Jan Miernowski

Credentials: Doctorat, Université de Paris X - Nanterre

Position title: Professor of French

Email: jmiernow@wisc.edu

Phone: 608-262-2541

760 Van Hise

Primary language



French Literature and Culture; Renaissance Studies; Literary Responses to Early Modern Philosophy, Theology and Political Rhetoric; Early Modern Humanism, 20th-century Anti-humanism, and 21st-century Posthumanism; 20th– and 21st-century Literature and Philosophy; Digital Humanities and e-Learning.

Jan Miernowski’s research and teaching interests focus on the aesthetic response of literature to the diverse discourses of early modern and contemporary philosophy, theology, science and politics. His doctoral thesis was devoted to the poetic expression of Renaissance logic. The subsequent books comprise a wide-ranging study of the impact of negative theology on French 16th-century poetry, on Medieval and Renaissance philosophy, as well as specifically on the poetics of Montaigne’s skepticism. He published in Polish a monograph on allegory in French literature from the Roman de la rose to Pascal, and a co-authored critical edition of poetry by Peletier du Mans.

Jan Miernowski’s most recent books include a monograph on the aesthetics of hatred in French and Francophone literature from the 16th to the 21st century; an edited volume on the interplay between the grotesque and the sublime; and an edited collection of essays on the dialogue between Renaissance humanism and 20th-century antihumanism. His forthcoming monograph  – Laughing on the Brink of Humanity. An Exercise in Epihumanism – tests the conditions of possibility of a humanism for our posthuman times. His latest book project explores the metaphors of biological life in literature, science, and philosophy.

Selected publications


  • Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2023)
  • WARF-Named Professorship, “The Douglas Kelly Professor of French” (2017)
  • UW-Madison Teaching and Learning Innovation Honorable Mention Award (2014)
  • Professor in the Humanities (Title granted by the President of Poland in 2013)
  • Engage Recognition Award For Transforming Teaching and Learning Through Technology with Assignments (2011)
  • Kellett Mid-Career Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2010)
  • “R1edu Award” for Distinguished Faculty Contribution to Online Learning (2007)
  • Pickard-Bascom Professorship (2004-2007) H. I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship (1998-2003)
  • Grant Komitetu Badań Naukowych (Polish Governement Research Committee Grant) (1997-1998)
  • NEH Fellowship for University Teachers (1994-1995) Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin at Madison (Spring 1993)