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. A current book project, “Archival Vagabonds: 20th Century American Fiction and the Archive in Novelistic Practice,” explores the interplay between the archival and aesthetic sensibilities of American novelists including Claude McKay, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Jack Kerouac, Patricia Highsmith, and Stephen King.
In 2009, Cloutier discovered Amiable with Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem, a previously unknown novel by Claude McKay, in the papers of Samuel Roth. In collaboration with Brent Hayes Edwards, Cloutier is currently producing a scholarly edition of the book that will provide extensive historical contextualization of its composition, and a discussion of its implications for our understanding of McKay as well as the Harlem Renaissance.
Cloutier is also editing a volume of Jack Kerouac's unpublished experimental French writings for Les Éditions du Boréal entitled La vie est d'hommage, scheduled for release in Spring 2016. At the same time, he is translating into English Kerouac's two French novellas, "Sur le chemin" [On the Road] and "La nuit est ma femme" [Night is My Woman], for an upcoming edition entitled O Rich and Unbelievable Life!: Uncollected Prose Writings of Jack Kerouac. This edition will be released in Fall 2016 by The Library of America.
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 will be co-teaching, along with cartoonist extraordinaire Rob Berry, a new course on “Making Comics” this coming Spring. 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.