Jean-Christophe Cloutier received his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, an M.A. from SUNY Buffalo, and a B.A. in Liberal Arts and English from Concordia University, Montréal, in his native Québec (Canada). At Columbia, he also worked as an archivist in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library where, among other collections, he processed the papers of Samuel Roth, Erica Jong, and former publisher of Grove Press, Barney Rosset. He is currently completing a book on midcentury African American novelists and literary papers.
In 2009, Cloutier discovered Amiable with Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem (2017), a previously unknown novel by Claude McKay, in the papers of Samuel Roth. In collaboration with Brent Hayes Edwards, Cloutier edited a scholarly edition of the book that provides extensive historical contextualization of its composition, and a discussion of its implications for our understanding of McKay's late career.
Cloutier is the editor of Jack Kerouac's comprehensive original French writings, La vie est d'hommage (Éditions du Boréal, 2016). He has also translated into English Kerouac's two French novellas, "Sur le chemin" [On the Road: Old Bull in the Bowery] and "La nuit est ma femme" [The Night is My Woman], for the Library of America volume entitled The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished, & Newly Translated Writings, edited by Todd Tietchen.
His work is also featured in the catalogue, Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem, published by Steidl in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation and The Art Institute of Chicago. This catalogue accompanies a photography exhibition at the AIC (May 21 to August 28, 2016) and includes, for the first time, the photographs taken by Parks for Ellison's 1948 essay, "Harlem Is Nowhere," as well as Parks' complete series on Invisible Man.
His teaching and research interests fall largely within 20th Century and contemporary American literature, and also involve popular culture, notably comics and cinema. Here at Penn, he regularly teaches the graphic novel and has been co-teaching, with cartoonist extraordinaire Rob Berry, a creative writing seminar on “Making Comics.” See: https://makingcomicsatupenn.wordpress.com
His essays, reviews, and translations have been published in Modernism/Modernity, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Cinema Journal, Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Heroes & Superheroes, Public Books, A Time for the Humanities, UMBR(a), Transmission II, and others.