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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 literature and thought
  • Montaigne
  • Marguerite de Navarre

Emily works on early modern literature and thought, with particular interests in deviant speech and language. Her first book, Poisoned Words: Slander and Satire in Early Modern France, explored reputation, constructions of subjectivity, and wounding language in the early modern period.

Her second book, The Unbridled Tongue: Babble and Gossip in Renaissance France, looked at forms of excessive speech – babble, gossip and rumour – and why they were considered so personally and politically dangerous in the sixteenth century.

In 2012-2015, she was Co-Investigator on an AHRC-funded project, Gossip and Nonsense in the French Renaissance:

She has also worked on obscenity, scandal, censorship, rhetoric, and women’s writing in the period, and is currently working on a critical companion to Marguerite de Navarre.

She would welcome applications from students in these areas. For more detail, see her full research profile.


Emily teaches specialist modules on early- and pre-modern French literature and culture, and contributes to the first-year Introduction to French Literature and to final-year language teaching.

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:

The Chinese Whispers project, also with Clare Qualmann and part of the AHRC-funded Gossip and Nonsense project, investigates ideas of rumour and the descent of sense into nonsense through performances of the parlour game:

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

Emily has appeared on radio and podcasts:

Radio 4’s Something Understood on gossip, rumour and the ‘Chinese Whispers’ project.

Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas podcast on early modern news and gossip.

Radio 3’s Free Thinking on the value of gossip.