Anne Vila

Credentials: PhD, Johns Hopkins

Position title: Professor of French


Phone: 262-5075

638 Van Hise Hall


Eighteenth-century French literature and culture.

Areas of research interest: my research unfolds at the intersection of the French Enlightenment and the Medical Humanities. Having begun my career by investigating the intellectual and cultural history of sensibility, I continue to be fascinated by historical constructs of the mind/body relation and altered psychic states. I am equally interested in the conceptual transfers or cross-fertilizations that occurred between biomedical discourse, literary production, and moral/social philosophy during and after the Enlightenment era.  My current book project is”The Culture of Convulsions in France, 1700 to 1900.”

Major Administrative Positions within Department of French and Italian:
Chair, Department of French and Italian, August 2008-June 2011

Associate Chair for French, Department of French and Italian, 2004-2006 and 2012-2013

Director of Graduate Studies for French MA/Ph.D. programs, 2014-2016

Graduate Advisor, French MA/Ph.D. program


Pickard-Bascom Professor of French, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016-2021

Visiting International Fellow of UK Society for French Studies, May-June  2017

Vilas Associate Award (research support), University of Wisconsin, 1999-2001

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers, 1997-98



  • Reedition of Samuel-Auguste Tissot, De la santé des gens de lettres, 2018
  • Suffering Scholars: Pathologies of the Intellectual in Englightenment France, 2018
  • A Cultural History of the Senses in the Age of Enlightenment, 2014


  • De la santé des gens de lettres, 2018
  • L’Esprit (dé)réglé: Literature, Sciences de l’homme, and the Life of the Mind in France, 1700-1900, 2017
  • Entre le corps et l’esprit: langages et savoirs concurrents, 2017


  • “Malade de son génie”: raconter les pathologies des gens de lettres, de Tissot à Balzac , 2015
  • Going Cataleptic: Ecstatic Extremes and ‘Deep’ Thinking in and around Diderot, 2014
  • Penseurs profonds: Sensibility and the Knowledge-Seeker in Eighteenth-Century France, 2013
  • Finer’ Feelings: Socialbility, Sensibility, and the Emotions of gen de lettres in Eighteenth-Century France, 2012
  • The Scholar at Work: Habitus and the Identity of the “Learned” in Eighteenth-Century France, 2012


  • Powers, Pleasures, and Perils of the Senses in the Enlightenment Era, 2014
  • Medicine and the Body in the French Englightenment, 2014
  • De la pathologie à l’extase ‘poétique’: la catalepsie entre médecine et littérature (XVIIIe siècle), 2014
  • Le sublime, le grotesque, et l’animal dans les théories esthétiques de Diderot, 2014


PDF icon Vila short CV october 2017.pdf