Paul de Man Biography

Paul de Man (December 6, 1919, Antwerp – December 21, 1983, New Haven, Connecticut) was a Belgian-born deconstructionist literary critic and theorist.

He began teaching at Bard College. Later, he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in the late 1950s. He then taught at Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Zurich, before ending up on the faculty in French and Comparative Literature at Yale University, where he was considered part of the Yale School of deconstruction. At the time of his death from cancer, he was Sterling Professor of the Humanities and chairman of the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale. De Man oversaw the dissertations of Gayatri Spivak (at Cornell), Barbara Johnson (at Yale), Samuel Weber (at Cornell), and many other noted scholars.

After his death, the discovery of some two hundred articles he wrote during World War II for collaborationist newspapers, including one explicitly anti-Semitic, caused a scandal and provoked a reconsideration of his life and work.