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Professor Michelle Bolduc

Professor in Translation Studies


01392 724220

CV for Professor Michelle Bolduc

Michelle Bolduc, Professor in Translation Studies at Exeter, is an internationally recognized scholar of Translation Studies and Comparative Medieval Literature (French, Occitan, and Italian), and has published extensively on medieval literature (translatio) as well as on modern rhetoric--the New Rhetoric Project--and its translation. Under the direction of Barbara K. Altmann and F. Regina Psaki, she took a PhD in Comparative Literature with a specialization in Medieval Literatures from the University of Oregon; she has held positions at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Arizona.

Author of Translation and the Rediscovery of Rhetoric (2020) and The Medieval Poetics of Contraries (2006), she has published extensively on medieval literature and rhetoric.

She has also published on modern rhetoric – the New Rhetoric Project – and its translation, and is at the forefront of bringing the work of Chaïm Perelman’s and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca’s New Rhetoric Project into English. For this work she was awarded in 2014 a two-year National Endowment of the Humanities Scholarly Editions and Translations Award ($116,000), a prestigious grant funded by the United States federal government.

She has received University-level Certification [qualification] in Comparative Literature from France’s Ministère de l’Education nationale [French National Education Ministry]. Among other professional service, Michelle has served as an Executive Committee Member of the Occitan Discussion Group of the Modern Language Association (2011-2015), and as its President (2014), as well as Secretary-Treasurer of the Société Guilhem IX (2007-2009).

Research interests

Rooted in the medieval notion of translatio and the applied activity of translation, Michelle’s current research lies at the intersection of translation and rhetoric, straddling the boundaries of translation studies, the translatio(n) of modern rhetoric and philosophy, and medieval literature. 

She is the author of two books, and has published extensively on medieval literature and rhetoric, as well as on modern rhetoric – the New Rhetoric Project – and its translation.

Her most recent book, Translation and the Rediscovery of Rhetoric (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2020), shows how translation, as practice and as metaphor, serves as the vehicle for the transfer of rhetoric as an art of argumentation and persuasion from Classical Greece and Rome to modern Paris and Brussels by way of medieval France/Italy.

It explores a significant and quite specific transmission of rhetorical thought. Beginning with the Roman orator Cicero, it proceeds to the medieval Italian notary, philosopher, and statesman Brunetto Latini, whose translations of Cicero’s De inventione will plant the seeds for the renewal of rhetoric as an art of persuasion, radically changing the fate of rhetoric in the twentieth century in the work of the French literary critic Jean Paulhan and Belgian philosophers Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca.

As Helen Solterer (Duke University) comments, “Bolduc investigates this sequence as a way to think through the fundamental operation of translation, as much a political activity in Europe savaged by world war as in Republican Rome or medieval city-states. The result is an uncommon reflection on the civic value of artful language and the transmission of knowledge that is one birthright of every humanist.”



Professor Michelle Bolduc welcomes enquiries about postgraduate supervision (MRes, MPhil, PhD) in the fields of Translation Studies, thirteenth-century French, Occitan, and Italian Literature, and Modern Rhetoric (specifically the New Rhetoric Project).

She has taught a wide-ranging number of courses in Translation Studies as well as in French and Comparative Literature, including MA-level translation theory and applied French to English translation (specialized and literary), both of which she developed for online course delivery. She has also taught graduate seminars thematically related to the topos of translatio. Having taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels, she offers teaching expertise in several additional areas: comparative medieval literature, and European (especially French) intellectual culture—literature, philosophy, and the arts—of both the Middle Ages/Renaissance and the early twentieth century.

Michelle has been recognized for her innovative teaching, having been awarded a fellowship in the University of Wisconsin system-wide Teaching Fellowship Program and invited to the Wakonse Conference on College Teaching sponsored by the Arizona Board of Regents. Since 2012 she has also participated in a French pedagogical project (‘Voix d’Aujourd’hui’), bringing poetry and translation into high schools in Brittany, France, and thus having impact on a non-academic audience.