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Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures+44 (0) 191 33 43465
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 


My office hours are 9.00-11.00 on Wednesdays. Just drop by my office (A38) or email me so that we can set up a meeting.

My research focuses on theatre, spectatorship, libertinage and crime in early modern French literature and culture.

My monograph Reading drama in eighteenth-century France will appear with Oxford University Press in February 2023. This is the first account of how plays were read in that period and of the closet drama of the time. The Enlightenment was passionate about theatre in all its forms, and this study draws on a variety of texts – including memoirs, theoretical works, and correspondences – to show that reading plays was a central element of that lively and combative theatrical culture. I propose a framework—at once historically grounded and informed by queer theory—to understand eighteenth-century closeted reading. The book also examines how writers exploited the critical, imaginative, and formal potential of closeted reading by creating plays that exceeded the confines of the playhouse and appealed instead to the reader’s imagination.

My translation of the Marquis de Sade's controversial The 120 Days of Sodom appeared with Penguin Classics in September 2016. This volume is the result of collaboration with Dr Will McMorran (Queen Mary, London). Our translation was awarded the prestigious Scott Moncrieff prize in March 2018.

My monograph Sade's Theatre: Pleasure, Vision, Masochism was published by SVEC in 2007; my critical edition of François II, roi de France appeared in 2006, and my edition of rare erotic plays appeared in 2011. In 2013 SVEC published my edited volume on the representations of violence in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, featuring articles on subjects such as Sade, trauma, and the mob in the French Revolution. In addition I have produced numerous critical editions for the Complete Works of Voltaire.

I am currently working on a book is about Marie-Catherine Taperet, also known as Madame Lescombat (1728-1755), who achieved immense and enduring fame as a femme fatale for her part in the murder of her husband.

I am happy to receive applications for PhDs on topics in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French literature and culture.


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Supervision students