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. His current book project 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Cloutier recently edited a volume of Jack Kerouac's unpublished experimental French writings for Les Éditions du Boréal entitled La vie est d'hommage, scheduled for release in April 2016. He has also translated into English Kerouac's two French novellas, "Sur le chemin" [On the Road] and "La nuit est ma femme" [The Night is My Woman], for an upcoming edition entitled The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished, & Newly Translated Writings by The Library of America.
His work will also be featured in an upcoming book, 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 will accompany a photography exhibition at the AIC (May to August 2016) and include, for the first time, the photographs taken by Parks for Ellison's essay, "Harlem Is Nowhere."
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 new course on “Making Comics” this 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.