The Pensive Citadel (Hardcover)

The Pensive Citadel By Victor Brombert, Christy Wampole (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Victor Brombert, Christy Wampole (Foreword by)
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A reflective volume of essays on literature and literary study from a storied professor.

In The Pensive Citadel, Victor Brombert looks back on a lifetime of learning within a university world greatly altered since he entered Yale on the GI Bill in the 1940s. Yet for all that has changed, much of Brombert’s long experience as a reader and teacher is richly familiar: the rewards of rereading, the joy of learning from students, and most of all the insight to be found in engaging works of literature. The essays gathered here range from meditations on laughter and jealousy to new appreciations of Brombert’s lifelong companions Shakespeare, Montaigne, Voltaire, and Stendhal. 

A veteran of D-day and the Battle of the Bulge who witnessed history’s worst nightmares firsthand, Brombert nevertheless approaches literature with a lightness of spirit, making the case for intellectual mobility and openness to change. The Pensive Citadel is a celebration of a life lived in literary study, and of what can be learned from attending to the works that form one’s cultural heritage.

About the Author

Victor Brombert is the Henry Putnam University Professor Emeritus of Romance and Comparative Literatures at Princeton University and the author of many books.

Christy Wampole is assistant professor of French at Princeton University.

Praise For…

The Pensive Citadel offers an elegiac account of a life as reader and teacher—and lover of literature who knows how to share that love.”
— Peter Brooks, Yale University

The Pensive Citadel is an engaging and persuasive plea for the central importance of literature to a well-rounded existence and a vigorous life of the mind. Brombert deftly weaves his own experiences and his changing responses to works of literature into his readings and rereadings. In this book, he successfully answers a question he often discussed with his students: Do literary works merely provide a higher form of entertainment, or is the printed word the revelation of a dialogue we carry on with ourselves? It is most emphatically both and more.”
— Tess Lewis, writer, essayist, and translator

“There is an old-fashioned pleasure in reading these essays and being so intimately in the company of its witty, reflective, and deeply read author. I suggest beginning at the end with ‘The Permanent Sabbatical’ and then moving on to ‘In Praise of Jealousy?’ round the middle and then on to the rest. One cannot go wrong.”
— Thomas W. Laqueur, University of California, Berkeley

"Retired Princeton University comparative literature professor Brombert reflects on his life in academia in this ruminative essay collection. . . . Brombert’s enthusiastic takes on the French classics show what made him a beloved professor, but the reverent accounts of university life and detailed discussions of navigating trends in literary criticism will hold the most appeal for fellow academics. Literature scholars will want to check this out."
— Publishers Weekly

"Brombert’s book mingles memoir and what might be called literary contemplation rather than conventional academic criticism. His text is an acknowledgment of intellectual and literary debts, and he celebrates our much-abused and neglected inheritance."
— The New Criterion

“The Berlin-born centenarian scholar Victor Brombert has published a swan-song anthology of essays on his teaching career and literary enthusiasms, among them Montaigne, Molière and Malraux. . . his book brings to life a bygone age with self-effacing humor and irreverence.”
— Times Literary Supplement

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226828664
ISBN-10: 0226828662
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: October 6th, 2023
Pages: 192
Language: English