Gordon Sayre

Gordon Sayre profile picture
  • Title: Professor
  • Additional Title: Interim Summer 2020 Head of English, Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Phone: 541-346-1313
  • Office: 472 PLC
  • Office Hours: S22: 1-2 Wednesday 1-3 Thursday
  • Curriculum Vitae



  • Jean-François-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny, The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont, 1715-1747: A Sojourner in the French Atlantic (translation of Regards sur le monde atlantique, co-edited with Carla Zecher) Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture / University of North Carolina Press, 2012. Honorable Mention, Lois Roth Award for a Translation of a Literary Work, Modern Language Association, 2012.
  • The Indian Chief as Tragic Hero: Native Resistance and the Literatures of America, from Moctezuma to Tecumseh. University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
  • American Captivity Narratives: An Anthology.  Houghton-Mifflin/Riverside, 2000
  • "Les Sauvages Américains:" Representations of Native Americans in French and English Colonial Literature. University of North Carolina Press, 1997


Selected Articles:

  • “The Humanity of the Car: Automobility, Agency, and Autonomy” Cultural Critique 107 (Spring 2020)
  • “Michipichik and the Walrus: Anishinaabe Natural History in the 17th-century work of Louis Nicolas.” Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies17:4 (Fall 2017).
  • “The Alexandrian Library of Life: A Flawed Metaphor for Biodiversity.” Environmental Humanities 9:2 (November 2017), 280-299.
  •  “Self-portraiture and commodification in the work of Huron/Wendat artist Zacharie Vincent, aka ‘Le dernier Huron.’” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 39:2 (2015).
  • “The Bad Guys Wear Tricornered Hats’: The Villasur Massacre of 1720 and the Segesser II Hide Painting in Spanish and French Colonial Literature” Before the West was West: Critical Essays on Pre-1800 Literature of the American Frontiers. Ed. Amy T. Hamilton and Tom J. Hillard. Lincoln: U. Nebraska Press, 2014; 191-212.
  • “’Take my scalp, please!’: Colonial Mimetism and the French Origins of the Mississippi Tall Tale” Colonial Mediascapes ed. Jeffrey Glover and Matt Cohen. Lincoln: U. Nebraska Press, 2014: 203-229.
  • “The Oxymoron of American Pastoralism.” Arizona Quarterly 69:4 (Winter 2013), 1-22.
  • “How to succeed in exploration without really discovering anything: four French travelers in  colonial Louisiana, 1714-1763” Atlantic Studies 10:1 (2013)
  • “A Newly-Discovered Manuscript Map by Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz” French Colonial History 11:1 (2010), 23-45.
  • “Renegades from Barbary: The Transnational turn in Captivity Studies” American Literary History 22.2/Early American Literature 45:2 A special joint issue, edited by Sandra Gustafson and Gordon Hutner, 2010.
  • “Natchez Ethnohistory Revisited: New Manuscript Sources from Le Page du Pratz and Dumont de Montigny” Louisiana History 50:4 (Fall 2009), 407-431.
  • "Plotting the Natchez Massacre: Le Page du Pratz, Dumont de Montigny, Chateaubriand."   Early American Literature37:3 (Fall 2002): 381-413. Awarded Richard Beale Davis Prize, 2003.



I'm a specialist in colonial and Early American Literature from the sixteenth through early nineteenth centuries, with particular interest in French colonial history and literature, in the exploration and cartography of North America, in Native American literature and ethnohistory, and in natural history and eco-criticism. I also teach courses for the Folklore and Environmental Studies programs, and have recently developed a research program in cars and automobility.  I have developed and taught at the UO include:

  • ENG 645 Libraries of Life: Species and Print, Extinction and Archive
  • Honors College Colloquium 434: Revolution and Exile in the Atlantic World: France, the USA, and Haiti
  • ENG 461 American Literature to 1800


PhD 1993 State University of New York at Buffalo

AB 1988 Brown University


The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont, 1715-1747

Translated by Gordon Sayre.

Jean-François Benjamin Dumont de Montigny (1696-1760) was the youngest son of a Paris magistrate, who was given a commission as a lieutenant in the French colonial military, and spent eighteen years in Louisiana. He witnessed the founding of New Orleans, battles with the Chickasaw and Natchez Indians, and finally established himself as a farmer. His manuscript... Read more