Prof Seth Whidden

Professor of French Literature, Fellow of The Queen's College

BA (Union College), MA (Ohio State), AM, PhD (Brown)
Editor, Nineteenth-Century French Studies

Harassment Officer, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages


Following my education in non-selective state schools in the U.S., I pursued undergraduate and postgraduate study and taught at both private and public institutions before coming to Oxford. I welcome applications from excellent students from all corners of the globe and from all walks of life. I also share the University’s commitment to an inclusive environment, which ‘promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected.’


My research interests are in French literature of the nineteenth century. My work has focused in particular on poetry, and on questions of subjectivity, authority, collaboration, parody, reading, and form: on authors including Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Krysinska, and on literature from the Second Empire, around the time of the Paris Commune, and the fin de siècle. Since 2014, I have been the editor of the scholarly journal Nineteenth-Century French Studies, which received the 2016 Phoenix Prize for Significant Editorial Achievement from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. I’m also a member of the research group IHRIM (Institut d’Histoire des Représentations et des Idées dans les Modernités). I’m currently working on a project on lyric poetry.

Undergraduate teaching

French language and literature of the modern period, especially the nineteenth century.

Graduate teaching

I’m regularly involved in the MSt in nineteenth-century French poetry. For graduate supervision, I am willing to consider DPhil supervision on nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century poetry and related areas, including but not limited to genre, the lyric, gender, voice, form, and translation. 

Selected Publications

(editor) Rimbaud et Verlaine, « un devoir à chercher ». À la mémoire de Yann Frémy (Garnier, 2023 or 2024)

(coeditor, with Henri Scepi) Le Parnasse contemporain: recueil de vers nouveaux (Garnier, 2023)

(with Corry Cropper) Velocipedomania: A Cultural History of the Velocipede in France (Bucknell, 2022)

Reading Baudelaire’s Le Spleen de Paris and the Nineteenth-Century Prose Poem (OUP, 2022)

(coeditor, with Florence Goulesque) Marie Krysinska, Œuvres complètes (6 vols, Champion, 2022-2026; vol. 1 is Marie Krysinska, Rythmes pittoresques, ed. Seth Whidden)

(translator) Dominique Noguez, The Three Rimbauds (Seagull, 2022)

(coeditor, with Robert St. Clair) La Commune n’est pas morte…; special issue of Nineteenth-Century French Studies (2021)

Arthur Rimbaud (Reaktion, 2018)

Authority in Crisis in French Literature, 1850-1880 (Ashgate, 2014)

(editor) Marie Krysinska, Poèmes choisis, suivis d’Études critiques (Presses de l’université de Saint-Étienne, 2013)

(editor) La Poésie jubilatoire: Rimbaud, Verlaine et l’Album zutique (Garnier, 2010)

(coeditor, with Adrianna M. Paliyenko and Gretchen Schultz) Marie Krysinska: Innovations poétiques, combats littéraires (Presses de l’université de Saint-Étienne, 2010)

(editor) Models of Collaboration in Nineteenth-Century French Literature: Several Authors, One Pen (Ashgate, 2009)

(coeditor, with Pierre-Marc de Biasi and Déborah Boltz) Paul Verlaine, Chair / Hombres (Textuel, 2009)

Leaving Parnassus: The Lyric Subject in Verlaine and Rimbaud (Rodopi, 2007)

(translator, with Wallace Fowlie) Arthur Rimbaud, Complete Works, Selected Letters (Chicago, 2005)

(editor) Marie Krysinska, Rythmes pittoresques (Exeter, 2003)

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