Laurence M. Porter received three degrees from Harvard
University. He taught at Michigan State University between 1963 and
2009, where he received the Distinguished Faculty Award and chaired
the Department of Romance Languages and Classics. He was also an
Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative
Literature at the University of Pittsburgh. He was awarded a Senior
Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and
other research grants from the American Council of Learned
Societies and from the Ford Foundation. He served on the editorial
board of the journal Degre Second (1976-1992), and is
currently on the boards of The French Review,
Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Studies in
Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature, and Women
in French Studies.
He has published fifteen books and over one hundred twenty book chapters and articles in every period of French literature, in Comparative Literature, Critical Theory, Psychoanalytic Approaches to Literature, and Women's Studies. Among his best-known books are The Renaissance of the Lyric in French Romanticism; The Interpretation of Dreams: Freud's Theories Revisited; The Crisis of French Symbolism; Victor Hugo; and Women's Vision in Western Literature: The Empathic Community, with chapters on Sappho, Marie de France, Mary Shelley, Virginia Woolf, Marguerite Yourcenar, Christa Wolf, and others. He co-hosted the International Colloquium on Nineteenth-Century French Studies in 1978, and delivered the plenary address at the annual meeting of that organization in 2000.