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Dr Diane Leblond


BA at the Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines (Lyon) and University Jean Moulin (Lyon 3)

English Agrégation at Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon)

MA at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon) and University Paris Diderot (Paris 7)


As the lectrice in College I teach the French language papers to MML undergrads of all levels, from freshers to finalists. The contents of the supervisions varies according to the format of the papers. The first years discuss current events in France and brush up on their grammar in preparation for Part IA. Part IB includes audio-visual comprehension and analysis based on excerpts form documentary films, as well as translation into French. Part II also comprises translation into French, as well as essay-writing focusing on issues of language and identity. More often than not we find ourselves doing quite a lot of grammar – I still haven’t given up on making my students as enthusiastic about the linguistic intricacies of tenses, aspects and other such curious creatures as I am.


My PhD focused on visual representation within contemporary fiction, looking more precisely at four novels from the 90s and 00s – Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis, GUT Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and Clear by Nicola Barker.

My thesis consists in an exploration of the “optics of fiction”: it examines how written fiction addresses new ways of seeing and representing. One point of entry into what I am trying to do is the simple phrase ‘I see’ – a reminder, within our everyday use of language and imagery, of the privileged status that sight still holds when it comes to knowledge or understanding, despite the relative anxiety that visual technologies and the proliferation of images might elicit. In questioning the epistemological, but also the political and ethical role that vision plays in contemporary writing, I have had to look at an extensive range of issues surrounding our theories of vision and the visual, and to read across disciplines. Through the optical apparatuses and visual patterns they created, the narratives I work on led me to the histories of art, science, and medicine, to analyses of social space and of disciplinary practices. They made me look at all kinds of visual objects, from murky windowpanes to clouds, deadly stares, and starry skies, and explore the way those objects catch our eye to make us think and feel differently.