Célia Abele holds a Ph.D. in French and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, an M.A. in Littératures comparées from Paris IV (Paris-Sorbonne), and a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. Her research interests span the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries; they draw on literary studies, history of science, comparative literature, intellectual history, and material and visual culture, focusing particularly on France and Germanophone Europe.
At Princeton, she is working on her first book, with the tentative title “Collecting Knowledge, Writing the World: An Enlightenment Project.” It focuses on the documentary and research practices of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, Emile Zola, and W.G. Sebald to argue that they belong to a tradition originating in the Enlightenment that gives the document a central place in the process of mediation between the self and the world. Her research on this project has been supported by a Mellon International Humanities Travel Grant and the ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship.
Her publications have appeared in Nineteenth-Century French Studies and are forthcoming in Eighteenth-Century Studies. She is currently working on an article on how Zola’s field research fits into eighteenth and nineteenth century paradigms of chemical research and erudition. Another article in progress attempts to refigure Rousseau’s Rêveries du promeneur solitaire as a key moment in the formation of literary prose realism with origins in eighteenth-century scientific practices. This spring, she will teach a class with an expansive view of the intertwining of literature and science in eighteenth and nineteenth century France, Styles of Literature and Science. Attention to the fine grain of practices of writing and style will also be at the core of the class she is teaching this fall, Advanced French Language and Style.