TZVETAN TODOROV (French: ; Bulgarian : Цветан Тодоров; March 1, 1939 – February 7, 2017) was a Bulgarian -French historian , philosopher , structuralist literary critic , sociologist and essayist. He is the author of many books and essays, which have had a significant influence in anthropology , sociology , semiotics , literary theory , thought history and culture theory .
* 1 Early life * 2 Career * 3 Personal life and death * 4 Bibliography * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links
Signature of Todorov
Todorov was appointed to his post as a director of research at the
French Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in 1968. In 1970,
he helped to found the journal Poétique, of which he remained one of
the managing editors until 1979. With structuralist literary critic
Gérard Genette , he edited the Collection Poétique, the series of
books on literary theory published by Éditions de Seuil, until 1987.
He was a visiting professor at several universities in the US,
Todorov published a total of 21 books, including The Poetics of Prose (1971), Introduction to Poetics (1981), The Conquest of America (1982), Mikhail Bakhtin : The Dialogical Principle (1984), Facing the Extreme: Moral Life in the Concentration Camps (1991), On Human Diversity (1993), Hope and Memory (2000), and Imperfect Garden: The Legacy of Humanism (2002). Todorov's historical interests have focused on such crucial issues as the conquest of The Americas and the Nazi and Stalinist concentration camps .
Todorov's greatest contribution to literary theory was his defining
Upon choosing whether the event was real or imaginary, Todorov says that we enter into the genres of uncanny and marvelous. In the fantastic uncanny, the event that occurs is actually an illusion of some sort. The "laws of reality" remain intact and also provide a rational explanation for the fantastic event. Todorov gives examples of dreams, drugs, illusions of the senses, madness, etc. as things that could explain a fantastic/supernatural event. In the fantastic marvelous, the supernatural event that occurs has actually taken place and therefore the "laws of reality" have to be changed to explain the event. Only if the implied reader cannot opt for one or the other possibility is the text purely fantastic.
Aside from his work in literary theory, Todorov has also published studies of philosophy. He wrote Frail Happiness about the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau . He focuses on Rousseau's ideas of attaining human happiness and how we can live in 'modern' times.
In one of his major works, Facing the Extreme , Todorov asks whether
it is true the Nazi concentration camps and the Soviet gulags revealed
that in extreme situations "all traces of moral life evaporate as men
become beasts locked in a merciless struggle for survival" (31–46).
That opinion is commonplace of popularized accounts of the camps, and
also appears in accounts of survivors themselves.
Todorov's honors include the
CNRS Bronze Medal , the Charles
Lévêque Prize of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques
and the first Maugean Prize of the
PERSONAL LIFE AND DEATH
Todorov was married twice. His first wife was the scholar Martine van Woerkens and his second was Nancy Huston , with whom he had two children, until 2014. He died on February 7, 2017, at the age of 77. He is survived by a son, Boris, from the first marriage, and a daughter, Léa, and a son, Sacha, from the second.
* Introduction à la littérature fantastique (1970), translated by
Richard Howard as The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary
Genre in 1973
* Conquest of America: The Question of the Other (1984), translated
from the French by Richard Howard.
* Mikhail Bakhtin: the dialogical principle (1984), translated by
Wlad Godzich .
* On human diversity: nationalism, racism, and exoticism in French
thought (1993), translated by Catherine Porter.
* French tragedy: scenes of civil war, summer 1944 (1996),
translated by Mary Byrd Kelly; translation edited and annotated by
Richard J. Golsan.
* Voices from the Gulag: Life and Death in Communist Bulgaria