Terence Cave


2009 Balzan Prize for Literature since 1500


Terence Christopher Cave, born on 1st December 1938, is a British citizen.

He is Emeritus Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Research Fellow at St John’s College, Oxford.

After earning his BA and PhD at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, he became Assistant Lecturer (1962-3) and Lecturer (1963-5) at St Andrew’s University. He then moved to the University of Warwick, where he was Lecturer (1965-70) and Senior Lecturer (1970-2). In 1972 he joined St John’s College, Oxford, as Fellow and Tutor in French (1972-2001), and subsequently became Professor of French at the University of Oxford (1989-2001).

He was also Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford (1971) and Visiting Professor at Cornell University (1967-69), University of California, Santa Barbara (1976), University of Virginia, Charlottesville (1979), University of Toronto (1991), University of Alberta (1992), University of Paris VII (1995), University of California, Los Angeles (1997) and Royal Holloway, University of London (2001-04).
In December 2001, he took early retirement in order to concentrate on his research. He is a scholar of international distinction and a leading exponent of interdisciplinary work.
Terence Cave is Member of the Academia Europaea (1990), Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Romance Studies of the University of London (1990), Fellow of the British Academy (1991), Member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters, Trondheim (1993), Honorary Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (1997), Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (2001), Honorary DLit, University of London (2007).
He is a leader in the field of Early Modern French Lliterature with publications including:

-    Devotional Poetry in France 1570-1613, Cambridge University Press, 1969

-    The Cornucopian Text: Problems of Writing in the French Renaissance, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1979 and reprints; trans. by Ginette Morel as Cornucopia. Figures de l’abondance au XVIe siècle: Érasme, Rabelais, Ronsard, Montaigne, Paris, Macula, 1997

-    Pré-histoires: textes troublés au seuil de la modernité, Geneva, Droz, 1999

-    Pré-histoires II: langues étrangères et troubles économiques au XVIe siècle, Geneva, Droz, 2001

-    How to Read Montaigne, London, Granta, 2007.

Together with Sarah Kay and Malcolm Bowie, he is the joint author of A Short History of French Literature, Oxford University Press, 2003.

He is the editor of Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ in Early Modern Europe: Paratexts and Contexts, Manchester University Press, 2008, and has also translated and edited for Oxford World’s Classics Madame de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves, the Princesse de Montpensier and the Comtesse de Tende (1992).
He has always taken a wider interest in European Literature and the History of Poetics. His principal contribution here is his book
-    Recognitions: A Study in Poetics, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1988 and reprints.

The following collection of his past essays includes substantial examples of his work across the whole range of his interests:
-    Retrospectives: Essays in Literature, Poetics and Cultural History, ed. by Neil Kenny and Wes Williams, Oxford, Legenda, 2009.

Professor Cave has published introductions to a variety of classic literary works in both French and English and is the author of a large number of articles, review articles and essays.

(October 2009)

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