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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; Psychoanalysis

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, film and psychoanalysis.

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. His two most recent book projects focus respectively on the cinematographic imaginary in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu (Thinking Cinema with Proust, Legenda, 2018) and the place of the cinema in the work of Roland Barthes (Roland Barthes and Film, Bloomsbury, 2019).

He is currently researching the work of the French psychoanalyst Pierre Fédida, and the multiple contexts surrounding Félix Guattari's involvement in the movement of institutional psychotherapy (see this website/blog – for one aspect of this work).

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 undergraduate and postgraduate modules in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, specialising in 20th-century French literature and film, 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