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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 Literature and Thought
  • Critical Theory
  • Film Theory

Patrick’s research ranges broadly across French literature, philosophy and culture of the 20th-century, with a particular focus on the interrelations of critical theory, literature and film. He has written on the radical Tel Quel group of the 1960s and 1970s, the texts and legacy of the heterodox French philosopher Georges Bataille, on Maurice Blanchot, Roland Barthes and Jean-Luc Nancy.

More recently his work has turned towards the question of the cinema and film theory; his two most recent book projects focus respectively on the multiple resonances of a cinematographic imaginary in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu (Thinking Cinema with Proust, Legenda, 2018) and the cinema in the work of Roland Barthes (Roland Barthes and Film, Bloomsbury, 2019). He is also developing a project which explores the inter-relations of post-war French thought and psychiatry.

Patrick welcomes expressions of interest in PhD research in the following areas: 20th and 21st-century French literature and thought (especially Proust, Bataille, Blanchot, Barthes, Deleuze, Beckett), critical theory, literature and cinema, contemporary French film, psychoanalytic theory.

For more details, please see his 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 critical theory.

Expertise and public engagement

Patrick ffrench is happy to talk to public media about any aspect of 20th-century French literature and thought.

Selected recent publications