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Dr Emily Butterworth

Dr Emily Butterworth

Emily ButterworthSenior Lecturer

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2464
Address Department of French
King's College London
Room 4.41 Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE



Emily studied French at University College London and the University of Cambridge. She was a lecturer at the University of Sheffield for four years before coming to King’s in 2006.

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Early modern French literature and thought
  • Deviant speech in the early modern period
  • Montaigne

Emily works on early modern literature and thought, with a particular interest in Montaigne and in deviant speech and language. Her thesis became a book on representations of slander and satire, exploring reputation, constructions of subjectivity, and wounding language in the early modern period. She is currently working on forms of excessive speech – babble, gossip and rumour – and why talking too much was considered so dangerous in the Renaissance, and is Co-Investigator on an AHRC-funded project, Gossip and Nonsense in the French Renaissance:

She has also worked on obscenity, censorship, rhetoric and women’s writing in the period. She would welcome applications from students in these areas.

For more detail, see my full research profile.
Selected publications
  • Poisoned Words: Slander and Satire in Early Modern France, Oxford: Legenda, 2006
  • Scandal in Rabelais’s Tiers Livre: Divination, Interpretation, and Edification’, Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme 34:4 (2011), 23-43 (winner of Natalie Zemon Davis Prize)
  • ‘Gossip and the Circulation of Stories in Pierre de Brantôme’s Dames galantes’, Nottingham French Studies 49:3 (Autumn 2010), 17-26
  • ‘Finding Obscenity in Brantôme’s Dames galantes’, Early Modern France 14 (2010), 75-89
  • ‘The Work of the Devil? Theatre, the Supernatural, and Montaigne’s Public Stage’, Renaissance Studies22 (2008), 705-22

For a complete list of publications, please see my full research profile.


In 2013-14, Emily is teaching on the following modules:

  • 5AAFF252 The Idea of France
  • 6AAFF354 Encounters with the ‘New World’
  • 7AAFM026 Renaissance Transgressions: France in its European Context
Expertise and public engagement

Emily has worked with two artists on projects about gossip.

The Spinning Stories project, with artist Clare Qualmann, explores the places people talk and why they tell stories. Project blog:

‘Waiting …. In a Hairdressers’ is a podcast by poet Malika Booker about things overheard in a hairdresser’s on the Walworth Rd.

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