November 2014


La Pléiade and The Library of America


Gatekeepers of the literary heritage in France and the United States

In 1931, editor Jacques Schiffrin created La Bibliothèque de la Pléiade with the aim of providing the public with reference editions of the complete works of classic authors in an elegant pocket format. Today, the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade publishes both classic and modern works and the "entry into the Pléiade" is considered a major sign of recognition for an author in France. Inspired by la Pléiade, The Library of America, a nonprofit organization created in 1979, publishes authoritative editions of significant American writing with the aim of fostering greater appreciation of the nation’s literary heritage. The Wall Street Journal has written, “If our country’s literary canon has a dress code, then surely it involves those shiny black jackets covering the volumes produced by The Library of America.”

Recognizing the vital role of these two institutions in defining the literary heritage of the two nations, the French-American Foundation will host a panel discussion on these two significant collections, the editorial process of deciding what works and authors are included, and the influence these collections have on readers, writers, and the overall literary landscape in France and the United States.

The forum – introduced by Cheryl Hurley, President and Chief Executive Officer – will feature keynote remarks by author Paul Auster, to be followed by a panel discussion featuring Geoffrey O’Brien, Editor in Chief of The Library of America; Denis Hollier, Professor of French Literary History at New York University; and Liesl Schillinger, critic, translator, and writer. The discussion will be moderated by Mary Hawthorne of The New Yorker.

Admission to this event is $25. Space is limited, and a reservation is required. To purchase tickets, click here. For more information, please contact Patrick Lattin at [email protected] or 646.588.6785.


Paul Auster

Paul AusterPaul Auster is the bestselling author of Report from the Interior, Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006, he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature. Among his other honors are the Prix Médicis Étranger for Leviathan, the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke, and the Premio Napoli for Sunset Park. He has also been a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions), the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance), and the Edgar Award (City of Glass). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His work has been translated into 43 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Denis Hollier

Denis HollierDenis Hollier is a professor of French literature at New York University, previously serving as the chair of the French department at Yale University. His areas of focus include 20th-century literature, narration and the media, literature and politics, the avant-garde, and theory of literary history. His written works have included Absent Without Leave: French Literature Under the Threat of War (Harvard University Press, 1998); Epreuves d´artiste (Galilée 1996); Les Dépossédés: Bataille, Caillois, Leiris, Malraux, Sartre (Minuit, 1993); Rouan, la figure du fond (Galilée, 1992); De la littérature française (Bordas, 1993); Politique de la prose: Jean-Paul Sartre et l´an quarante (Gallimard, 1982; English translation, Minnesota, 1986); Le Collège de sociologie (1937-1939) (Gallimard, 1979, 1995); La Prise de la Concorde: Essais sur Georges Bataille (Gallimard, 1989), translated to Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille (MIT, 1989); and Rabelais, ou c´était pour rire (with Michel Butor, Larousse, 1972). He has also served as editor of Michel Leiris: La règle du jeu (Editions de la Pléiade, 2003), Literary Debate: Texts and Contexts, (with J. Mehlman, The New Press, 1999), A New History of French Literature (Harvard, 1994), and Panorama des sciences humaines (Gallimard, 1973).

Geoffrey O'Brien

Geoffrey O'BrienGeoffrey O’Brien is editor-in-chief of The Library of America. He is the author of seventeen books including Stolen Glimpses, Captive Shadows (2013), The Fall of the House of Walworth (2010), Sonata for Jukebox (2004), The Browser’s Ecstasy (2000), The Phantom Empire (1993), and seven collections of poetry.

Liesl Schillinger

Liesl SchillingerCritic, translator, and writer Liesl Schillinger studied comparative literature at Yale, worked at The New Yorker for more than a decade and is a regular critic for The New York Times Book Review. Her articles and essays have also appeared in New York, The New Republic, The Washington Post, Vogue, Foreign Policy, and The London Independent on Sunday, among other publications. Her recent translations include the novels Every Day, Every Hour by Natasa Dragnic and The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, fils. Wordbirds, her illustrated lexicon of necessary neologisms for the 21st Century, was published last year.

Mary Hawthorne

Mary HawthorneMary Hawthorne has contributed reviews and essays to The New Yorker, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Book Review, Site/Lines, and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Her essay “Handmade in Switzerland” is collected, in German translation, in the anthology Was ist schweizerish? (NZZ Libro, 2009) and her essay on Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac appears in The Good of the Novel (Faber, 2011). She is on the editorial staff of The New Yorker.


This event made possible with the support of Air France, exclusive airline sponsor of the Foundation's speaker series.

Air France


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