Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Ph.D., Comparative Literature, UNC-Chapel Hill
Diane R. Leonard teaches comparative literature courses on a variety of topics: modernist/postmodernist narrative, twentieth-century drama, literature and the visual arts, the writings of modern women, and the concept of the fourth dimension in mathematics, art and literature. In the past she has served as both Chair and Director of Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature, and also as editor of UNC Studies in Comparative Literature. For some time her research focus has been a book-length analysis of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu in its relation to the writings of John Ruskin, showing to what extent Ruskin’s texts on the visual arts constitute the central matrix of elements out of which Proust constructed his narrative. As part of this project, she has translated and edited a volume of Proust's essays and letters on Ruskin, including a critical introduction and extensive bibliography, and has published numerous articles on the topic both here and abroad. For some years she has been a member of the équipe Proust of the Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes in Paris, where she has spent sabbaticals and summers working with other scholars in collaborative research on Proust’s manuscripts. Some of the fruits of these collaborations have been publications such as the Dictionnaire Marcel Proust and the Cambridge Companion to Proust, and symposia such as the Colloque de Cérisy’s “Nouvelles directions de la recherche proustienne” and the University of Illinois’ "Proust 2000" conference. Most recently she was invited to join an international collaborative project to transcribe, edit, and digitize Proust’s 75 cahiers of manuscripts for the Recherche, to be brought out in 150 volumes by a Belgian publishing house, Brepols. Her research has been funded by fellowships and grants from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Pogue Foundation, the University Research Council, the Center for European Studies, and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.