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Joan Tasker Grimbert

Ordinary Professor of French & Medieval Studies, Emerita




Joan Tasker Grimbert earned her B.A. in French from Middlebury College (1968) and her Ph.D. in Romance Philology from the University of Chicago (1981). Having spent her junior year in Paris, she returned there after graduation to work at the American Chamber of Commerce, Chrysler France, and Plant Location International (1969-71). She also spent two years there doing research for her dissertation and auditing courses at the University of Paris-IV (1977-79).


Teaching and Administration
While a graduate student at the University of Chicago, Grimbert taught for two years as a lecturer. She then taught at Hollins College and the University of Oklahoma before coming to CUA in 1987. She was Chair of the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures from 2004 to 2010, and ever since she has served as Coordinator of the French Section. She has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses, including Courtly/Uncourtly: Medieval French Lays and Fabliaux, The Romance of Arthur in Literature, Art, & Film, Old French, Old Occitan, Saints and Sinners, Chrétien de Troyes & Marie de France, Medieval French Lyric, Medieval and Renaissance Women Writers, Tristan and Iseult: 12th to 20th c., The Romance of Arthur in Literature, Art, & Film, The Roman noir in French literature & film, French Civilization, Business French, Phonetics, Translation and Stylistics, and Senior Seminar. In spring 2004, she organized and taught "Sacred and Secular Music in Medieval Culture" with a colleague in the School of Music; it brought the acclaimed early music ensemble, Anonymous 4 to campus for a concert, two classes, and a weeklong residency.

Research and Publications
As a specialist in Arthurian Literature and medieval lyric, Grimbert has written, edited, or co-edited six books: Chrétien de Troyes in Prose: The Burgundian "Erec" and "Cligés" (2011), A Companion to Chrétien de Troyes (2005), Philologies Old and New: Essays in Honor of Peter Florian Dembowski (2001), Songs of the Women Trouvères (2001) Tristan and Isolde: A Casebook (1995; 2002), and "Yvain" dans le miroir: Une Poétique de la Réflexion dans le "Chevalier au lion" de Chrétien de Troyes (1988). Her current focus is on late Arthurian romance. She has written numerous book essays, primarily on the Tristan legend and Arthurian film. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Romance Philology, Medioevo Romanzo, Speculum, French Review, French Forum, Romance Languages Annual, TENSO, Tristania, Anales Galdosianos, Arthurian Literature, and Arthuriana. The Legend of Tristan and Iseult (CUA Magazine, Spring 2010)

In August 2011, Grimbert was named Chevalier in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in recognition of her work promoting French and French culture.

Professor Grimbert has always been active in the International Arthurian Society. After concluding her third 3-year term as international treasurer of the IAS, she began a 3-year term as President of the North American Branch of the IAS, which she will conclude in December 2014. She was on the Executive Committee of MLA's Medieval French Division for 5 years and a delegate to the General Assembly. She is a member of AATF, MLA, International Arthurian Society, International Courtly Literature Society, Tristan Society, and Marie de France Society.