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I  work at the crossroads of the intellectual history and literature of early modern France and Europe envisaged from a global perspective. My research provides early modern genealogies to the very notions of identity–the country, the nation, the self–that contemporary transcultural and post-colonial discourses seek to interrogate. Humanism itself was one such transcultural phenomenon: early modern vernacular accounts of nation and selfhood arise from the translation, creative assimilation but also critique of a past classical heritage. The transnational Republic of Letters, whose network relayed humanist erudition and the travel narratives of cultural encounters in colonial outposts, also played a crucial part in early modern delineations of anthropological, political and confessional identities.

My first book, Cosmographical Novelties: Dialectic and Discovery in Early Modern French Prose (Brepols, 2016) highlights the ways in which the humanist retrieval of classical logic and rhetoric provided early modern thinkers with the discursive toolkit they needed in order to shape and disseminate in new vernacular genres the worldviews arising from the so-called Scientific Revolution and from the Great Voyages.

I am currently writing my second book,  Ingenious Animation: François Rabelais and the Physiology of  Invention, which intends to  offer a new reading of the grotesque in Rabelais works by reconciling the belly and the head. Envisaged from a medical perspective, culture–whether high humanism or medieval farce–is the spirited outcome of our animation, our ensoulment. For Rabelais the writer-physician, our guts and our brain where the labyrinthine crucibles where such animation was kindled: both, anatomical arabesques too. 


I teach Magdalen undergraduates the first-year Prelims course in French. For Honours, I teach second and final years sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts (papers VII and X). I also teach translation into French and from early modern French.

I lecture across the period, on Rabelais, Pascal, Descartes, early modern travel narratives and visual cultures. I am committed to the close reading of texts and to actors category: the past may well be a foreign country, yet one way of making it familiar is to try to speak the language. I run the MsT seminar on early modern invention with Jenny Oliver. Whenever possible, and at every level, I try to teach with rare books in Magdalen library.

I welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students working on early modern French and European (neo-Latin) texts, especially those interested in the interplay between scientific culture and literature, wanting to read travel narratives, to investigate diplomatic encounters, or to explore early modern translation.


Authored books

Garrod, R., Ingenious Animation. The Physiology of Invention in the Works of François Rabelais, Warburg Series (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

Marr, A., R. Garrod, J. R. Marcaída and R. Oosterhoff, Logodaedalus. Word Histories of Ingenuity in Early Modern Europe (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 2019).

Garrod, R., Cosmographical Novelties in French Renaissance Prose: Dialectic and Discovery, Early European Research 9 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2016)

Edited volumes

Garrod, R., with A. Marr (eds),  Descartes and the Ingenium–The Embodied Soul in Cartesianism, Brill Series in Intellectual History 323 (Leiden: Brill, 2021)

Garrod, R. with P. J. Smith (eds), Natural History in Early Modern France: Poetics of an Epistemic Genre, Intersections 58 (Leiden: Brill, 2018)

Garrod, R. and Y. Haskell (eds), Changing Hearts. Performing Jesuit Emotions Across Asia, Europe and the Americas, Jesuit Studies 15 (Leiden: Brill, 2018)

Recent articles 

Garrod R., ‘La Colère de Montaigne. Ingenium et mélancolie dans la rencontre avec Le Tasse (“Apologie de Raimond Sebond”, II.12)’, Bulletin de la Société Internationale des Amis de Montaigne 74 (2022): 129-47

Garrod R., ‘Rire jaune. L’Énigme du safran au final du Quart Livre. Du jeu philologique à la satire politique’, L’Année Rabelaisienne 6 (2022): 245-67

Garrod, R., ‘Subtle Democritus. Natural Philosophy, Ethics and Poetics in Montaigne’s “De Democritus et Heraclitus” (I.50)’, Montaigne Studies 34 (2022): 59-72

Garrod, R., “The Animal Outside”: Animal Ingenuity and Human Prudence in French Renaissance Political Thought.' Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 49 (2019): 521-540.

Champion, M., R. Garrod, Y. Haskell and J. Feros Ruys 'But Were They Talking about Emotions? Affectus, affectio and the History of Emotions',  Rivista Storica Italiana, 2017: 2, 521-43

Recent book chapters

Garrod, R., ‘Introduction. Descartes Re-imagined. Ingenuity Before and Beyond Dualism’ in Descartes and the IngeniumThe Embodied Soul in Cartesianism, ed. Raphaële Garrod with Alexander Marr, Brill Studies in Intellectual History 323 (Leiden: Brill, 2021), pp. 1-15

Garrod R., ‘La Politesse de l’esprit. Cartesian Pedagogy and the Ethics of Scholarly Exchange’ in Descartes and the IngeniumThe Embodied Soul in Cartesianism, ed. Raphaële Garrod with Alexander Marr, Brill Studies in Intellectual History 323 (Leiden: Brill, 2021), pp. 184-203

Garrod R., ‘Subtilis, Inutilis: The Jesuit Pedagogy of Ingenuity at La Flèche in the Seventeenth Century’ in Teaching Philosophy in Early Modern Europe: Text and Image, edited by Susanna Berger and Daniel Garber, Archimedes 61 (London: Routledge, 2021), pp. 139-64.

Garrod R., ‘Showing Off. Rabelais’s Medamothi in the Quart Livre (1552)’ in Volume II: Cosmography and the Classical Tradition, edited by Renaud Gagné and Aaron Kachuck (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).


I was educated  in various state schools in the DOM-TOM, before reading French and English at Paris IV, Sorbonne. I then sat my agrégation in French literature and language and taught in secondary schools in France for two years. I belong to three generations of primary and secondary school teachers in France, and I remain a proud member of the Éducation nationale.

I  came to the UK for an M.Phil in European culture at Cambridge, and carried on with a PhD as the Knox scholar at Trinity college. I then took a junior research fellowship  at Newnham college, before heading for two years to Australia to work on Jesuits within the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE). I came back to Cambridge in 2015 to join the ERC project 'Genius before Romanticism: Ingenuity in Early Modern Art and Science' at CRASSH.

I took the post of tutorial fellow in French at Magdalen in 2018.