After completing an undergraduate degree in Modern and Medieval Languages at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, I then pursued my postgraduate studies at University College London with a Masters in French and Francophone Literature and a PhD in French Literature, which was awarded with no corrections in 2016.
My research focuses on spatial explorations of subjectivity in the twentieth century, and in particular the literature of Jean Genet. Genet’s slippery poetics force us to relinquish the symbolic coordinates we might use to identify ourselves and our relation to the world around us, inviting us to re-imagine the ways in which people, ideas, and objects are endlessly changeable and mobile. I am currently turning my doctoral thesis into a monograph entitled Geometry and Jean Genet: Shaping the subject, which traces the ways in which Jean Genet exploits the abstract language of geometry to intimately measure, outline and plot a selfhood that seems forever intangible. The manuscript will be submitted for publication early 2019.
Last year, I co-authored a book in French entitled Le Compas et la Lyre : Regards croisés sur les mathématiques et la poésie (Calvage et Mounet, 2018), in which two disciplines that are so often polarised share similar approaches to navigating how we make sense of the world. I concentrate on how poets including Stéphane Mallarmé, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Valéry, Yves Bonnefoy and Samuel Beckett, relentlessly draw on zero when figuring the unknown in their work. Leaning on Roland Barthes’ ‘degree zero of writing’, I suggest that the turn towards zero in the turn of the century and post-modernist writing offers a way of calculating a new-found awe towards the ineffable.
My postdoctoral project was awarded the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France Early Career Award in 2017. It is galvanised by two forthcoming articles: the first, on Genet’s relationship to drifting and how this responds to the performance practices of the Situationist International (Performance Research, December 2018); the second, how Genet’s narratives of the ‘South’ in his writing on Palestine, Algeria, Morocco and French Guyana help us to reconceptualise North-South politics (Artl@s Bulletin, June 2019). I am working on a book-length project that explores the political value of the geometer in French colonial history, whose division of land displaces national identities. I will use this framework to think about how Genet’s pull towards Palestine and Morocco troubles Orientalist discourse of dominance to create new narratives of exile. Bolstered by archival research in the Archives d’Outre Mer, Palestinian refugee camps, and a visit to Larache, Morocco where Genet is buried, I consider how Genet’s restless, intimate mapping resonates with two contemporary Moroccan writers directly influenced by him: Tahar Ben Jelloun and Leila Slimani.
I began teaching at ULIP in 2017, having also taught comparative literature and gender studies at the Ecole normale supérieure. My journey to Paris has led me to teach at the American University of Paris, Université Paris 8, and Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, where I have explored the female voices of the Early Modern through Racine, Molière and Mme de Sévigné, alongside the radical overhaul of self and form in writers closer to my own research such as Beckett, Gide, Cixous, Sartre and Garréta.
- Twentieth and Twenty-first century literature, theory, philosophy and critical theory
- Translation Studies
- Comparative literature
- Gender and Sexuality Studies
2016, PhD awarded in French with no corrections from University College London. “Geometry in Jean Genet: Shaping the Subject”.
- Le compas et la Lyre : Regards croisés sur les mathématiques et la poésie (Paris: Calvage et Mounet, 2018). Co-authored with Antoine Houlou-Garcia and Bernard Rande.
- Geometry and Jean Genet: Shaping the Subject. Manuscript in preparation.
- ‘A stitch in time: Temporal threads in Jean Genet’ in Matters of Time: Material Temporalities in twentieth-century French culture, eds. Lisa Jeschke & Adrian May (Oxford; New York: Peter Lang, 2014)
- “Drifting with direction: Going astray with Jean Genet”, in Special Edition ‘On Drifting’ in Performance Research, Taylor & Francis, Vol.23, 8 (December 2018)
- “Une rose des vents politique: The southern winds of Jean Genet’s poetic compass”, in Artl@s Bulletin, Purdue University Press, Vol 8, 2 (June, 2019)
- “Self-writing machines: manufacturing a real self in contemporary female autobiography”, in ‘Aux frontières du réel : Littérature et réalité au XXIe siècle’, Australian Journal of French Studies, Liverpool University Press, Vol.58, 2 (July 2021)
Selected book review:
- Antoine Houlou-Garcia, Le monde est-il mathématique ? Les maths au prisme des sciences humaines (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2015) French Studies, 70.3 (July 2016)
- Book: Co-translation of Christian Biet and Christophe Triau, What is Theatre? (Oxford: Routledge, 2018)
- Article: Christian Biet, “The evolution of French Tragedy in the 17th and 18th centuries, from scenic cruelty to the dramatic poem”, in A Cultural History of Tragedy, ed. Rebecca Bushnell (London: Bloomsbury, 2019)
- Interview with Graeme Miller in Théâtre/Public, No. 231(January 2019), co-edited by Clare Finburgh.