Philippe Desan, the Howard L. Willett Professor in French and History of Culture, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has been knighted by the French government into the Order of Arts and Letters. The honor was bestowed by the Minister of Culture in France and is in recognition of significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields.
The Order of Arts and Letters is one of the three prestigious orders in France for “major contribution in the artistic or literary domain” and the diffusion of French culture in the world. Desan had previously been knighted into the order of “National Merit.”
Professor Desan’s scholarship mostly includes works of the French Renaissance in relation to their economic, political and sociological context. He is the general editor of the journal Montaigne Studies and directs the Chicago Renaissance Center. He also works on 19th-century literature, especially Flaubert, from a sociological perspective.