kate jensen

Katharine (Kate) Jensen 

Florence Kidd and Isaac M. Gregorie, Sr. Professor of French Studies

Bachelor's Degree(s): B.A. in French, summa cum laude, Lawrence University, 1979

Master's Degree: M.A. in French, Columbia University, 1983 M.Phil. in French, Columbia University, 1985

PhD: Ph.D. in French, with Distinction, Columbia University, 1988

Phone: 225-578-6627

E-mail: kjensen@lsu.edu

Office: 422 Hodges


Kate Jensen grew up in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota where she attended public schools from elementary school through high school.  Although she took French in high school, she became passionately interested in it only beginning her freshman year at Lawrence University.  During that year, under the guidance of Professor Gervais Reed, Kate discovered a host of French authors from Racine to Beckett and realized further how much she enjoyed analyzing literature and writing.  After majoring in French, Kate pursued graduate studies at Columbia University, where thanks to Professor Nancy K. Miller, Kate discovered feminist criticism and theory, interdisciplinary perspectives that continue to inform her scholarly work and teaching.

Areas of Interest

17th and 18th century French literature
Women's writing
Feminist theory
First person narratives (autobiography, memoir, fiction)
Mother daughter relations (representations and theory)
Epistolary writing

Awards & Honors

2019 Recipient, Manship Summer Fellowship (LSU)
2011 Recipient, Manship Summer Fellowship (LSU)
2009 Recipient, funding for summer research, Center for French and Francophone Studies
2006-07 Recipient, Board of Regents Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars (ATLAS) Fellowship.
2005 Departmental nominee for LSU Foundation Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award
2005 Recipient, Council on Research Summer Fellowship (LSU)
2000 Recipient, LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award (recognizes outstanding teaching, research, and/or service)
2000 Recipient, Outstanding Faculty Contribution to Women’s and Gender Studies (LSU)
1999 Recipient, Manship Summer Fellowship (LSU)
1996, 1995 Departmental nominee for LSU Amoco Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching  1999,
1994   Recipient, Manship Summer Fellowship (LSU)
1990 Recipient, Manship Summer Fellowship (LSU)
1988 Recipient, Council on Research Summer Fellowship (LSU)
1988 Recipient, Justin O’Brien Memorial Prize for Dissertations in French, Columbia University
1986 Recipient, Reid Hall Fellowship for Research in Paris, Columbia University
1987, 1985,
1984, 1981,
1979 Columbia University President's Fellowship
1979 Phi Beta Kappa

Selected Publications


Writing Ambition: Literary Engagements Between Women in France (Lexington Books, Lanham, MD, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2023).

In Writing Ambition, Katharine Ann Jensen analyzes the works of three pairs of women writing in French—Genlis and Lafayette, Colette and Annie de Pène, and Nancy Huston and Leïla Sebbar—to assess how their literary ambitions affected their engagements with each other. Focused on the psychological aspects of the women’s relationships, the author combines close textual readings of their works with attention to historical and biographical contexts to consider how and why one or both women in the pair express contradictory or anxious feelings about literary ambition.

Uneasy Possessions: The Mother-Daughter Dilemma in French Women's Writings, 1671-1928. Newark: University of Delaware Press, co-published with Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, Lanham, MD, 2011.

Writing Love: Letters, Women, and the Novel in France, 1605-1776.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1995.

Approaches to Teaching Lafayette’s The Princess of Clèves, co edited with Faith E. Beasley. New York: Modern Language Association Press, 1998.

Edited volume:

Special Issue of Publications of the Modern Language Association on Emotions 130:5 (May) 2015. Co-coordinated with Miriam Wallace, with whom I co-wrote the Introduction, 1249-68.


“Ambitious Self-Condemnation: The Fallen Woman in Novels by Stéphanie-Félicité de Genlis and Amelia Opie.” Accepted for publication in Studies in Comparative Literature, forthcoming 2022.

“The Rival Mothers or Calumny by Madame de Genlis.” Invited contribution to The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Ed. April London. Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2022.

"Fantasies of Unity vs. Cracks in the Mirror: Mother-Daughter Relations in Ligniville and Graffigny." Eighteenth-Century Thought, vol. 8, Volume 6 (2016): 141-70.

"The Chopin Affair; George Sand's Rivalry with her Daughter." Nineteenth-Century French Contexts35, 1 (2013): 1-24.

"Daughters as Maternal Masterpieces: Teaching Mother-Daughter Relations in Lafayette and Vigée Lebrun." Teaching Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century French Women Writers, ed. Faith E. Beasley (New York: Modern Language Association, 2011), 92-100. 

"Introduction" to "Intersections in Human Spaces" Biblo17, 161 (2005): 257-60.

"Introduction" to "ASECS Women's Caucus Roundtable: The Career and Work of Madelyn Gutwirth."  Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture35 (2005): 1-3.

"Helvétius." Writers of the French Enlightenment, Dictionary of Literary Biography, v. 313 (Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005): 249-55.

"Mother-Daughter Mirroring in Madame de Sévigné's Letters: Identity Confusion and the Lure of Intimacy."  Esprit CréateurXLIV, 1 (Spring 2004): 108-20. 

“Mirrors, Marriage, and Nostalgia: Mother-Daughter Relations in Writings by Isabelle de Charrière and Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature19, 2 (Fall 2000): 285-313. 

Courses taught

Graduate level:

  • Major Works of 17th Century France
  • The 17th Century French Novel
  • Major Works of 18th-Century France
  • 18th Century Autobiography and Memoir
  • The 18th Century French Novel
  • Representations of the Family in 18th-Century France
  • The French Epistolary Novel, 17th 18th centuries
  • 17th 18th Century French Theatre
  • Mother-Daughter Relations in Literature, Theory, and Film (British, American, Afro American, and French literature)
  • The Female Protagonist: French and British Women Novelists
  • French and Francophone Women Writers
  • French Feminist Theories
  • Proseminar for Incoming Graduate Students

Undergraduate level:

  • Survey of French Literature
  • Intermediate Readings in French Literature
  • Beginning and Intermediate Language, Reading, and Conversation
  • Senior Seminar in French
  • Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
  • Feminist Theory
  • Honors Western Civilization (Ancient Greece and Rome)
  • Honors, Mother-Daughter Relations in Theory, Fiction, and Film
  • Women’s Autobiography and Memoir