Cholakian, Rouben C. 1932- (Rouben Charles Cholakian)

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Cholakian, Rouben C. 1932- (Rouben Charles Cholakian)


Born 1932; married; wife's name Patricia Francis. Education: Bates College, B.A.; Columbia University, M.A., Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Music, singing, theater.


Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, from faculty member to Burgess Professor of Romance Languages and Literature, 1963-96, professor emeritus, 1996—.


The William P. Shepard Collection of Provencalia: A Critical Bibliography, Hamilton College (Clinton, NY), 1971.

(Editor and translator, with wife, Patricia Francis Cholakian) The Early French Novella: An Anthology of Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century Tales, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1972.

The "Moi" in the Middle Distance: A Study of the Narrative Voice in Rabelais, J. Porrua Turanzas (Madrid, Spain), 1982.

The Troubadour Lyric: A Psychocritical Reading, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Complete Narratives of Francophone Caribbean Tales, E. Mellen Press, 1996.

The Bayeux Tapestry and the Ethos of War, Caravan Books (Delmar, NY), 1998.

Murder on the Junior Year in France (novel), Writers Club Press, 2000.

(With Patricia F. Cholakian) Marguerite de Navarre: Mother of the Renaissance, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

(Editor and translator, with Mary Skemp, and author of introduction) Marguerite de Navarre, Selected Writings: A Bilingual Edition/Marguerite de Navarre, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2008.


Born in 1932, Rouben C. Cholakian earned his B.A. at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia University. For over thirty years, he taught courses in the literature of medieval and Renaissance France at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, where he eventually retired as professor emeritus in 1996. Cholakian enjoyed music as a hobby, having sung tenor in the Oratorio Society and participated in theatrical productions while at Hamilton. He also directed Hamilton's Junior Year in France program seven times, which inspired his novel Murder on the Junior Year in France, which takes place during the 1968 student revolt in Paris. It centers on a travel director and his wife who are called upon to solve the murder of one of their students.

Cholakian has edited and written extensively about Renaissance literature. He wrote Marguerite de Navarre: Mother of the Renaissance with his wife, Patricia, who is also a Renaissance scholar. It is the biography of the Marguerite, Queen consort of Henry II of Navarre and sister of King Francis I of France. She is considered by scholars to be one of the greatest women writers of the sixteenth century, and sometimes is called the First Modern Woman. Her best-known literary work is the Heptameron, a collection of short stories about love, both sexual and romantic, that was first published in 1558. The Cholakians use this book as the basis for their biography of Marguerite, claiming that many of the events in the stories are drawn from her life, especially two instances of attempted rape. The Cholakians use many other sources, such as letters, poems, histories, and published biographies of Marguerite and her contemporaries, to support this theory and to follow the eventful and influential life of this remarkable woman.

Critics praised the clarity of the Cholakians' writing and the wealth of information they provide. In her review of Marguerite de Navarre for Church History, Larissa Juliet Taylor wrote that the book is "beautifully written, eminently readable, and informative. … It provides an essential background to study of a woman who was a major figure in the world of early-sixteenth-century France. Readers will find a wealth of information about her life and times, and for that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Cholakians." Mary B. McKinley, writing for the Renaissance Quarterly, called the book "a sympathetic, richly-colored portrait of an extraordinary woman, and a detailed panorama of the French court in the first half of the sixteenth century."



Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, February 1, 2007, J. Harrie, review of Marguerite de Navarre: Mother of the Renaissance, p. 1046.

Church History, December 1, 2006, Larissa Juliet Taylor, review of Marguerite de Navarre, p. 901.

French Studies, April 1, 1991, Simon Gaunt, review of The Troubadour Lyric: A Psychocritical Reading, p. 196; October 1, 2007, John Parkin, review of Marguerite de Navarre, p. 500.

Medium Aevum, September 22, 1991, Sarah Kay, review of The Troubadour Lyric, p. 313.

Modern Language Review, April 1, 1992, Ruth E. Harvey, review of The Troubadour Lyric, p. 466.

Renaissance Quarterly, December 22, 2006, Mary B. McKinley, review of Marguerite de Navarre, p. 1228.

Romance Philology, November 1, 1993, Mario Mancini, review of The Troubadour Lyric, p. 273.

Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, January 1, 1993, Sarah Spence, review of The Troubadour Lyric, p. 125.


Columbia University Press Web site, (May 14, 2008), review of Marguerite de Navarre.

Hamilton College Web site, (May 14, 2008), faculty profile.