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Research

My research interests range across modern and contemporary French literature, culture and thought; theories of emotion, affect and mental health; the medical humanities; and debates surrounding the uses of literature.

I am currently finishing up my first book, Empathy’s Mess: Unsettling Interpersonal Relations with Post-War French Writing, which is under contract with Liverpool University Press. Empathy is often thought of as playing an important social role, by encouraging mutual understanding and cooperation; moreover, it has been suggested that reading and studying literature might help promote empathy. My readings of three important modern French writers (Jean Genet, Roland Barthes and Annie Ernaux), however, demonstrate the diverse ways in which literary texts can challenge or ‘mess with’ their readers’ empathic engagements, and suggest these works instead allow us to explore the diverse (and not always edifying) roles empathy plays in our personal, social and political lives.

I am also working on a second project with the working title Depressive Texts: Exploring Distress and Well-Being with Modern French Novels, which I began with the support of a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. While some argue reading and writing literature might play a 'therapeutic' role in mental health (arguments in which I am (cautiously) interested), my starting point is less how literary works might foster mental well-being, than how they critically engage with debates surrounding the causes and nature of mental distress, and the question of what well-being today could or should look like. Completed publications for this project include pieces on Régine Detambel, Georges Perec and Jean- Philippe Toussaint, and I am also looking at works by Emmanuel Carrère, Marguerite Duras, Marie NDiaye, Nathalie Sarraute and Leïla Slimani.

 

Teaching

I currently teach French at Trinity and Wadham colleges, and have previously worked at Exeter and Worcester colleges.

For first-year students, I teach the two Prelims literature papers (‘Short Texts’ and ‘French Narrative Fiction’) which introduce undergraduates to literary studies in French. For second- and final-year students, I teach nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first-century French and Francophone topics and authors for Papers VIII and XI. I also supervise final-year dissertations, and teach seminars introducing literary and critical theory.

Finally, I teach translation, both French-English and English-French, for all year groups.

 

Publications

Books

Empathy's Mess: Unsettling Interpersonal Relations with Post-War French Writing (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press; under contract)

Matt Phillips and Tomas Weber (eds), Parasites: Exploitation and Interference in French Thought and Culture (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2018)

Journal Articles

'Perec's Unsure Text: Exploring Depression Equivocally with Un homme qui dort', French Studies (in press)

'On Bibliotheraphy: Literature as Therapy and the Problem of Autonomy, with Régine Detambel's Les Livres prennent soin de nous', Australian Journal of French Studies, 47:3 (2020), 337–51

'Notes on Loving a Mourner (with Roland Barthes and Others', Paragraph, 40:2 (2017), 211–27

Book Chapters

‘Recharge’, in Let’s Bark, Says the Dog (artists' book), ed. by Theodora Kanelli and Lise Thiollier (Thessaloniki: Keda Press, 2022)

'Empathic Static: Empathy and Conflict, with Simon Baron-Cohen and Virginie Despentes', in Parasites: Exploitation and Interference in French Thought and Culture, ed. by Matt Phillips and Tomas Weber (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2015), 229–51

'Le Crachat de Stilitano: le visqueux  dans Journal du voleur de Jean Genet et chez ses lecteurs', in Textures: processus et événements dans la création poétique moderne et contemporaine, ed. by Jeff Barda and Daniel Finch Race (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2015), 67–79

Survey Articles

‘French Studies: Literature, 2000 to the Present Day’, Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies, 81 (2021), 118–58

‘French Studies: Literature, 2000 to the Present Day’, Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies, 80 (2020), 209–60

Book Reviews

Empathy and the Strangeness of Fiction: Readings in French Realism. By Maria C. Scott. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020’, French Studies, 75:2 (2021), 274–75

‘Roland Barthes, Album: Unpublished Correspondence and Texts. Established and presented by Eric Marty with the assistance of Claude Coste. Translated by Jody Gladding. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.’ French Studies, 73:1 (2019), 142–43

French-English Translation

Pietro D’Oriano, ‘Frege and Heidegger’, in Regelfolgen, Regelschaffen, Regeländern: Die Herausforderung für Auto-Nomie und Universalismus durch Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger und Carl Schmitt, ed.by Manuela Massa et al. (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2020), 267–316

Khalil Khalsi, ‘Homelessness and Urban Parasitism: Diagnosing the City’s Malaise’, in Parasites: Exploitation and Interference in French Thought and Culture, 31–51

Carole Nosella, ‘The Parasite A(r)t Work: Digital Glitches in Visual Art’, in Parasites: Exploitation and Interference in French Thought and Culture, 213–27