Tzvetan Todorov

Tzvetan Todorov

Tzvetan Todorov ( _bg. Цветан Тодоров) (born on March 1 1939 in Sofia) is a Franco-Bulgarian philosopher. He has lived in France since 1963 writing books and essays about literary theory, thought history and culture theory.

Todorov has 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 has been a visiting professor at several universities, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia and the University of California, Berkeley.

His honors have included the Bronze Medal of the CNRS, the Charles Lévêque Prize of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques and the first Maugean Prize of the Académie Française; he also is an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Todorov lives in Paris with his wife Nancy Huston and their two children.

Todorov's greatest contribution to literary theory was his defining of the fantastic, the fantastic uncanny, and the fantastic marvelous. Todorov defines the fantastic as being any event that happens in our world that seems to be supernatural. Upon the occurrence of the event, we must decide if the event was an illusion or whether it is real and has actually taken place. Todorov uses Alvaro from Cazotte's "Le Diable Amoureux" as an example of a fantastic event. Alvaro must decide whether the woman he is in love with is truly a woman or if she is the devil.

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, the text is purely fantastic.

Aside from his work in literary theory, Todorov also dabbled in philosophy a bit. 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.


*"Introduction à la littérature fantastique" (1970), translated 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.
*"Facing the extreme : moral life in the concentration camps" (2000), translated by Arthur Denner and Abigail Pollack.
*"Fragility of goodness : why Bulgaria's Jews survived the Holocaust" (2001), a collection of texts with commentary by Tzvetan Todorov.
*" [ Frail Happiness: An Essay on Rousseau] "(2001), translated by John T. Scott and Robert D. Zaretsky
*"French tragedy : scenes of civil war, summer 1944" (1996), translated by Mary Byrd Kelly ; translation edited and annotated by Richard J. Golsan.
*"Hope and memory : lessons from the twentieth century" (2003), translated by David Belos.
*"Imperfect garden : the legacy of humanism" (2002), translated by Carol Cosman.
*"Life in common : an essay in general anthropology" (2001), translated by Katherine Golsan and Lucy Golsan ; with a new afterword by the author.
*"Mikhail Bakhtin : the dialogical principle" (1984), translated by Wlad Godzich.
*"New world disorder : reflections of a European" (2005), preface by Stanley Hoffmann ; translated by Andrew Brown.
*"On human diversity : nationalism, racism, and exoticism in French thought" (1993), translated by Catherine Porter.
*"Voices from the Gulag : Life and Death in Communist Bulgaria" (1999), Tzvetan Todorov (ed.) ; translated by Robert Zaretsky.
*fr iconcite news | title='Humanisme, libéralisme et esprit des Lumières, entretien de Karim Emile Bitar avec Tzvetan Todorov' ('Humanism, Liberalism and the Spirit of the Enlightenment') | publisher=L'ENA hors les murs | date=June, 2007 | url=
*fr iconcite news | title='L'esprit des Lumières a encore beaucoup à faire dans le monde d'aujourd'hui' ('The Spirit of the Enlightenment still has a lot to do in today's world') | publisher=Le Monde | date=March 4, 2006 | url=,1-0@2-3246,36-747585@51-696669,0.html
*cite news | title='In search for lost crime: Tribunals, apologies, reparations, and the search for justice.' | publisher=The New Republic | date=January 26, 2001 | url=


* [ Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences]

ee also

* Fantastic
* Genre studies

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  • Tzvetan Todorov — Tzvetan Tódorov (búlgaro: Цветан Тодоров) (Sofía, Bulgaria, 1 de marzo de 1939) es un lingüista, filósofo, historiador, crítico y teórico literario de expresión y nacionalidad francesa, nacido en Bulgaria en 1939. Contenido 1 Trayectoria 1.1… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tzvetan Todorov — (bulgarisch Цветан Тодоров, dt. Transkription Zwetan Todorow; * 1. März 1939 in Sofia, Bulgarien), ist ein Schriftsteller und Wissenschaftler. Seine Forschungstätig …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Tzvetan Todorov — « Todorov » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Todorov (homonymie). Tzvetan Todorov …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tzvetan Todorov — Filósofo, historiador y teórico literario búlgaro de expresión francesa, nacido en Sofía en 1939. De su obra teórica destaca la difusión del pensamiento de los formalistas rusos; en sus textos historiográficos predomina el estudio de la conquista …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Todorov — Tzvetan Todorov Pour les articles homonymes, voir Todorov (homonymie). Tzvetan Todorov, né le 1er mars 1939 à Sofia en Bulgarie, est un essayiste et historien français d origine bulgare. Sommaire 1 …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Todorov (homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Todorov comme nom de famille Dean Todorov (1983 ), skieur alpin bulgare. Ivica Todorov (1950 ), joueur puis entraîneur de football serbe. Mitko Todorov… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Todorov — (Tzvetan) (né en 1939) essayiste français d origine bulgare. Analyse structurale et sémiologie littéraires sont au centre de ses recherches: Théorie de la littérature (1965); Poétique de la prose (1971); Théorie du symbole (1977); Critique de la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Tsvetan todorov — Tzvetan Todorov Pour les articles homonymes, voir Todorov (homonymie). Tzvetan Todorov, né le 1er mars 1939 à Sofia en Bulgarie, est un essayiste et historien français d origine bulgare. Sommaire 1 …   Wikipédia en Français

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