Deborah A Lesko Baker




Department of French
General profile



+1 202-687-5699

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417 ICC


Deborah Lesko Baker is Professor of French at Georgetown University, where she was the Chair of the French Department from 1997-2009. A specialist in Early Modern lyric poetry and poetics in the Petrarchan and Classical traditions, Professor Lesko Baker received her Ph.D. in French from Yale University and her A.B in French from Princeton University.

She is the author of The Subject of Desire: Petrarchan Poetics and the Female Voice in Louise Labé (Purdue University Press, 1996) and Narcissus and the Lover: Recovery and Reinvention in Maurice Scève’s ‘Délie’ (Stanford French and Italian Studies, 1986), as well as articles on Renaissance poetry and mythic structures in literary texts. Most recently, she is the editor and co-translator (with poet Annie Finch) of the first bilingual critical edition of Louise Labé’s Complete Works, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2006. This edition was honored the following year by an Honorable Mention Award from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women.

In 2003 Professor Lesko Baker was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Government for her contributions to the promotion of French language, literature, and culture in the United States. In 2002-2003, she served as the Convenor of the Council of Chairs for all Departments and Programs in the Faculty of Languages & Linguistics of Georgetown College. She recently completed a five-year elected term on the Executive Committee of the Modern Language Association Division on 16th-Century French Literature, for which she served as Committee Secretary in 2007 and Committee Chair in 2008. She is also a long-time member of the Advisory Board for the Sweet Briar College Junior Year in Paris program.

Professor Lesko Baker designed and teaches the following upper-division courses in her areas of expertise: Desire, Gender, and Lyric in Early Modern France; Love, Humor, and Society in Early Modern France; and Myths in French Literature. She also enjoys teaching general introductory courses on the literature of the French-Speaking world, as well introductory French language. She received a Georgetown College Dean's Teaching Award in 1997.

Among the cultural enrichment events Professor Lesko Baker has co-coordinated recently at Georgetown, with Professor Roger Bensky, are the 2005 "Derrida...Cosa Mentale," a two-day commemoration of the late French philosopher and critic; the 2006 world premier of French Department colleague Amadou Koné's play SIGUI, SIGUILA, SIGUIYA (directed by Prof.Bensky), for which she was the Producer; and the 2008 week-long series of performance events "Haiti: Théatre et Vaudou.


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  • Ph.D. (1982) Yale University, French
  • M.Phil. (1978) Yale University, French
  • M.A. (1976) Yale University, French
  • A,B. (1975) Princeton University, French


  • French (speak, read, write)
  • French, Middle (ca. 1400-1600) (read)
  • French, Old (ca. 842-1400) (read)
  • Italian (read)
  • Latin (read)