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Research in French Studies – University of Reading

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Research in French Studies

Building facade, Versailles

The research interests of our full-time staff are wide and varied, covering the areas of history/politics and literature/cultural studies.  Our research ranges from medieval and Renaissance to contemporary culture.


Research Centres

All postdoctoral researchers and research students in French Studies are associated with 'Réseau-F' (formerly called the 2001 Group), whose members currently include Reading, Exeter, Oxford Brookes, Queen Mary College, Southampton , Surrey and Warwick.  Réseau-F holds regular study days at the different member institutions.

Staff research interests

The main areas of staff research activity are given below. These are also the main areas in which we provide postgraduate research supervision.

Medieval and Renaissance literature and culture

  • Medieval Occitan literature, didactic and moralising literature in French and Occitan, translation, word and image, Professor Catherine Leglu
  • Comparative Medieval literature, codicology, Breton folklore, French cultural studies, Professor Francoise Le Saux
  • Renaissance poetry and thought, Du Bellay, exile literature, Renaissance Cento-writing in both Latin and the vernacular, Professor G. Hugo Tucker

Modern and Contemporary French history and politics

  • Cultures of War and Conflict, Professor Hilary Footitt
  • History of children's literature and publishing, women's writing, the cultural and religious history of modern France, Dr Sophie Heywood.
  • First World War History, cultural history and disability, Dr Marjorie Gehrhardt.
  • Twentieth-century French history and politics, including De Gaulle, war and conflict, Emeritus Professor Andrew Knapp


Modern French and Francophone literature and culture

  • Twentieth-century French literature and philosophy, Dr John McKeane
  • Twentieth-century and contemporary French and Francophone literature, Women's writing, feminist and postcolonial theory, Professor Julia Waters

Staff research activities and collaborations

Professor Hilary Footitt

Professor Hilary Footitt's current AHRC-funded project  'Languages and International NGOS' network has the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) as a partner, and includes representatives from the International Red Cross, and the International Rescue Committee. She is co-editor of the new 'Languages at War' book series (Palgrave Macmillan).

Dr Sophie Heywood

Dr Sophie Heywood is part of the Leverhulme international network, 'Diasporic Literary Archives', which has established partnerships with The Beinecke Rare Book Room and Manuscript Library at Yale University; Il Centro di Ricerca sulla Tradizione Manoscritta de Autori Moderni e Contemporanei in Italy; I'Institut Mémoires de l'Edition Contemporaine (IMEC) in France; The National Library and Archives Service of Namibia; and a prominent archivist from Trinidad and Tobago.

Professor Françoise Le Saux

Professor Francoise Le Saux is involved in a collaborative editing project with Professor Denis Hüe and Dr Françoise Laurent of the Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, on Wace's hagiographical poems.

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