Antónia Szabari is an assistant professor of French and comparative literature at the University of Southern California. She specializes in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century French literature and the literary and religious culture of early modern Europe. Her recent work has focused on early modern books as polemical tools: “Rabelais Parrhesiastes: The Rhetoric of Insult and Rabelais’s Cynical Mask” in MLN (January 2005) and “The Scandal of Religion: Luther and Public Speech” in Political Theologies (forthcoming from Fordham University Press).
As a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Szabari will complete a book titled “Less Rightly Said: Scandalous Words in the French Reformation,” an analysis of the linguistic violence that attends the polemical literature exchanged between French Catholics and Protestants from 1532 to 1580. While historians usually interpret these pamphlets as propagandistic tools for promoting theological or political positions, she will explore a crucial aspect these pamphlets share regardless of their doctrinal or political positions: they all speak in the mode of offense. She will argue that only an approach attentive to the rhetorical and literary dimensions of these works can successfully account for the new strategies adopted by the various authors to increase the force of offensive speech acts and to justify their violence.
Szabari received her PhD from the Humanities Center at The Johns Hopkins University in 2004. She holds a DEA from the École des Hautes Études in Paris and a BA from the University of Szeged in Hungary.