A photo of Sara Melzer

Sara Melzer

Professor Emeritus

E-mail: melzer@humnet.ucla.edu Fields of interest: French colonialism in the Classical age; Contemporary French culture; Dance and Culture

Sara Melzer is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles whose primary research focus includes French colonialism in the Classical age and understanding contemporary France through the Classical age. She is the author of Discourses of the Fall: A Study of Pascal’s Pensées and coeditor of From the Royal to the Republican Body: Incorporating the Political in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century France.


  • Ph.D. University of Chicago

Featured Works

Selected Publications


  • “La Décolonisation culturelle de la Rome Antique : La Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes.” Feitschrift in honor of Gérard Feyrerolles, edited by Constance Cagnat-Deboeuf, Laurence Plazenet et Anne Régent-Susini (Paris: Champion, 2019).
  • “Comment écrire l’histoire de la colonisation de la  Nouvelle France?  Les perspectives divergentes sur la rencontre des Amérindiens et des Français au Nouveau Monde” in Voyages, rencontres, échanges au XVIIe siècle,  eds. Sylvie Requemora-Gros et Pierre Ronzeaud, (Nar Verlag: Biblio 17, 2017).
  • Time, Myth and the Quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns: Racine and Fontenelle in Time, Space and Structure, eds. Leonard Koff and Nancy Van Deusen (Leiden: Brill Press, 2016), 261-283.
  • “The Roman Universalism of French Schools: Rethinking France’s Connection to Classical Antiquity” in Networks, Interconnection, Connectivity in Seventeenth-Century France, eds. Michèle Longino and Ellen Welsh (Tubingen: Biblio 17, 2015), 149-162.
  • “France’s Colonial Strategy of Cultural Assimilation,” in Jesuit Accounts of the Colonial Americas. Intertextual Transfers, Intellectual Disputes and Textualities, eds. Marc-André Bernier, Clorinda Donato and Hans Lusebrink” (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2014), 169-185.
  • “Colonization: A Love Story. The Amerindians’ ‘Voluntary Subjection’ to Mother France in the Seventeenth Century,” in Law and Culture: Structures of Feeling, ed. Susan McClary (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2012), 90-105.
  • “Une ‘Seconde France’? Re-penser le paradigme ‘classique’ à partir de l’histoire oubliée de la colonisation française,” in La littérature, le XVIIe siècle et nous : dialogue transatlantique, ed. Hélène Merlin-Kajman (Paris: Presse Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2008), 75-85.
  • “The Relation de voyage: A Forgotten Genre of the Seventeenth Century,” in (Tubingen: Biblio 17, vol. 166 (2006), 33-52.
  • “Magic and the Conversion of ‘Outsiders’ into ‘Insiders’ in the French Empire,” in The Meanings of Magic from the Bible to Buffalo Bill, ed. Amy Wygant (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006), 178-210.
  • “The French Relation and its Hidden Colonial History,” in Companion to the Literature of Colonial America, eds. Susan Castillo and Ivy Schweitzer (London: Blackwell Publishers, 2005), 220-240.
  • “The Comic Aspects of Alceste,” reprinted in Molière, ed. Harold Bloom (Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003) from the original “Performing Le Misanthrope: Comedy or Tragedy?” in MLA Approaches to Teaching Molière, eds. James Gaines and Michael Koppisch (New York: Modern Language Association, 1995), 137-144.
  • “Le Nouveau Monde et La Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes dans le Furetière,” in Littératures classiques, ed. Hélène Merlin,  Numero 47, (Hiver 2003), 133-148.
  • “L’Histoire oubliée de la colonisation française: Universaliser la “Francité,” in Dalhousie French Studies,  ed. Gérard Feyrerolles. Special Issue on Literature and History (Automne, 2003), 133-48.
  • “The Underside of France’s Civilizing Mission: Assimilationist Politics in ‘New France,’” in Biblio 17, 131 (2001), 151-164.
  • “Incest and the Minotaur in Phèdre: The Monster’s of France’s Assimilationist Politics,” in Biblio 17, 131, (2001), 431-445.
  • “Myths of Mixture in Phèdre and the Sun King’s Assimilation Policy in the New World,” in L’Esprit Créateur (Summer 1998), 72-82.
  • “Opinion, Queen of the World: Image-Making in the Reign of the Sun King and William Jefferson Clinton” in De la Morale à l’Economie Politique, eds. Pierre Force and David Morgan (Paris:  PUP, 1996),” 157-66.
  • “Performing Molière’s Le Misanthrope — Comedy or Tragedy?”  Approaches to Teaching Molière’s Tartuffe and Other Plays, eds. Michael Koppisch and Jim Gaines (New York:  The Modern Language Association of America, 1995), 137-44.
  • “Sin and Signs in Pascal’s Pensées, Biblio 17, 56  (1990), 38-48.
  • “Barcos and Pascal’s Theory of Figures,” in Modern Critical Views:  Blaise Pascal, ed. Harold Bloom, New York: Chelsea House Publishers (1989).

Honors and Awards

  • ACS GRANT 1999