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Dr Rebecca Sugden


BA (Hons) in Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Spanish), University of Cambridge (2011-14), MPhil in European and Comparative Literatures and Cultures, University of Cambridge (2014-15), PhD in French (‘Conspiracy in Balzac and Sand’s July Monarchy Fiction’), University of Cambridge (2015-18)


Research Interests

I specialise in nineteenth-century French literature, with a particular interest in the relationship between the novel and the political history of the period. My current research addresses the interplay between literary fiction and conspiracy theory in July Monarchy France (1830-48), drawing principally on the work of Honoré de Balzac and George Sand to explore the role of cultural production in the development of the conspiracist tradition of explanation.


Teaching Interests

I supervise, lecture and examine for a range of language and literature papers for the French section of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages:

  • Fr1: Introduction to French Literature, Linguistics, Film and Thought
  • FrB2: Translation from French
  • Fr5: Revolutions in Writing, 1700-1900
  • Year Abroad Project supervision
  • Fr11: Gender, Desire and Power in Nineteenth-Century French Culture


Awards and Prizes

Society of Dix-Neuviémistes’ Postgraduate Prize (2018)
Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association’s Naomi Schor Memorial Award (2016)
Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities for doctoral research (2015-18)
University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s Award (2015-18)
St John’s College Benefactors’ Scholarship (2015-18)


Select Publications

Refereed journal articles

‘Lignes brouillées dans La Bête humaine’, Les Cahiers naturalistes, 91 (2017): 85-96
‘Terre(ur): Reading the Landscape of Conspiracy in Balzac’s Une ténébreuse affaire’, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 47.1-2 (Fall-Winter 2018-19): 48-65
‘Mécanique et mimésis dans La Bête humaine’, forthcoming (2019) on Archives zoliennes (ArchiZ), the digital platform of the Équipe Zola, affiliated with the Institut des textes et manuscrits modernes (ITEM, CNRS) and the Centre de Recherche sur les Poétiques du XIXe siècle (CRP19) at Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris III
‘Esthétique de la dentelle blanche: Au Bonheur des Dames’, forthcoming on Archives zoliennes, 2019


Book chapters

‘Balzac et les espaces ténébreux du complot’, forthcoming in Secrets, complots, conspirations (XVIIIe – XXIe siècles), ed. by Christian Chelebourg and Antoine Faivre (Nancy: Presses universitaires de Lorraine, 2019)


Book reviews

‘William Olmsted, The Censorship Effect: Baudelaire, Flaubert and the Formation of French Modernism’ (2016), Journal of European Studies, 46.3-4 (October 2016): 385-86
‘Biancamaria Fontana, Germaine de Staël: A Political Portrait’ (2016), Journal of European Studies, 47.1 (March 2017): 80-82
‘Naturalisme. – Vous avez dit naturalismes?, ed. by Céline Grenaud-Tostain and Olivier Lumbroso’ (2015), Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 46.1-2 (Fall-Winter 2017-18)