Professor of French | Dey 224

At UNC since 2004


Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota, 1993
M.A., French, University of Minnesota, 1990
M.A., Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota, 1987
B.A., Philosophy, University of California–Santa Cruz, 1983

Other Appointments

Adjunct Professor, English and Comparative Literature


Though he specializes in early modern French and comparative literary studies, Hassan Melehy’s latest book is Kerouac: Language, Poetics, and Territory (Bloomsbury), which explores the Beat Generation author’s experiments with his native French as an integral part of his poetics. Prof. Melehy’s new research focuses on the relationship between political writing and literature in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France and England, in further development of his 2010 book, The Poetics of Literary Transfer in Early Modern France and England (Ashgate), and the collection he recently co-edited with Catherine Gimelli Martin, French Connections in the English Renaissance (Ashgate). He has also written numerous articles on early modern literature and philosophy, recent and contemporary critical theory, and film studies. In addition to his critical writing, he also regularly publishes poetry. His collection titled A Modest Apocalypse will be published by Eyewear in early 2017.

He teaches courses on the French Renaissance, the Anglo-French Renaissance, film studies, and critical theory to both undergraduate and graduate students.

In recent years he has been an invited speaker at the University of Kansas, the University of Regensburg (Germany), and the University of Giessen (Germany). In 2013, while a short-term fellow at the New York Public Library, he gave a co-presentation on Kerouac’s bilingualism at Barnard College (Columbia University) with Beat Generation author, Kerouac biographer, and Barnard alumna Joyce Johnson. They have subsquently given similar talks together at the Smithsonian Institution and Loyola University Maryland.


  • Kerouac: Language, Poetics, and Territory. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.
  • The Poetics of Literary Transfer in Early Modern France and England. Farnham, UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010.
  • Writing Cogito: Montaigne, Descartes, and the Institution of the Modern Subject. Albany: SUNY Press, 1997.
  • “Deleuze, Kerouac, Fascism, and Death.” In Dead Theory: Derrida, Death, and the Afterlife of Theory. Edited by Jeffrey DiLeo. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016. 191–204.
  • “Critiques of Early Modern Criticism: Poetics, Historicism, and the Pitfalls of Periodization.” In Criticism After Critique. Ed. Jeffrey DiLeo. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 127–40.
  • “La carte cinématographique du XVIe siècle: sur la route transdisciplinaire.” In Illustrations inconscientes: Ecritures de la Renaissance. Mélanges offerts à Tom Conley. Ed. Bernd Renner and Philip Usher. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014. 31–44.
  • “Jack Kerouac’s Quest for Identity: Satori in Paris.” Studies in American Fiction. 41.1 (Spring 2014): 49–76.
  • “The Mobility of Constancy: Montaigne, Shakespeare, and Lipsius.” REAL: Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature 28 (2012): 73–91.
  • “Film Fable.” In Jacques Rancière: Key Concepts. Ed. Jean-Philippe Déranty. Dublin: Acumen Press, 2010. 171–84.
  • “Montaigne and Ethics: The Case of Animals.” L’Esprit Créateur 46.1 (2006): 96–107.
  • “Antiquities of Britain: Spenser’s Ruines of Time.” Studies in Philology 102.2 (2005): 159–83.
  • “Bodies without Organs: Cyborg Cinema of the 1980s.” The Science Fiction Film Reader. Ed. Gregg Rickman. New York: Limelight Editions, 2004. 315–334.
  • “Spenser and Du Bellay: Translation, Imitation, Ruin.” Comparative Literature Studies 40.4 (2003): 415–38.

Typical Courses

FREN 662: French Renaissance Poetry
FREN 388-389: The History of French Cinema I & II
FREN 370: Survey of French Literature I: The Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Recently Directed Dissertations

  • Louai, El Habib. Doctoral candidate, English, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco. On the cultural encounter between the Beat Generation and Moroccan writers in the 1950s and 1960s. In progress (I am Mr. Louai’s co-director).
  • Cranford, Emily. Androgynous Constructions, Ambiguous Genders in Michel de Montaigne, Marie de Gournay and Helisenne de Crenne. Spring 2015.
  • Hughes, Ellis Eugene. The Confession(s) of an Early Modern Virago: Situating Confession, Evangelizing, and Defenseof Women in the Writings of Hélisenne de Crenne. Spring 2014.
  • Johnson, Brian. The Rhetorical Use of Animals in Early Modern French Literature. Fall 2013.
  • Peterson, Sarah. Geographies of Everyday Urban Life: French Literary and Cinematic Experiments In The Contemporary City. Spring 2014.