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Ian Maclachlan, M.A., D.Phil.
Professor of French Literature, Fellow of Merton College


My main research interests lie in the field of 20th-century French literature and philosophy, and particularly the relationship between those domains. I have published on writers and thinkers such as Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, Samuel Beckett, Roger Laporte, and Jean-Luc Nancy, and on topics that include literary time, reading and the senses, the role of the imagination, and the responsibilities of the writer. Life writing is another interest of mine, as is reflected in my most recent book on the autobiographical works of Louis-René des Forêts. My current research combines that interest in life writing with a longstanding love of poetry, in a project on modern and contemporary 'Life Poetry' in French.

Undergraduate Teaching

French language and literature, especially 19th- and 20th-century; modern French thought and literary theory.

Graduate Teaching and Supervision

At Masters level, I regularly teach on French options on Modern Thought and Life Writing, and on the core course on Key Questions in Critical Thought. Current and recent DPhil supervision has included work on Proust, Beckett, Blanchot, in areas such as modern and contemporary French poetry, and on various topics in modern French thought. I welcome enquiries about doctoral supervision in a number of fields in modern and contemporary French literature and thought, especially: autobiography; poetry; Derrida and other figures associated with deconstruction.

Selected Publications

Louis-René des Forêts and Inner Autobiography (Cambridge: Legenda, 2020)

'The Subject, Abandoned: Jean-Luc Nancy's Spacing of Freedom', in Freedom and the Subject of Theory: Essays in Honour of Christina Howells, ed. Oliver Davis and Colin Davis (Cambridge: Legenda, 2019), 90-103

'Derrida, Time, and Infinite Finitude: Weakening Hägglund's Negative', Philosophy Today, 62:3 (2018), 921-37

'Temporalities of Writing: Time and Difference after Structuralism', in Time and Literature, ed. Thomas M. Allen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 134-49

'Literary Time at a Turning-Point: Maurice Blanchot and Narrative', in Time and Temporality in Literary Modernism (1900-1950), ed. MDRN (Leuven: Peeters, 2016), 165-75

'Derrida and Narrative: Telling Stories, Saving Memories', Oxford Literary Review, 36 (2014), 248-51

Marking Time: Derrida, Blanchot, Beckett, des Forêts, Klossowski, Laporte (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2012)

Editor, with Sean Gaston, Reading Derrida's 'Of Grammatology' (London and New York: Continuum, 2011)

'Blanchot and the Romantic Imagination', in Blanchot Romantique, ed. John McKeane and Hannes Opelz (Bern: Peter Lang, 2011), 155-71

'Lire, écrire: Blanchot et Laporte', in Blanchot dans son siècle, ed. Monique Antelme et al, Association des amis de Maurice Blanchot (Lyon: Parangon, 2009), 251-63

'Contingencies: Reading between Nancy and Derrida', Oxford Literary Review, 27 (2005 [2007]), 139-58

Editor, The Writer and Responsibility since the Second World War (Special Issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies, 2006)

Editor, Jacques Derrida: Critical Thought (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004; reprint: London: Routledge, 2018)

Editor, with Michael Syrotinski, Sensual Reading: New Approaches to Reading in Relation to the Senses (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2001)

Roger Laporte: The Orphic Text (Oxford: Legenda, 2000)