Dr J Patterson


My research interests centre on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature and the ways in which it channels social, moral and economic preoccupations in early modern France. In 2015 I published Representing Avarice in Late Renaissance France with OUP. This monograph considers how talk of greed slowly evolved from past traditions to inform wider debates on gender, enrichment and status in the French early modern period.

My current research project explores the vocabulary and concepts surrounding villain figures in the French Renaissance. It traces the moral, social and legal dimensions of villainy across a range of late Medieval and Renaissance French genres: poetry, prose fictions, treatises, chronicles, life writings, and, ultimately, drama, with cross-overs to Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre. A second monograph is envisioned, provisionally entitled Villains in French Renaissance Culture: An Anglo-French Approach.

I am currently involved in several collaborations. In 2015 I organized with Dr Emilia Wilton-Godberfforde (Open University) an interdisciplinary colloquium on ‘Vile Beings, Bodies and Objects in Early Modern France’. A special issue of Early Modern French Studies entitled Variations of Vileness is in preparation. In Oxford I am regularly involved in seminars such as The Relation of Literature and Learning to Social Hierarchy in Early Modern Europe. I am also part of an emergent interdisciplinary network of scholars working on ‘Early Modern Keywords: A European Vocabulary of Culture and Society in a Global Frame’.




Representing Avarice in Late Renaissance France (Oxford: OUP, 2015), 325 pp.


Journal articles:

‘“Diables incarnez, Machiavelistes, Heretiques”: The Villains of Pierre Matthieu’s La Guisiade Reconsidered’, French Studies 70, (2016), 1-16

‘“Viles personnes”: The Plebeian Multitudes in Charles Loyseau’s Traité des ordres’, The Seventeenth Century (2016). Online. DOI:10.1080/0268117X.2015.1111843

‘Rabelais’s Uncommon Villains: A Reinterpretation of Quart Livre 45-7’, Etudes Rabelaisiennes, 54 (2015), 97-113

‘Life Writing in the Early Modern Period: The Case of Guillaume Colletet’s Vie de François Villon’, French Studies Bulletin, 36:134 (2015), 4-7

‘Unresolved Debates on Usury and Greed in Late Renaissance France: Guillaume Bouchet and Others’, Renaissance Studies, 28 (2014), 659-75

‘Avarice in the Moral Landscape of Olivier de Serres’s Theatre d’agriculture et mesnage des champs (1600)’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 49 (2013), 244-56

‘Marie de Gournay, Poetry and Gender: In Search of “La vraye douceur”’, Seventeenth-Century French Studies, 32 (2010), 206-20


Book chapters:

‘Rabelais et son art textuaire: une lecture du Prologue du Quart Livre (1552)’, in the forthcoming Actes du colloque “Inextinguible Rabelais” (12-15 novembre, 2014) (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2016). Chapter submitted Feb. 2015

‘Jean Brinon and His Cenacle: an Enduring Sodalitas?’, in a forthcoming volume in commemoration of Philip Ford, ed. Ingrid de Smet and Paul White (Geneva: Droz, 2016). Chapter submitted Aug. 2014



English translation of Isabelle Moreau, ‘François Bernier: Philosophers’ Fictions / Traveller’s Visions’, in Method and Variation: Narrative in Early Modern French Thought, ed. Emma Gilby and Paul White (London: Legenda, 2013), pp. 89-101


Educational Resources:

‘Joachim Du Bellay, Défense et illustration de la langue française’, in The Literary Encyclopedia (2015), vol French Writing and Culture in the Renaissance, 1500–1500, ed. Tim Unwin, Phillip John Usher, and David Williams

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