Virginia A. Krause Professor of French Studies

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work


Witchcraft, Demonology, and Confession in Early Modern France (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Idle Pursuits: Literature and ‘Oisiveté’ in the French Renaissance (University of Delaware Press, 2003).


Jean Bodin, De la démonomanie des sorciers, co-edited with Christian Martin and Eric MacPhail (Droz, 2016).

Recent Articles:

“Sorcellerie et subjectivité: la sorcière, bête d’aveu ? (Les Anormaux dans le sillon de L’Histoire de la sexualité),” Foucault et la Renaissance, ed. Olivier Guerrier (Paris: Les Classiques Garnier, forthcoming).

"Witchcraft and Subjectivity: The Trial of the Marlou Witches (1582-83)," Memory and Community in Sixteenth-Century French Literature, ed. David Laguardia and Cathy Yandell (Farnham, UK: Ashgate University Press, 2015): 217-241.

“Listening to Witches: Bodin’s Use of Confession in De la Démonomanie des sorciers,” The Reception of Jean Bodin.  Ed. Howell Lloyd (Leiden: Brill, 2013): 97-115

"Montaigne's Errors of Youth: Lyricism and Confession in "Sur de vers de Virgile," Montaigne Studies XVIII (Spring 2006): 25-36.

"Confessional Fictions and Demonology in Renaissance France," Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 35.2 (Spring 2005): 327-34.


research overview

Virginia Krause's research focuses on Renaissance France

research statement

            Having worked on idleness, witchcraft, and now on the rise of the novel, Professor Krause is interested not in the Renaissance's positivistic endeavors and productions, but rather in its more opaque pursuits, those undertaken in the shadows.  In Idle Pursuits (2003), for instance, she did not set out to investigate the busy professional reality of the hommes de lettres in France's Fourth Estate, but rather their investments in an alternative economy of prestige: not what they did (their work), but rather their art of idleness practiced in the shadow of their public lives.  Witchcraft, Demonology, and Confession (2015) examines the methods employed by demonologists, specialists in the early modern "science of demons," without neglecting the point of view of the "witch"– someone denounced by neighbors and interpellated to speak as a witch in the course of an early modern trial for witchcraft.  Her current project, The Rise of the Novel in Early Modern France examines a genre occupying an elusive place in the literary landscape of the time insofar as it fell outside the purview of classical poetics and rhetoric.  With no constituted "theory of the novel" in Renaissance France, the early novel emerged in a literary no-man's land.  Forever in the shadow of epic but without the recognition and stature of this most prestigious of genres, the early novel was free to invent itself as it went along, offering new terrain for writers interested in experimental fictions. 

            In all of her books, completed and in progress, Krause turns her critical gaze to oblique, dimly lit places, not out of fascination for the arcane or obscure, but because for the early modern period, what we know is vastly outweighed by what remains unknown. She seeks new answers to old questions: what social stratum produced France's literary elite (Idle Pursuits), what drove the infernal machine of the early modern witch-hunts (Witchcraft, Demonology, and Confession) and in what cultural and literary terrain was the early novel able to take root (The Rise of the Novel).  But she also seeks new questions: what cultural capital was produced through idleness, what forms of subjectivity were possible in an early modern trial for witchcraft, how were the mechanics of the early novel practiced.  This period is for her a labyrinth and shifting the gaze away from dominant paradigms opens new paths of inquiry.



funded research

Newberry Library fellowship in 1999 ($1200)

3 Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) grants awarded by Brown University in 2002, 2003, 2005