The Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture is deeply saddened by the loss of Anne Deneys-Tunney who passed away on November 5, 2017.
A professor at New York University since 1987, Anne Deneys-Tunney graduated from the École normale supérieure de Fontenay-aux-Roses, before going on to obtain her Agrégation de Lettres Modernes and her PhD from the Université Denis Diderot, Paris VII.
Her areas of research were French and European Eighteenth-century literature, political philosophy, and ethics. She worked extensively on Rousseau and Diderot, who were central figures in her research and teaching, and the focus of a book and many articles. A remarkable reader of the French ideologues, to whom she dedicated several studies, she co-authored a multi-volume edition of the works of Volney for the prestigious collection “Corpus des œuvres de philosophie en langue Française” directed by Michel Serres. She also wrote on Madame de Staël and women and the novel, and actively contributed throughout her career to the field of women’s studies. Besides holding a professorship at NYU, she taught at the EHESS, the École normale supérieure, as well as at numerous other European institutions, and was a member of Philépol at the Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne. Her best-known works are Écritures du corps. De Descartes à Laclos (PUF, 1992) et Un autre Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Le paradoxe de la technique (PUF, 2010). She also was the editor and coordinator of several volumes, the most recent being Rousseau Between Nature and Culture: Philosophy, Literature, and politics (De Gruyter, 2016) and Philippe Sollers ou l’impatience de la pensée (PUF, 2011).
Anne wrote, taught, spoke, and lived with passionate conviction. She was a free spirit, committed to intellectual adventure and to the rigorous critical and hermeneutical tradition stemming from the Enlightenment. She was an inspiring teacher, who is much mourned by the generations of dix-huitiémistes she helped to form. She was also a keen lover of experimental theater who directed and choreographed Narcisse by Jean-Jacques Rousseau at the Theater for the New City (the Johnson Theater), in New York City, in 2005; and La Dispute by Marivaux at the Judson Memorial Church, in New York City, in 2007. She had many close friends in the department where her loss is keenly felt by faculty and students alike.