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Professor Patrick ffrench

Professor Patrick Ffrench

Patrick ffrenchProfessor of French Language and Literature

+44 (0)20 7848 2547
Address Department of French
King's College London
Room 4.34 Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE



Patrick Ffrench is a graduate of University College London, where in 1993 he gained his PhD on the French literary and theoretical journal Tel Quel, under the supervision of Professor Annette Lavers. Following this he was appointed as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at University College to undertake research on the role of Georges Bataille in 20th-century French intellectual history. He moved to King's College London in 1999 as Reader in French, and was subsequently appointed Professor of French in 2006. 

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • 20th-century French and Francophone Literature
  • Literary and Critical Theory
  • The work of Georges Bataille
  • Literature and Cinema

Patrick’s current research project focuses on Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu, in which he is pursuing the outline of a cinematographic imaginary; his thesis is that elements of what would be actualized as the cinema  - the chambre obscure, projected light, moving bodies – intervene throughout the novel to compose a virtual cinema. This will be the first part of a larger project on accounts of bodily movement in French literature and thought from Baudelaire to Beckett. Moving beyond Proust to focus on equally rich literary texts, this will also draw on psychiatric and psychoanalytic discourses about human movement and their interaction with the pre-history of cinema (in the work of Etienne-Jules Marey, for example), while also taking in the early history of psychoanalysis in Freud’s account of hysteria. Patrick’s thesis is that a significant component of modernity is comprised in these multiple discourses about moving bodies, and that theoretical fictions of what a body can do can be both psychologically and socially illuminating. 

He would be interested to supervise PhD research in the following areas: 20th and 21st-century French literature and thought (especially Proust, Bataille) critical theory, literature and cinema, contemporary French film, psychoanalytic theory. 

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Selected publications

For a complete list of publications, please see Patrick's full research profile.

Patrick Ffrench teaches across a range of modules in the Department of French, specialising in 20th-century French literature, post-war French thought, and contemporary French cinema.
Expertise and public engagement
Patrick Ffrench is happy to talk to public media about any aspect of 20th-century French literature and thought. 
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