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Simon Kemp, B.A., (M.Phil., Ph.D. Cambridge)

Associate Professor in French at Somerville College


My research interests are in the French novel in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I have published books on narrative form in the contemporary novel and on crime fiction pastiche in literary and experimental fiction. I am currently working on the second volume of an academic trilogy and theories of consciousness and their relevance to representations of the mind in literature and film.



French language and literature, particularly the post-1800 French novel. I convene the Paper XII special subject in  advanced translation. I hold a University Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.


Graduate Teaching

I am currently supervising students at Masters and doctoral level working on twentieth- and twenty-first century French thought and literature, women's writing, and translation theory.


Outreach and Access

I am the Admissions Director for the Modern Languages Faculty and I coordinate the Opportunity Oxford bridging programme for students across the humanities. The modern languages outreach blog, Adventures on the Bookshelf, aimed at students and teachers in Years 11 to 13 and other prospective applicants, can be found here.





Writing the Mind: Representing Consciousness From Proust to the Present (London: Routledge, 2017)


French Fiction into the Twenty-First Century: The Return to the Story (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2010)


Sébastien Japrisot: The Art of Crime, editor, with Martin Hurcombe, (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009)


Defective Inspectors: Crime Fiction Pastiche in Late-Twentieth-Century French Literature (Oxford: Legenda, 2006)


Seeing Things: Vision, Perception and Interpretation in French Studies, editor, with Libby Saxton, Modern French Identities (Berne: Peter Lang, 2002)


Oxford Literature Companions: L'Étranger (study guide) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)




'Perspective and Sexual Politics in Mémoire de fille', French Cultural Studies, 35 (2024), 52-61.

'Memory', in Anna Elsner and Thomas Stern (eds), The Proustian Mind (London: Routledge, 2022).

'The Novel in France Between the Wars', in Adam Watt (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Novel in French (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

'After the Experiment', in Anna-Louise Milne and Russell Williams (eds), Contemporary Fiction in French (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

'Bringing Up Baby": Fragments d'une lecture plurielle, pour une nouvelle mosaïque', with Dominique Carlini Versini, Pauline Henry-Tierney, Marie-Claire Barnet and others, L'Esprit créateur, 60.3 (2020), 121-131.

'Le Vide de ces yeux: Consciousness and the Blank Slate in Marie Darrieussecq', L'Esprit créateur, 60.3 (2020), 101-113.

‘« Comment peut-on être cochon ? » : Darwinisme et conscience chez Darrieussecq’, Dalhousie French Studies, 115 (2020), 21-28.

‘L’Usage de la parole : Darrieussecq, Sarraute et le langage de la pensée’, in K. Germoni, S. Milcent-Lawson and C. Narjoux (eds), L’Écriture « entre deux mondes » de Marie Darrieussecq, (Éditions universitaires de Dijon, 2019).

‘« La même d’une phrase à l’autre » : Language and selfhood in Marie-Darrieussecq’s twenty-first-century fictions’, Crossways, 3(1) (2019).

L’Après-Œdipe : the future of psychoanalytic criticism in an era of cognitive and evolutionary psychology’, Australian Journal of French Studies, 55 (2018), 237-47.

'Stimulus and Response: Behaviorism, Tropisms, and Twentieth-Century French Thought and Literature'​Romanic Review, 105.3-4 (2014), 341-60.

‘Le Nouveau Roman et le roman policier: éloge ou parodie?’, Itinéraires, 2014-3, Special Issue, "Le polar en Europe: réécritures du genre" (ed. by V. Desnain)

'The Many-Layered Palimpsest: Metafiction, Genre Fiction, and Georges Perec's "53 jours"', in Angela Kimyongur and Amy Wigelsworth (eds), Rewriting Wrongs: French Crime Fiction and the Palimpsest (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2014), pp. 163-74

'Post-psychoanalytic Proust', Modern Language Quarterly, 75.1 (2014), 77-101

'Contamination Anxiety in Annie Ernaux's Twenty-First-Century Texts', in Women's Writing in Twenty-First-Century France: Life as Literature, ed. by Amaleena Damlé and Gill Rye (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2013), pp. 168-79

'Translation Studies and the Integrated Modern Languages Degree', Journal of Second Language Teaching and Research, 2 (2013), 121-34

'André Breton's L'Amour fou', in The Literary Encyclopedia, ed. by Robert Clark et al., (2013)

'The Inescapable Metaphor: How Time and Meaning Become Space When We Think about Narrative', Philosophy and Literature, 36 (2012), 391-403

'Pastiche, Structuralism and Authorial Intention', Journal of Romance Studies, 12.2 (2012), 93-105

'Representing the Mind in the French Catholic Novel', MLR, 107 (2012), 408-21

‘The Ghost and the Machine: Minds and Spirits in Darrieussecq’, Dalhousie French Studies, 98, (Spring 2012)

'Georges Bernanos' in The Literary Encyclopedia, ed. by Robert Clark et al., (2012)

'Bergson, Bauby and the Neuroscience of Emotion', French Studies Bulletin, 121 (2011), 73-75

'Postmodern Detectives and French Traditions', in French Crime Fiction (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009), 107-24

'Japrisot on Film', in Sébastien Japrisot: The Art of Crime, ed. by Martin Hurcombe and Simon Kemp (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009)

'Darrieussecq's Mind', French Studies, 62 (2008), 429-41 

'Homeland: voyageurs et patrie dans les romans de Marie Darrieussecq', in Nomadismes des romancières contemporaines de langue française, ed. A. Lasserre and A. Simon (Paris: Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2008), 159-66

'Fade-Out: Patterns of Inconclusion in Modiano's Novels', in Patrick Modiano, ed. John. E. Flower (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007), 223-38

'Parler une langue morte: Fredric Jameson et le pastiche postmoderne', in Poétiques de la parodie et du pastiche de 1850 à nos jours, ed. C. Dousteyssier-Khoze and F. Place-Verghnes (Bern: Lang, 2006), 313-22

'Urban Hell: Infernal Cities in Butor and Echenoz', in Imagining the City , ed. Christian Emden, Catherine Keen and David Midgley (Berne: Peter Lang, 2006), 95-108

'What Really Happened: Playing with the whodunnit in Oulipo and the Nouveau Roman', in Artful Deceptions/Les Supercheries littéraires et visuelles, ed. Catherine Emerson and Maria Scott (Bern: Peter Lang, 2006), 147-58

'Les Pièces à Conviction: Perception in French Crime Fiction and its Literary Influence', Modern and Contemporary France, 13.2 (2005), 149-60 

'Unmasking the Detective-Murderer in the Novels of Alain Robbe-Grillet', in Exposure: Revealing Bodies, Unveiling Representations (Berne: Peter Lang, 2004), 93-106

'Crime-Fiction Pastiche in the Novels of Jean Echenoz', Romance Studies, 20 (2002)



'Unconscious Memory from Proust to the Present', a joint presentation with Prof Larry Squire of UC San Diegoas part of the Oxford TORCH Unconscious Memory project, 20 October 2014