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The WT Bandy Center promotes research and outreach for its unique collections, providing scholars with resources and services, including consultation of this material.
The current Covid-19 travel restrictions and limited access to libraries and archives have made it more difficult to consult the collections, posing a significant challenge.

Responding to the pandemic, we have launched a new online series of recorded talks by leading scholars who have consulted the Bandy Collections, advancing their scholarly work.
This effort coincides with the 2021 bicentenary of the birth of Charles Baudelaire, celebrating the poet’s importance and influence on modernity.

We invite you to enjoy these recordings, and we hope that you will participate in future Bandy events, including in-person consultation of our collections.
In the interim, the technology that has allowed us to pursue online discussions ensures that we can continue our longstanding efforts to bring the Bandy collections to the world.






GROUPE BAUDELAIRE:  L’Institut des textes et manuscrits modernes

"Fondé en janvier 2019 au sein de l’Institut des textes et manuscrits modernes, le « Groupe Baudelaire » a pour but de promouvoir les études sur Baudelaire. Son activité de recherche s’articule autour de trois axes : l’édition électronique et génétique de l’œuvre de Baudelaire et de sa correspondance ; l’étude des rapports du poète avec les écrivains et les artistes de son temps ; la mise en perspective de son œuvre avec la littérature et la création contemporaines. L’équipe fédère actuellement une quarantaine de chercheurs issus d’une quinzaine de pays.

Le « Groupe Baudelaire » est l’héritier d’une tradition qui s’est illustrée dans les travaux de Jacques Crépet, de Georges Blin et de Claude Pichois et qui se prolonge aujourd’hui dans  L’Année Baudelaire, revue annuelle d’études baudelairiennes fondée en 1995, dirigée par Jean-Paul Avice, Antoine Compagnon, Jacques Dupont, André Guyaux et Patrick Labarthe, et ouverte à une nouvelle génération de commentateurs de Baudelaire.

Dans le cadre des commémorations du bicentenaire de la naissance de Baudelaire, en 2021, le « Groupe Baudelaire » est engagé dans l’organisation de nombreuses manifestations scientifiques et culturelles à Paris, en France et à l’étranger, en partenariat avec d’autres institutions..." Including the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies

Colloque à l’occasion du bicentenaire de la naissance de Charles Baudelaire
(2-3 December 2021)
« Pour égayer l’ennui de nos prisons », Collaque à l’occasion du bicentenaire de la naissance de Charles Baudelaire.

"To brighten up the boredom of our prisons", Symposium on the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Baudelaire

Organized by the University of Valle d'Aosta, in collaboration with the Catholic University of Milan and the WTBandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN)



Controversial Art in Modern and Contemporary French Culture Series

Marc de Montifaud

Missing the Marc: Trans Identities in Nineteenth-Century France
Rachel Mesch, Guest Lecturer

Additional information about Rachel Mesch

Marc de Montifaud, born Marie-Amélie de Chartroule, was a renowned art critic before
she began publishing titillating works that were repeatedly censored for "offense to
public decency." Montifaud was bewildered by punishments she felt didn't fit the crime,
and continued to write erotic tales as well as passionate treatises in self-defense. She was
as angry about being censored as she was about being sent to a women's prison rather
than the one where male artists and writers were sent for similar infractions.
This talk explores Montifaud's efforts to express her gender nonconformity, arguing
that the disproportionate response to her by the forces of authority was a function of
their inability to identify the precise nature of her affront. Montifaud refused to concede
because she thrived on this perpetual misunderstanding, which allowed her to make
visible her state of tension with a world that had not yet imagined her.

This virtual presentation was sponsored by the Department of French & Italian, W.T. Bandy Center-Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries, Cinema & Media Arts.


"Haitian Literature in the Wake: A Conversion with Makenzy Orcel", author of Les Immortals. 
Conversation led by Nathan Dize, graduate student in the Department of French & Italian, Vanderbilt University and translator of Les Immortals.
Zoom event: Febrary 16, 2021



Robert Darnton Lecture


“Censors at Work: How States Shaped Literature” took place Thursday, February 7 in the Central Library Community Room.  Professor Darnton studies the effects of state-sponsored censorship upon literary expression using historical examples.  By placing censorship into its historical and political context, Darnton reveals how literature has been subject to official control in the past, and invites us to consider its present and future implications.

Robert Darnton is the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Emeritus Director of the University Library at Harvard University. Professor Darnton is a native New Yorker, was educated at Harvard University, and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, England. His honors include a Guggenheim and a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, and the National Humanities Medal for his outstanding achievement as a cultural historian. In addition, he received the National Book Critics Circle Award, election to the French Legion of Honor, and the Del Duca World Prize in the Humanities awarded by the Institut de France. He worked as a reporter for The New York Times, served as trustee of the New York Public Library and the Oxford University Press (USA), and president of the American Historical Association and the International Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. His many books include The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie, an early attempt to develop the history of books as a field of study; The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, translated into 19 languages; and his most recent publication, The Literary Tour de France: The World of Books on the Eve of the French Revolution.

The lecture was sponsored by the Wild Bunch Lecture Fund of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies, the Department of French & Italian, and the Department of History at Vanderbilt University.

Title: “Censors at Work: How States Shaped Literature”
Location: Community Room, Central Library, 4th floor
Date: February 7th, 2019
5:30pm - 6:30pm Presentation
6:30pm - 7:30pm Reception and book signing, Central Library Lobby


Past Conferences, Seminars, and Presentations

  • Verlaine Conference March 13-15, 2017
    The W.T. Bandy Center hosted a major international conference from March 13th to 15th with an array of scholars from around the world. Examples from the Hervé Vilez Verlaine Collection were available for viewing at the Center. Closing remarks were delivered with/by Provost Susan Wente, Chancellor Nick Zeppos, and Laurie Benton, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on the afternoon of March 15th. We are also planning a world premiere contemporary dance performance with Verlaine-themed choreography, that same afternoon. The proceedings will be filmed, and made available on the internet via the AmeriQuests platform ( Conference proceedings will be published in the Revue Verlaine. Since we will have the honor of hosting Hervé and Maryvonne Vilez for the occasion, as well as Seth Whidden who was the catalyst to the entire Verlaine enterprise here, we will also reserve ample time for Hervé to discuss his collection. (
  • Cultural Modernism IV: Baudelaire in Japan
    November 5-6, 2015
  • Bandy Center Special Event: Palmes Academiques
    September 30th, 2015
    Presentation of the Palmes Academiques to Emeritus Professor of French, Dan Church (Department of French & Italian, Vanderbilt University) by Denis Barbet, Consul General; Amelie de Gaulle, Honorary Consul in Tennessee; Alexandre Duran, Cultural Attache; Solene Vilchien, Deputy Cultural Attache; Gilles Leroy, Author; Heather Kircher, Press Attache.
  • "Cultural Modernism III: The French and Italian Avant-Garde."
    October 23-24, 2014
  • "Cultural Modernism in the Americas II: Latin America"
    April 3-4, 2014
  • "Cultural Modernism in the Americas I: Québec"
    April 18-19, 2013
  • Baudelaire: Translation, Criticism, Reception
    December 9 and 10, 2011
    Paris, France
    Conference sponsored by the Research Center « Littérature française XIXe-XXIe siècles » (University of Paris-Sorbonne) and the W. T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies (Vanderbilt University).
  • The 34th Annual International Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium
    October 16-18, 2008
    Vanderbilt University
    Nashville, Tennessee

    The theme for the 2008 NCFS colloquium was “Empire, Identity, Exoticism.” Contributions explored the intersection of these themes from a broad range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary methodologies and approaches—from literary, social, and political culture to visual aesthetics—in Nineteenth-Century France.


November 2013

  • Jean-Paul Avice, Librarian of the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris and noted Baudelaire scholar. "Baudelaire de L’Albatros au Cygne. L’invention des tableaux parisiens."

April 2013

  • Dr. Seth Whidden, Villanova University, Pascal Pia Fellow. "Terrains minés; or, How to Find Success on Two Continents"
    Bandy Center, Central Library

October 2012

  • Dr. Damian Catani, visiting W.T. Bandy Fellow from Birkbeck College, London University, presented his research topic “Modernity, Evil and Ethics: Reading Baudelaire through Eliot, Sartre and Bataille.”

April 2011

  • Professor Lamia Ben Youssef Zayzafoon, University of Alabama-Birmingham, read selections from her poem "The Women of Algiers Gaze Back," giving voice to the odalisques painted by Eugene Delacroix in his 1834 work titled Femmes D'Alger dans leur appartement [Women of Algiers in their Apartment]. She discussed the texts and contexts of Arabic women related to Delacroix and Baudelaire.

January 2010

  • Jeffrey Jackson, Professor of History, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN.
    “Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910.”
    Sponsored by the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies, W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies, Central Library and the Department of French & Italian.

April/May 2010

  • Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Chair, Department of Romance Studies, Cornell University.
    “L'hyperbole et l'apostrophe: Baudelaire and the Theory of the Lyric.”
    View the video recording of Professor Culler’s 50-minute lecture with accompanying handout. Sponsored by the National Humanities Center, the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies, and the Department of French & Italian.

    The lecture was part of a continuation seminar on “Reading Les Fleurs du Mal” led by Professor Culler at the National Humanities Center in July 2009. The 2010 seminar took place at the Bandy Center from April 29 to May 1 and provided the opportunity for past seminar participants to continue discussions on Baudelaire, give presentations, and research in our unique French collections at Vanderbilt.
  • Anne Birien, James Madison University
    Beautés fatales: detours, silences et cruautés du texte dans "Une Charogne" et "Une Martyre"
  • Daniel Sipe, University of Missouri
    Baudelaire’s Epistolary Dialectic
  • Steven Monte, College of Staten Island, CUNY
    From Baudelaire to Bishop: Questions of Travel
  • Lisa Weiss, Vanderbilt University
    Deteriorations of the City in Baudelaire’s Tableaux parisiens

March 2010

  • "Inside/Out: Including and Excluding in French Culture, Text and Art." March 26-27, 2010. Bandy Center and Central Library. Graduate Symposium organized by Jerome Brillaud, Professor of French, Vanderbilt University. Keynote speaker Professor Lawrence Kritzman, Dartmount College.
  • Mathide Labbé, Ph.D. Candidate, Université de Paris-Sorbonne.
    Presentation: "Réception Baudelaire et transmission de la culture littéraire"
    W. T. Bandy Center

July 2009

  • From July 5-10, 2009, the National Humanities Center Summer Institutes in Literary Studies in North Carolina hosted the seminar “Reading Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal.” The seminar was led by Professor Jonathan Culler for twelve invited fellows.

Fall 2007

  • Edward Ahearn, University Professor of Comparative Literature and French Studies at Brown University. “Sex, Race and the City.”
    Co-sponsored by the 2007-2008 Fellows of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal.

Spring 2006

  • Ed Colker, author, artist, educator. Lecture titled "Modern Arts of the Book."
    January 15-18, 2006 Part of the Vanderbilt Lecture Series, Sponsored by the Bandy Center, Department of French & Italian, English Department, Comparative Literature Department, Central Library, and the Robert Penn Warren Humanities Center.

Spring 2005

  • "Hugo and Baudelaire" Seminar directed by Professor Pat Ward.
  • Mary Ann Caws, Distinguished Professor of French, English, and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of CUNY.
    Lecture titled "Surrealism Still!" February 16, 2005.
    February 16-18, 2005 Part of the Vanderbilt Lecture Series Bandy Center, sponsored by the Bandy Center, Robert Penn Warren Humanities Center, History of Art, Comparative Literature, Department of French & Italian, English Department, Department of German, Department of Spanish & Portuguese.

Spring 2004

  • “The French Poe" Seminar directed by Professor Pat Ward with visiting Professor Steve Reich.

Spring 2000

  • "Baudelaire and His Critics: Benjamin, de Man, and Jameson.” Seminar directed by Professor Patricia Ward.
    Sponsored by the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies and The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University.

Spring 1998 (April 3-4, 1998)

  • Symposium: "L' Ere de Baudelaire." Honoring Claude Pichois, Distinguished Professor of French, Vanderbilt University. Organized by Bandy Center and Department of French & Italian, Vanderbilt University with exhibits coordinated with the Library and the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery.


Important Acquisitions

In April 2005, with generous funding provided by the Friends of the Library, the Bandy Center secured perhaps its greatest collecting coup ever: an exceedingly rare, complete first-edition copy of Baudelaire's masterpiece, Les Fleurs du Mal, in excellent condition. The acquisition marks a major milestone: the 3 million and first volume for the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries collection.

Baudelaire, Charles. Les Fleurs du mal. Paris: Poulet-Malassis et De Broise, 1857.