Mary Jo Muratore

Mary Jo Muratore
University of Missouri Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor, Catherine Paine Middlebush Professor of the Humanities (2010-2015), Professor of French, Director of Graduate Studies
125 Arts & Science Building

Ph.D., University of California-Davis, 1979


M. J. Muratore, University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor, Professor of French, and Catherine Paine Middlebush Professor of the Humanities (2010-2015), is a specialist in seventeenth-century French literature and dramatic theory, with complementary, multi-dimensional research and teaching interests in: twentieth-century world and comparative literary studies; narratology and poetics; contemporary critical theory and practice: semiotics, hermeneutics, postmodernism, and beyond; francophone and post-colonial studies; representations of exile, alienation, marginalization and otherness in post-World War II narrative; madness and discourse; the problematics of fragmentation, most notably as an art form manifest in a spectrum of alternative, non-canonical texts; the theory and practice of cross-cultural translation and adaptation; the complex foundations of bilingualism: genesis, contrastive modes of acquisition, skill identification and differentiation, as well as yet unexplored phenomena of interference, disassociation and ill-defined subsets of cognitive dissonance; academic and professional writing; the craft and the art of scholarly research and publication; strategies and outcomes of professional development; and the evolution of the American Academy of higher learning (specifically, the ever-changing place and role of the research university in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries).

Named University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor as of 2015, formerly Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (1995-2002), Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair of Romance Languages (2002-2005), and Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair of the Humanities (2010-2015), Dr. Muratore served as the co-founding Director of the Afro-Romance Institute and of the Afro-Romance Studies Series (University of Missouri Press, 2000-2008). So, too, she co-authored two funded NEH Summer Institute/Seminar Grants for University Faculty. During her tenure at MU, she assumed a broad-spanning array of notable roles, which include, among the many: Chair of the University Committee on Tenure and Promotion, Member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Panel, and President of the Graduate Faculty Senate. She currently serves as Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (2014-2017).

In 1991, the inaugural year of a university-wide competition, Dr. Muratore was named a Kemper Fellow by the University of Missouri, in recognition of “a noteworthy and compelling record of distinguished accomplishments in teaching.”

Dr. Muratore's scholarly publications include a wide range of articles appearing in top-tier international journals and focused on French, European and post-colonial works. Writers explored include, but are not limited to: Tristan L'Hermite, Mme de Lafayette, La Fontaine, Corneille, Racine, Molière, Guillerargues, Perrault, Scarron, Cyrano de Bergerac, Bernardin de St. Pierre, Balzac, Camus, Genet, Calvino, Machado de Assis, Wright, Wiesel, Sábato, Langevin, Pineau, Naipaul, Zongo and Djebar. Her book-length studies include: The Evolution of the Cornelian Heroine (1982); Cornelian Theater: The Metadramatic Dimension (1990); Mimesis and Metatextuality in the Neo-Classical Text (1994) - nominated by the Modern Language Association of America for the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize in French Studies; Expirer au féminin: Narratives of Female Dissolution in the French Neo-Classical Text (2003); Exiles, Outcasts, Strangers: Icons of Marginalization in Post-World War II Narrative (2011); and two textbooks: Introduction to French Literature: Medieval Period through the Eighteenth Century (2003), and Introduction to French Literature: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (2005), both designed to expand the scope of options within the distance learning programs at the University of Missouri.

Two recent books have been published and released: the first, a study addressing the artful, non-conventional demeanors and derivatives of authorial self-consciousness in the theatre of Molière (Molière’s Metatextual Maneuvers [Paris: Éditions Hermann, coll. “Vertige de la langue,” Oct. 2016]); the second, an extensive, two-volume collection of essays exploring the poetic configurations and manifestations of madness in narrative and film (Hermeneutics of Textual Madness: Re-Readings / Herméneutique de la folie textuelle: re-lectures [Fasano-Paris: Schena Editore – Éditions Alain Baudry, coll. “Bibliotecca della Ricerca,” vols. I and II, Nov. 2016]).

In the arena of Molière studies, two new projects, both well in progress, have been officially contracted for publication:

  • the first, a newly-turned, revisionist-centered compendium of essays to include original writings by a panorama of preeminent international scholars of French neo-classicism and by distinguished theorists of the comic (the collection founded, directed and edited by Prof. Muratore), has been accepted and contracted for publication by Les Éditions Hermann in Paris, and is “dyadically” titled: Molière Re-envisioned. Twenty-first Century Retakes / Renouveau et renouvellement moliéresques. Reprises contemporaines. This expansive enterprise, to embrace the hermeneutical renderings of ca. thirty contributors, has been explicitly fashioned so as to offer contemporary, alternative readings of Molière, whose theatrical creations have, for nearly four centuries, continued to inspire no less awe than delight. As a natural extension of her multiple roles as founding director and editor of this “collective enterprise,” Prof. Muratore will author both a scholarly essay and an over-arching, prefatory synthesis.
  • the second, a significant expansion, reification and amplification of her forthcoming work (Molière’s Metatextual Maneuvers), constitutes an otherly conceptualized exploration of the complex, multi-functional “pathology of refraction,” which, as though by paradox, at once so unobtrusively and yet so quintessentially informs Molière’s vast dramaturgical universe. This new tome, in French, titled: Molière, métatextualiste. Configurations labyrinthiques de l’auto-représentation will appear, too, in the widely-acclaimed collection “Vertige de la langue,” published by Les Éditions Hermann in Paris.

Beyond the scope of works published, in press or presently under contract, Dr. Muratore is in the early stages of four book-length projects : (1) Of Longing and Lapsus: The Poetics of the Unnamable - Revisioned (a hermeneutically-centered inquiry into the struggle with and against the constraints of language’s limited embrace in the works of five post-colonial French women writers: Assia Djebar, Maryse Condé, Rachida Madani, Gisèle Pineau, Calixthe Beyala); (2) Shone the Half-Moon, Never Full: Unwholeness Imaged in Contemporary African-American Narrative (an altered reading via the textual deconstruction and reconstruction of the power of language, and, more specifically, its allusive portrayal of incompletion, fragmentation, and the writerly quest for integrality); (3) Paroles de l’autre. Toward an Altered Poetics of Difference (an exegetical excursion into the singular artistry of trans-lingual French writers: Samuel Beckett, Julian Green, Elie Wiesel, Eugene Ionesco, Emile Cioran, Milan Kundera, Atiq Rahimi); and (4) a theoretical and practical examination of approaches to, and boundaries of, cross-cultural translation;

Professor Muratore has been the recipient of numerous honors, prizes, awards, grants and other significant tokens of recognition during her tenure at the University of Missouri -- apart from the three aforementioned professorial ranks of distinction. Examples include, among many others: the Purple Chalk Award, the Kemper Fellowship, the Excellence in Education Award, and the Honors College Faculty Service Award for Excellence in Mentoring. A 2014 conferee of the Writing Intensive Excellence Award, designed to recognize compelling contributions that foster the mission of “Writing to Learn” and “Learning to Write” within and across all disciplines, Professor Muratore often engages highly motivated students in an intensive apprenticeship forum, where the complex processes of literary translation, text-based “innovation,” research, writing, editing and refinement are explored, inculcated and lead, on occasion, to co-authored publications.

The Evolution of the Cornelian Heroine

Cornelian Theater: The Metadramatic Dimension

Mimesis and Metatextuality in the Neo-Classical Text

Hermeneutics of Textual Madness - Vol. I
Herméneutique de la folie textuelle - Vol. I

Hermeneutics of Textual Madness - Vol. II
Herméneutique de la folie textuelle - Vol. II