Bruce Hayes

Associate Professor of French
Chair, Department of French & Italian
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2104
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594
Second office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2067


Contact information


Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A. in French Studies, Yale University

M.A., B.A. in French Studies, Brigham Young University



Bruce Hayes is an associate professor of French literature and culture at the University of Kansas, where he has taught since 2001. He specializes in late medieval and Renaissance literature and culture, with a particular focus in popular culture and humor. His current book-length project, Castigating Comedy: Polemical Humor before and during the French Wars of Religion, explores both regionally (Nérac in southern France, Rouen, Geneva, and Paris) and historically (1534, the Affaire des placards to 1562, the outbreak of the first French War of Religion), the ideological and polemical uses of humor and satire during this turbulent time in France’s history. His work has appeared in journals and series such as French Studies, The French Review, Études Rabelaisiennes, Cahiers d’Humanisme et Renaissance, French Forum, and Renaissance and Reformation. In 2010, he published a monograph, Rabelais's Radical Farce: Late Medieval Comic Theater and Its Function in Rabelais (Ashgate), which has been called “a thought-provoking contribution to late medieval and Renaissance studies” (Renaissance Quarterly). Awards and fellowships he has received include a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, an American Philosophical Society Franklin Grant, and a Newberry Library Fellowship. At KU, he is currently department chair.  

Recent Publications


Castigating Comedy: Polemical Humor Leading up to the French Wars of Religion. (Under review)​

Rabelais’s Radical Farce: Late Medieval Comic Theater and Its Function in Rabelais.  Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press, 2010.

Co-edited volumes

Yale French Studies special issue: “The Construction of a National Vernacular Literature in the Renaissance.” Co-edited with Jessica DeVos. Forthcoming in 2018.

Œuvres et Critiques 38.2 (2013): “Jean Boucher, 1548–1646 (?) : prêtre, prédicateur, polémiste.” Co-edited with Paul Scott.


“La farce hybride dans l’œuvre rabelaisienne : les exemples de Thaumaste et de Dindenault.”  Rabelais et l’hybridité des récits rabelaisiens. Diane Desrosiers, Claude La Charité, Christian Veilleux, and Tristan Vigliano, eds. Études Rabelaisiennes 56 (2017): 77–85.

“The Affaire des placards, Polemical Humour, and the Sardonic Laugh.” French Studies 70.3 (2016): 332–47

Frances Devlin and Bruce Hayes. “A Faculty/Librarian Collaboration to Restructure a Graduate Research Methods Class for French Literature Students.” The French Review 89.2 (2015): 146‑61.

“Le risus sardonicus de Jean Boucher.” Œuvres et Critiques 38.2 (2013): 25-38.

“The Transgressive Ethics of the Trickster in Late Medieval and Post-Reformation French Farce.” At Whom Are We Laughing? Humor in Romance Language Literatures. Zenia Sacks DaSilva and Gregory M. Pell, eds. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013: 41-54.

“Les perplexités de la masculinité : cynisme, scepticisme et caritas chrétienne dans le Tiers livre de Rabelais.” Les Interférences des écoles de pensée antiques dans la littérature de la Renaissance. Edward Tilson, ed. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2013: 205-20.

Recent Graduate Courses Taught

French Women Writers of the Renaissance

Masculinity in the Renaissance

Rabelais and Montaigne

Poésie lyrique à la Renaissance

Events, Ideologies, and Literature Surrounding the French Wars of Religion

Introduction to Graduate Studies

Recent Undergraduate Courses Taught

The Obscene and the Grotesque in French Literature

French Literature of the Renaissance

The French Wars of Religion

La France d’aujourd’hui

Survey of French Culture, Middle Ages and Renaissance

Introduction to French Literature

Areas of Interest

French Renaissance Literature and Culture, Renaissance Studies, Late Medieval and Renaissance Drama, Humor Studies



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