An influential and original literary scholar, Prof. Emeritus Thomas Pavel recently received the 2023 Grand Prix de la Francophonie from the Académie Française for his contributions to the development of the French language and culture worldwide. His affection for past cultures, particularly the French and Francophone, inspired his research. Pavel sought meaning in both the famous aspects of the past and the half-forgotten ones.
“It is essential to study and teach the great books, but it is also fascinating to rediscover the less great books of the past,” said Pavel, the Gordon J. Laing Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Romance Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature, the Committee on Social Thought, and Fundamentals at UChicago. “These books tell us how the less grandiose, everyday culture of a certain period generated beautiful, meaningful art and thought.”