René Galand

Faculty emeritus
Licence ès letters, University of Rennes; Ph.D., Yale University

René Galand

Professor Emeritus of French

Scholar of 19th and 20th century French literature; author of poetry, short stories, and other works in Breton.

During World War II, I joined the Résistance and took part in the fighting against the German Army of Occupation. In August and September 1945, my unit joined forces with the combat commands of General Middleton (from Patton’s Army) against the Kreta Korps (25000 men) commanded by the German General Ramcke , and we captured the fortified position of the Menez Hom and the Naval Aviation base of Lanvéoc-Poulmic south of Brest while the Americans forced  thee surrencer of General Ramcke and captured the port of Brest and its U-Boot base. Having been accepted at the École Spéciale Militaire (the French West Point), I graduated in June 1945 with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and served with the French Forces of Occupation in Germany until the fall of 1946.

In 1947, I entered Yale as a graduate student. In 1947, having completed my doctoral thesis, I joined the Wellesley College faculty. In 1993, I retired with the rank of Professor of French emeritus. At Wellesley, I mainly taught courses in XIXth and XXth French century literature and in literary translation. My publications include five books and numerous articles on Chateaubriand, Renan, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Saint-John Perse, Proust, Camus, Robbe-Grillet and other French authors. I have also published articles on Poe, Melville, T.S. Eliot, Lovecraft, Kerouac, and the Spanish poet Jorge Guillén who taught at Wellesley in the forties and fifties. These articles have appeared in PMLA. the French Review, the Romanic ReviewSymposium, the Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France, the Revue de Littérature comparée, and other journals and collections of literary essays. For my contribution to the study of French literature, I was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

A native of Western Brittany where the Breton language is spoken, I have devoted much time to the history, the languages, the literatures and the cultures of the Celtic nations. I have presented papers at meetings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium and of CSNA [Celtic Studies Association of North America] and given lectures on Breton literature notably at Harvard and the New York French Institute. My publications in this field include three volumes of poems, two volumes of memoirs, one volume of novellas and short stories, uncollected poems and short stories, and numerous articles which have appeared in the Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium, in World Literature Today, in the Breton literary journal Al Liamm, and in volumes of essays on Celtic subjects.  Some of my writings have appeared in translation in French, English, German, Welsh, Dutch and Polish publications. My first volume of poems was awarded the Prix Xavier de Langlais in Breton literature (1981), In 2003, I also received the Imram Prize for my life-time contribution to Breton literature.