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Leon S. Roudiez, Former Chair of French Department, Dies at 86
Leon S. Roudiez

Leon S. Roudiez, Columbia professor emeritus and former head of the University's Department of French and Romance Philology, died June 18. He was 86.

Roudiez joined the faculty at Columbia in 1959 -- after teaching at Pennsylvania State University during the 1950s -- and served until his retirement in 1987. He was appointed a professor in 1962 and was French department chair from 1971to 1974.

Roudiez was born in Bronxville, N.Y. , and raised in France and Germany . He received his baccalaureate at the University of Paris in 1936 and a law degree there in 1938. He then returned to the United States to study at Columbia, where he obtained an M.A. in 1940 and a Ph.D. in 1950.

His studies were interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the Army Signal Corps and fought at Omaha Beach.

Roudiez was the managing editor of The French Review from 1953 to 1961. He wrote, edited and translated numerous books. Among the works he penned were Michel Butor (1965) and French Fiction Revisited (1991). The latter examined post-war fiction by such authors as Raymond Roussel, Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Duras and Alain Robbe-Grillet. In a review, Choice magazine said that no previous study had "succeeded so well in bridging the gap between the specialist and the general reader."

He also translated many books by French feminist and semiotician Julia Kristeva, including Black Sun (1992) and Nations Without Nationalism (1993).

Published: July 09, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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