Philippe Desan is Howard L. Willett Professor of French and History of Culture at the University of Chicago. Originally from France, Desan is among the top Montaigne scholars alive today. He received his PhD from the University of California Davis (1984), and has published widely on several topics pertaining to the literature and culture of the French Renaissance, often in relation to their economic, political and sociological context. At the University of Chicago, he has served as Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division and as Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. He is the general editor of the Montaigne Studies. He has been awarded numerous honors for his scholarly work, including being named Knight of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (1994) and awarded the Ordre National du Mérite (2004) and the Ordre des Arts et Lettres (2011). He has also received the Prix de l'Académie Française (for the Dictionnaire de Montaigne) in 2005, the Grand Prix de l'Académie Française for "le rayonnement de la langue et littérature française" in 2015 and the Prix de l'Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques for his "Montaigne. Une biographie politique" in 2015.
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