Prof N Kenny

Professor of French, University of Oxford; Senior Research Fellow,

Research

My research mostly focuses on early modern French literature and thought, especially from the early sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century. I am currently working on families that produced more than one writer or scholar. That is part of a broader long-term project on the relation of literature and learning to social hierarchy in early modern France.

Graduate teaching

I am pleased to consider supervising DPhils on any area of French literature, thought, and culture c. 1500–1650.

The areas in which I have previously supervised doctorates include poetry, narrative fiction, intellectual history, scientific writing, gender, travel writing, and socio-economic approaches to literature. 

Throughout the year I run a fortnightly workshop for Medieval and Modern Languages students on ‘Researching and Writing a DPhil: Problems, Methods’. All DPhil students in the Faculty are welcome to attend (on a regular or occasional basis). Details are on the lecture list.

Publications

Books

The Palace of Secrets: Béroalde de Verville and Renaissance Conceptions of Knowledge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991).
Curiosity in Early Modern Europe: Word Histories (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, Wolfenbütteler Forschungen, 1998).
The Uses of Curiosity in Early Modern France and Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
An Introduction to Sixteenth-Century French Literature and Thought: Other Times, Other Places (London: Duckworth, 2008).
Death and Tenses: Posthumous Presence in Early Modern France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). Click here for related podcast.

Edited books

Philosophical Fictions and the French Renaissance, ed. by Neil Kenny (London: Warburg Institute, Surveys and Texts, 1991).
— Terence Cave, Retrospectives: Essays in Literature, Poetics, and Cultural History, ed. by Neil Kenny and Wes Williams (London: Legenda, 2009).
La Librairie de Montaigne, ed. by Philip Ford and Neil Kenny (Cambridge: Cambridge French Colloquia, 2012).
Montaigne in Transit: Essays in Honour of Ian Maclean, ed. by Neil Kenny, Richard Scholar, and Wes Williams (Oxford: Legenda, 2016).

Articles

— ‘Changing the Languages of Theatre: A Comparison of Brecht and Artaud’, Journal of European Studies, 13 (1983), 169–86.
— ‘Satire, parodie et philosophie chez Béroalde de Verville’, in Burlesque et formes parodiques dans la littérature et les arts: actes du colloque de l’Université du Maine, Le Mans, ed. by Isabelle Landy-Houillon and Maurice Ménard (Seattle and Tübingen: Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, 1987), pp. 231–47.
— ‘Pastoral Love Parodied: Les Avantures de Floride by Béroalde de Verville’, La Chouette (Birkbeck College French Department), 10 (1988), 3–12.
‘From Poetry to Prose: Béroalde de Verville and Philosophical Writing’, Renaissance Studies, 3 (1989), 178–92.
‘Curiosité and Philosophical Poetry in the French Renaissance’, Renaissance Studies, 5 (1991), 263–76.
— ‘In Search of Renaissance Conceptions of Knowledge’, Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies, 8 (1991), 16–25.
‘Le Moyen de parvenir: The First Edition, its Date, and the Woman who Printed it’, in Studies on Béroalde de Verville, ed. by Michael Giordano (Paris, Seattle, Tübingen: Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, 1992), pp. 21–41.
‘Montaigne et les femmes “attachées à la rhétorique”: autour d’un passage de l’essai III.3, “De trois commerces”’, in Montaigne et la rhétorique: actes du colloque de St Andrews (28–31 mars 1992), ed. by John O’Brien, Malcolm Quainton, and James Supple (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1995), pp. 203–19.
‘Interpreting Concepts after the Linguistic Turn: The Example of curiosité in Le Bonheur des sages / Le Malheur des curieux by Du Souhait (1600)’, in Interpréter le seizième siècle, ed. by John O’Brien (Michigan Romance Studies, XV, 1996), pp. 241–70.
‘“car le nom mesme de liberalité sonne liberté”: les contextes sociaux et économiques du savoir chez Béroalde de Verville’, in Béroalde de Verville: actes du treizième colloque international organisé à l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne le 9 mars 1995 par le Centre V. L. Saulnier (Paris: Presses de l’École Normale Supérieure, 1996), pp. 7-24.
‘Books in Space and Time: Bibliomania and Early Modern Histories of Learning and “Literature” in France’, Modern Language Quarterly, 61.2 (2000), 253–86.
‘“La France, si curieuse de nouveautez”: le concept composite de “curiosité” aux débuts de la presse périodique en France (1631–1633)’, in ‘D’une fantastique bigarrure’: Le Texte composite à la Renaissance. Études offertes à André Tournon, ed. by Jean-Raymond Fanlo (Paris: Champion, 2000), pp. 289–302.
‘Plautus, Panurge, and “les aventures des gens curieux”’, (Re)inventing the Past: Essays in Honour of Ann Moss, ed. by Gary Ferguson and Catherine Hampton (Durham: University of Durham, 2003), pp. 51–71.
‘Montaigne Read by and through Gournay the Writer: The Example of conférence’, in Le Visage changeant de Montaigne / The Changing Face of Montaigne, ed. by Keith Cameron and Laura Willett (Paris: Champion, 2003), pp. 321–34.
‘“Ce nom de Roman qui estoit particulier aux Livres de Chevalerie, estant demeuré à tous les Livres de fiction”: la naissance antidatée d’un genre’, in Le Renouveau d’un genre: le roman en France au XVIe siècle, ed. by Michèle Clément and Pascale Mounier (Strasbourg: Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, 2005), pp. 19–32.
— ‘The Metaphorical Collecting of Curiosities in Early Modern France and Germany’, in Curiosity and Wonder from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, ed. by R. J. W. Evans and Alexander Marr (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), pp. 43–62.
‘La Part du dire dans le contredire, ou l’inconstance des paroles humaines: Léry, Montaigne, Colletet’, Seizième siècle, 4 (2008), 255–87.
‘ambiguè dictum, & obscurè dictum: Plaute, Panurge, et les “aventures des gens curieux”’, in L’Énigmatique à la Renaissance: formes, significations, esthétiques. Actes du colloque organisé par l’association Renaissance, Humanisme, Réforme (Lyon, 7–10 septembre 2005), ed. by Daniel Martin, Pierre Servet, and André Tournon (Paris: Champion, 2008), pp. 361–74.
— ‘Passions, Emotions, and Pre-Histories’, in Pre-Histories and Afterlives: Studies in Critical Method for Terence Cave, ed. by Anna Holland and Richard Scholar (London: Legenda, 2009), pp. 15–27.
‘“Renaissance” History in Modern French Drama: The Lure of the Impossible?’, Nottingham French Studies, 49.3 (2010), 79–86.
‘Making Sense of Intertextuality’, in The Cambridge Companion to Rabelais, ed. by John O’Brien (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 57–72.
— ‘“Quand la curiosité se trouve jointe à un peu d’imagination […]”: conjonctions d’une passion et d’une faculté’, in Doute et imagination: constructions du savoir de la Renaissance aux Lumières, ed. by Geneviève Goubier, Bérengère Parmentier, and Daniel Martin (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2011), pp. 25–36.
‘“Ce qui occasionna ceste Serée fut…”: les “causes” du savoir dans Les Serées de Guillaume Bouchet’, in Contes et discours bigarrés, Cahiers V. L. Saulnier 28 (Paris: Presses de l’université Paris–Sorbonne, 2011), pp. 103–16.
‘Sixteenth-Century Thought’, in The Cambridge History of French Literature, ed. by William Burgwinkle, Nicholas Hammond, and Emma Wilson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 229–38.
‘La Collection comme mode discursif dans les relations de voyage françaises aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles’, French Studies, 65.3 (2011), 357–69.
‘Problems of Power in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron: Ruse, Mortification, and the Everyday’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 47.3 (2011), 251–61.
‘Disinterring and Reinterring the Dead: Tense in French Grammars, Du Vair, and Pasquier (c. 1550–1610)’, Romanic Review, 103.1–2 (2012), 209–31.
‘“Je ne me réputerai totalement mourir”: Tense, Death, Survival in Rabelais’s Pantagruel’, in Evocations of Eloquence: Rhetoric, Literature and Religion in Early Modern France: Essays in Honour of Peter Bayley, ed. by Nicholas Hammond and Michael Moriarty (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2012), pp. 337–50.
— ‘“rendre commode ce qui pourroit nous nuire en beaucoup de sortes”: le détournement des textes et de la curiosité chez Simon Goulart’, in Simon Goulart: un pasteur aux intérêts vastes comme le monde, ed. by Olivier Pot (Geneva: Droz, 2013), 57–73.
— ‘“il ne faut pas être si exact en temps” (Verville, Le Moyen de parvenir): la mort au croisement de la fiction et de l’érudition humanistes’, in Érudition et fiction: troisième rencontre internationale Paul-Zumthor, ed. by É. Méchoulan (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014), pp. 65–80.
—’Les Rapports entre fiction et savoir envisagés par les paratextes de récits fictionnels en prose, c. 1540–1630’, in Savoirs et fiction au moyen Âge et à la Renaissance, ed. by Dominique Boutet and Joelle Ducos (Paris: Presses de l’université Paris-Sorbonne, 2015), pp. 187–97.
— ‘Curiosity, Women, and the Social Orders’, in Women and Curiosity in Early Modern England and France, ed. by Line Cottegnies, Sandrine Parageau, and John J. Thompson (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016), pp. 233–50.
— ‘”A propos, ou hors de propos, il n’importe”: Relevance Theory and Montaigne’,  in Lucidity: Essays in Honour of Alison Finch, ed. by Ian James and Emma Wilson (Cambridge: Legenda, 2016), pp. 20–31.

Book Introduction

— ‘Introduction’, in Writers in Conflict in Sixteenth-Century France: Essays in Honour of Malcolm Quainton, ed. by Elizabeth Vinestock and David Foster (Durham: Durham Modern Languages Series, 2008), pp. 1–18.

Biographical memoir

— ‘Philip Ford (1949–2013)’, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British Academy, XIII (Oxford: Oxford University Press and British Academy, 2014), pp. 217–48.

Encyclopaedia entries

A Rabelais Encyclopedia, ed. by Elizabeth Chesney Zegura (Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 2004), entries for ‘The Concept of Knowledge’ and ‘Encyclopedism’.
Encyclopaedia of French-American Relations, ed. by Bill Marshall (Santa Barbara, Denver, Oxford: ABC-Clio, 2005), entries for Brazil, Florida, Cartier, Champlain, Montaigne, and Roberval.
Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century French Philosophers, ed. by Luc Foisneau (Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum, 2008), entry for Béroalde de Verville. French edition: Dictionnaire des philosophes français du XVIIe siècle, ed. by Luc Foisneau (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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