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Photo of McClure, Ellen

Ellen McClure, PhD

Professor and Director of the Institute for the Humanities

History (French, intellectual, religious)

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Building & Room:

913 UH


601 S Morgan St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-3141


Professor McClure's primary scholarly interests are in 17th-century French literature, politics, including diplomatic theory and practice, and religion.  Her first book, Sunspots and the Sun King: Sovereignty and Mediation in Seventeenth-Century France (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006) explored the contradictions inherent in attempting to reconcile the logical and mystical aspects of divine right monarchy and its representations.  Her second book, The Logic of Idolatry in Seventeenth-Century French Literature (D.S. Brewer, 2020), examines how some of the century's best-known writers (d'Urfé, Descartes, La Fontaine, Sévigné, Molière, Racine) used the language and logic of idolatry to explore theories of human agency as well as the place of terrestrial beauty and love. She is the co-editor, with Hélène Bilis of Wellesley College, of the MLA volume Options for Teaching French Neoclassical Tragedy (forthcoming).

Professor McClure was also a 2009-2010 Institute for the Humanities Fellow, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and won a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Newberry Library. She currently directs the Mellon-funded Engaged Humanities Initiative at UIC, and she is the UIC contact for the Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar.

Selected Publications

“Comedy and the Limits of the Human in L’Ecole des femmes,” in Le nouveau molièriste, vol. 11 (2015), 141-158.

“Early Modern: Dieu, mais comme étoile mourante” on the website edited by Hélène Merlin-Kajman, (March 2015)

“Le monde de La Fontaine: Oeuvre sans auteur?” XVIIe siècle 258:1 (janvier-mars 2013): 65-74.

“Religion and Representation in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron,” in Sacred and

Secular Agency in Early Modern France, ed. Sanja Perovic, New York: Continuum Press, 2012, 52-67.

“Neo-Stoicism and the Spectator in Corneille’s Horace,” EMF: Studies in Early Modern France, vol. 13 (2010), 144-158.

“Cartesian Modernity and La Princesse de Clèves,” Seventeenth-Century French Studies, vol. 29 (2007), 73-80.