Robert N. Nicolich, a specialist in 17th-century literature and culture, taught at Catholic University from 1968 to his premature death in 1986. He served in many capacities in our department –as student advisor, Coordinator of the French Section, and even as Acting Chair. He was much loved by his students and colleagues, both at Catholic University and elsewhere, for he was well known in his field.

Following his death, a group of friends and colleagues, under the guidance of Dr. Ellen Ginsberg, decided to establish a special fund in his honor. Starting in 1987, every year or two, on or around the anniversary of his death, we have invited to Catholic University a scholar of particular distinction in 17th-century literature and culture.

2018 Nicolich Lecture

"Constructing a Global Catholicism in Local Places: The French Catholic Mission in 17th century Vietnam" by Dr. Keith P. Luria.

April 20, 2018, 5:00 p.m., Vincent P. Walter Room, Curley Hall. 

Past Lectures

  • 1987

    November 19, 1987: Dr. David Lee Rubin, Professor of French, University of Virginia: “Fable: Structure and End from Aesop to La Fontaine.”

  • 1988

    November 15, 1988: Dr. Marcel Gutwirth, Executive Officer, Ph.D. Program in French, The Graduate School and University Center, CUNY: “The Lesson of Sophonisbe: French Classicism and the Unloving Heroine.”

  • 1989

    November 17, 1989: Dr. Ronald W. Tobin, Professor of French and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Programs, University of California, Santa Barbara: “Molière’s Last Supper: Meaning and Materiality in Les Femmes savantes and Le Malade imaginaire.”

  • 1990

    November 19, 1990: Dr. Hugh M. Davidson, Professor Emeritus of French, University of Virginia: “Pascal and the Arts of the Mind.”

  • 1991

    November 21, 1991: Dr. Charles G. S. Williams, Professor of French, Ohio State University: “La Princesse de Clèves:Approaches to a Form.”

  • 1992

    November 13, 1992: Dr. Domna Stanton, Professor of French and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan: “The Female Mind Reformed: Pedagogy and Gender Ideology under Louis XIV.”

  • 1993

    November 18, 1993: Dr. Joan DeJean, Professor of French at the University of Pennsylvania: “The Invention of a Public for Literature: The Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.”

  • 1994

    November 18, 1994: Dr. John D. Lyons, Commonwealth Professor of French at the University of Virginia: “Passion in the Age of Reason.”

  • 1995

    November 16, 1995: Dr. Orest Ranum, Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University: “The Debate between Corneille and Richelieu over Clemency: A Life and Death Matter.”

  • 1996

    November 20, 1996: Dr. Buford Norman, Professor of French, University of South Carolina: “What Opera Can Tell Us about Classicism.”

  • 1997

    November 20, 1997: Dr. Michael Koppisch, Professor of French, Michigan State University: “The Method in Arnolphe’s Madness: Power and Identity in L’École des femmes.”

  • 1998

    November 20, 1998: Dr. Erica Harth, Professor of French, Brandeis University: “Seventeenth-Century France for the Twenty-First Century.”

  • 1999

    November 18, 1999: Dr. Ralph Albanese, Jr., Professor of French, University of Memphis: "La Fontaine and French Cultural Identity."

  • 2000

    November 17, 2000: Dr. Alice Stroup, Professor of French, Bard College: “Democritus and Heraclitus: The Human Condition in French Utopian Thought.”

  • 2001

    November 19, 2001: Dr. Pierre Force, Professor of French, Columbia University: “Pascal and Skepticism.”

  • 2002

    November 8, 2002: Dr. Richard Goodkin, Professor of French, University of Wisconsin Madison: “From Les Précieuses riduicules to Les Femmes savantes:Molière and the Novel.”

  • 2003

    November 0,2003: Dr. Elizabeth Goldsmith, Boston University: “Travel, letters and Runaway Women in the Age of Versailles.”

  • 2004

    November 19, 2004: Dr. Jonathan Dewald, Buffalo University: “Time and Identity: French Intellectuals and the Problem of the Seventeenth Century.”

  • 2005

    November 18, 2005: Dr. Guy Spielmann, Georgetown University: “How and Why We Should Reconsider Our Vision of Theater and (generally, performance) in 17th Century France and Therefore Revise Our Notion of “Classicisme.”

  • 2006

    November 27, 2006: Dr. Michèle Longino, Washington University: “Constantinople: The Telling and the Taking.”

  • 2008

    February 25, 2008: Dr. Harriet Stone, Washington University in St. Louis: “Object Lessons from the 17th Century: The Court of Versailles and Dutch Genre Painters.”

  • 2009

    November 12, 2009: Dr. Faith E. Beasley, Dartmouth College: “Encounters with India in the Age of Louis XIV.”

  • 2011

    February 3, 2011: Dr. Georgia Cowart, Case Western Reserve University: “Watteau and the Satiric Stage.”

  • 2012

    November, 19, 2012: Dr. Susan Pinkard, Georgetown University: “French Cooking in the Long 17th Century: Versailles to Louisiana.”

  • 2018

    April 20, 2018: Dr. Keith P. Luria, North Carolina State University: “Constructing a Global Catholicism in Local Places: The French Catholic Mission in 17th century Vietnam.”