Todorov, Tzvetan

Todorov, Tzvetan, 1939–2017, Bulgarian-French literary theorist, historian of ideas, and sociologist, b. Sofia, Bulgaria, Ph.D. Univ. of Paris, 1966. He joined (1968) the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris, and cofounded the Center for Arts and Language Research in 1983; he became a French citizen in 1973. Strongly influenced by Roland Barthes, he was associated with structuralism in the 1970s, as seen in his Introduction à la littérature fantastique (1970, tr. The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre 1973), a study of the fantastic in literary texts. He subsequently moved beyond structuralism and began to explore nationality, race, and conquest from the viewpoint of sociology and anthropology. Now calling himself a narratologist, he embraced a theory of narrative that had roots in structuralism but saw literature as having a social function as well as internal logic. His later books include La Conquête d'Amérique (1982, tr. The Conquest of America, 1984), Nous et les Autres (1989, tr. On Human Diversity, 1993), Face á l'extrême (1991, tr. Facing the Extreme, 1996), Tragédie française (1994, tr. French Tragedy, 1996), Le Nouveau Désordre mondial (2003, tr. The New World Disorder, 2005), and La Peur des barbares (2008, tr. The Fear of Barbarians, 2010).

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