The Emergence of Literature in Eighteenth-Century France: The Battle of the School Books, Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment (OUSE) (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2023). You can buy the book here. You can also view the digital companion website to the book, where you can access for free the introduction, appendices, graphs, and interactive network visualisations. For a summary of some of the main arguments, see here.
Peer reviewed articles
‘Desperately Seeking Supplement: How Polly Baker Sheds Light on Diderot’s Supplément‘, French Studies, 74.1 (2020), 1-16
In this article, I think about the importance of the title word of Diderot’s Supplément au voyage de Bougainville: ‘supplément’. I ask how the text looks if we consider its own supplement – which Diderot added some eight years after having first ‘finished’ it – that is, Benjamin Franklin’s hoax news story, ‘The Speech of Miss Polly Baker’. I argue that Diderot uses Polly and her speech to teach a lesson that was as useful for eighteenth-century readers as it is for those in our era of ‘fake news’, and it’s also a lesson that researchers trying to reassemble the scattered pages of Diderot’s œuvre know well: that no single piece of evidence is enough, and that we must constantly seek out supplements, to corroborate or challenge what we thought we knew.
‘This Quarrel Which is Not One. Women’s Interventions in an Eighteenth-Century French Quarrel about Boys’ Education‘, Romanic Review, 112.3 (2021). Special issue: ‘Women and Querelles in Early Modern France’, ed. by Helena Taylor and Kate E. Tunstall
Why would a small handful of women writers intervene in an eighteenth-century debate dominated by men, which was all about boys’ education? Why would they bother risking their reputation by engaging in a querelle, when women who quarrelled were so often misogynistically vilified as ‘harangères’, or otherwise humiliated by men, in this period? And when they did dive into this quarrel, what creative discursive strategies did they use to destabilise the debate, and to gain at least a little room of their own? These are the questions I seek to answer in this article.
‘Reframing Rousseau: Art, Literature and Attachment in Émile‘, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 59.2 (2023)
This article sheds light on both Rousseau’s aesthetic thought, and his role in the emergence of modern ideas of ‘littérature’, by revisiting his novel-cum-treatise, Émile, ou de l’éducation (1762). Contrary to much scholarship that has minimised Rousseau’s interest in aesthetics, particularly the visual arts, the article reframes Rousseau as a fundamentally aesthetic thinker. With reference to Derrida’s concept (via Kant) of the parergon, it argues that Rousseau uses the image of the frame – literal or figurative – to delineate his ideas about the ideal visual and literary arts, and how they should affect spectators or readers. By reading Rousseau alongside Rita Felski, the article historicizes the affective turn in postcritique, today. Focusing on Émile’s encounters with the literary arts, it shows that the modern idea of literature as an aesthetically pleasing text that (by dint of its aesthetic quality) induces an affective and ethical response, was attached to the French word ‘littérature’ earlier than has been claimed, by an author often considered ‘anti-literature’.
‘Le littéraire en jeu. Querelles littéraires et règles littéraires, dans quelques jeux de l’oie du XVIIIe siècle’, in Les Règles du jeu à la période moderne, ed. by Line Cottegnies, Clara Manco, Alexis Tadié (Paris: Garnier, forthcoming 2023/2024)
Ce chapitre se concentre sur ce qui constitue un jeu littéraire, en étudiant le cas du jeu de l’oie. Si ce jeu est souvent perçu comme un jeu anodin, lire de plus près les règles de deux adaptations du jeu de l’oie du xviiie siècle nous révèle des jeux pétris de références aux autorités, genres et modes littéraires, et qui participent aux querelles littéraires contemporaines. En définitive, ces jeux nous laissent percevoir les règles du monde au-delà du jeux et notamment celles du champ littéraire.
‘Games of Mother Goose: Two Hundred Years of French Literary jeux de l’oie, 1760–1960’, in Literary Museums at Home: Literature Indoors, ed. by Anne Chassagnol, Sylvie Kleiman-Lafon, Caroline Maire (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming 2024)
‘J.-J. Rousseau, Emile, ou de l’éducation’, in Voltaire, Notes et écrits marginaux conservés hors de la Bibliothèque nationale de Russie : complément au Corpus des notes marginales, dir. by Gillian Pink (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2019), pp. 398-426. Awarded an honorable mention, for the MLA Prize for Collaborative, Bibliographical, or Archival Scholarship (2018-2019).
‘Context? What context? Rhodes Must Fall: Past, Present, and Future’, Medium (17 June 2020). Republished in Le Monde diplomatique as ‘Off his Pedestal’ (18 June 2020)
‘Prof. Catriona Seth, ‘Girls with Books. Reading, Contagion and Acquired Immunity in Eighteenth-Century Fiction’: The Inaugural Lecture of the 8th Oxford Marshal Foch Professor’, Voltaire Foundation Blog (15 May 2019)
‘Reciprocity, Reputation and the Pupil-School Relationship in Letters from the École Royale Militaire’, Enlightenment Correspondences TORCH Network, Seminar Blog (24 December 2015)
‘Fayçal Falaky and Reginald McGinnis, eds., Modes of Play in Eighteenth-Century France. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2022’, H-France Review, 22 (June, 2022), no. 107.
‘Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Studies, ed. Simon Burrows and Glenn Roe (Oxford, 2020)’, French Studies, 75.3 (forthcoming, July 2021)
‘Dana Villa, Teachers of the People: Political Education in Rousseau, Hegel, Tocqueville, and Mill (Chicago, 2017)’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 42.3 (2019), 393-94
‘Valérie Pérez, Éduquer, gouverner: lire Émile ou de l’éducation de Rousseau avec Michel Foucault (Paris, 2017)’, French Studies, 72.3 (2018), 437-38
‘Mary S. Trouille, ed., Nicolas-Edmé Rétif de la Bretonne, Ingénue Saxancour ou La Femme séparée‘, Modern Language Review, 112.1 (2017), 252-53