoire and Jacques Derrida." Annual Colloquium in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century French and Francophone Studies, Georgetown University, 2008.
“Italian Independence on the 'Golden Wings' of Jewish Emancipation.” International Colloquium on Discourses of Jewishness, University of Pittsburg, 2008.
“The Narrating Architecture of Emancipation: Turin.” Frankel Institute, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 2008.
“Why Angel's Fallen: The Narrating Architecture of Dopo mezzanotte.” American Association for Italian Studies Annual Colloquium, Colorado College, 2007.
“Universal History and the Jews after 1789: The Case of Joseph Salvador.” International Conference on Jews in France: Crisis and Continuity. University of Pennsylvania, 2006.
“Joseph Salvador and the Return of History to the Jews.” Francophone Jewish Writers Conference, Stanford University, 2006.
“La Synagogue «parlante» de Zadoc Kahn.” Colloque international Zadoc Kahn. Centre historique des Archives nationales, Paris, December 2005.
“Proust’s Swanns and the Legacy of 1789.” Eleventh Annual Gruss Colloquium in Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2005.
“Costruire la storia: il Tempio Maggiore tra Roma e Sion.” Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Convegno sugli Ebrei ed Emancipazione nella formazione della coscienza europea. Centro Romano di Studi sull’Ebraismo, 2004.
“Mourning and Aesthetic Theory in Proust and Klein.” University of Pennsylvania, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, 2004.
“The Subversive Obedience of Proust and Freud.” University of Pennsylvania, Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, 2004.
“Prima di Primo Levi: Recent Historical Fictions Set Before the Holocaust.” American Association for Italian Studies Colloquium, Ottawa, 2004.
“From Shylock and Ivanhoe to La Juive.” Kentucky Foreign Languages Conference, Lexington, 2004.
“Discours d’identité juive de la Révolution à l’Affaire Dreyfus.” Université de Nantes, Centre de Recherche sur les Identités Nationales et l’Interculturalité, 2003.
“Belle on the Couch.” Twentieth Annual International Colloquium in Twentieth-Century French Studies, Univ. of Illinois, 2003.
With Amanda Axsom '07. "Dossier on Alain Spiess" [Special Section]. Modern Language Studies 40.1 (2009): 77-103.
Recent and Current Courses
Comparative Literary Studies 201: Introduction to Comparative Literary Studies.
Comparative Literary Studies 170: European Literary Modernism
Comparative Literary Studies 175: Rogues, Knaves, Swindlers and Other Tramps in the Picaresque Tradition
Comparative Literary Studies/Judaic Studies 374: Trauma and the Modern Jewish Imaginary
French 306: Révolution et réaction, 1789-1945
French 369: Le roman au vingtième siècle: Proust
French 370: Céline scandale
French 373: Napoléon représente
French 375: Representing Loss: Literature, Film, Theory
French 481: L’Art du récit: question religieuse, questions d’identité
Italian 101 - 102 Elementary Italian
Italian 201: Intermediate Italian
Italian 240: Landscapes of Tuscany: Literature, Art, History (in Vicchio, Italy)
Italian 310: Introduction to Italian Literary Studies
Italian 360: Italian Literary and Cultural Studies I: From the Risorgimento to the Present Italian 365: Verismo and Modernism in Italian LiteraureItalian 368: Post-War and Contemporary Italian Fiction
Italian 410: Italian Literary and Cultural Studies II
MSS 120: Imagining Love
Honors Projects Supervised
Nathaniel Kunz, "Les deux France en caricature." French, 2013.
Amanda Axsom, "Alan Spiess"; "Entretien avec Alain Spiess." French, 2007.
Lydia Vollmann, "Face à face avec Marianne. La France envisagée au féminin." French, 2006.
Andrea Tamres, "Le procès Barbie. Perspectives sur la justice." French, 1997.
"The Bishop and the Synagogue of Rome." WITF (Public Television) MindMatters Series, May, 2017.
"Child Survivors and Writers of the Holocaust: The Aim of Memory." WITF (Public Television) MindMatters Series, October, 2016.
Lecture and Discussion on Once in a Lifetime (Les héritiers). Jewish Film Festival, York Jewish Community Center, October 2015.