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Professor Ingrid De Smet

Dr Ingrid De SmetProfessor of French and Neo-Latin Studies

Email: I dot de-Smet at warwick dot ac dot uk
Fourth Floor, Faculty of Arts Building
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


Ingrid De Smet is Professor of French and Neo-Latin Studies. She specializes in the intellectual culture of sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century France, Italy, the Low Countries, and beyond (French; Neo-Latin; Republic of Letters).

Ingrid De Smet's research activities have been supported, among others, by the British Academy, the AHRC, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the MHRA. Ingrid is a former Leverhulme Major Research Fellow (2011–2014), was elected a Fellow of the British Academy for "distinction in research" (summer 2014), and has been admitted to the Academia Europea in 2019. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies (2022) and Robert Lehmann Visiting Professor at Villa I Tatti. The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (May-June 2023).

Ingrid is closely involved with Warwick's interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, which she directed from 2007–2010 and from 2014–2018.

From 2015–2018 she also fulfilled the role of Academic Director of Warwick in Venice (then at the Palazzo Pesaro Papafava), which hosts undergraduate and graduate programmes, conferences and vacation schools, and cultural events. From 2019-2023, she was School Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Find out more about Ingrid's research interests, teaching, areas of research supervision, administrative roles and publications.

Research interests

Ingrid De Smet's research relates mainly to the intellectual culture of France, Italy, and the Low Countries, c. 1550-c. 1650. Taking a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, Ingrid is especially interested in the Latin writings (Neo-Latin) of that time, as they often had a pan-European appeal. Her publications cover subjects of satire, the Classical tradition and humanism, and writers of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. For example, she co-edited, with Philip Ford (+) of Cambridge University, Eros et Priapus: érotisme et obscénité dans la littérature néo-latine (Geneva, 1997), whilst her book Menippean Satire in the Republic of Letters, 1581-1655 (Geneva, 1996) is considered seminal reading on the subject. Prof. De Smet has also authored a monograph on the life and work of Jacques Auguste de Thou (1553-1617), a French intellectual, magistrate and politician, who is especially known as the author of a bulky, Latin History of His Own Time, but who also left a large number of poems (many still in manuscript) on topics ranging from the erotic to the religious, over falconry and political lampoons. Other publications relating to this project also include «Montaigne et de Thou: une ancienne amitié mise au jour» and «Thuanus ille Philiater, ou Médecins, robins, et poètes aux temps des Guerres de Religion (le cas de Jacques-Auguste de Thou)». In March 2006 she was guest organiser of an international journée d'études on de Thou at the Centre V.-L. Saulnier, which led to the themed issue of the Cahiers Saulnier (vol. 24 [2007]), entitled Jacques-Auguste de Thou (1553-1617). Ecriture et condition robine.

A critical edition with French translation (the first modern translation ever) of Jacques Auguste de Thou's Latin didactic poem on falconry (the Hieracosophion) with a substantive preliminary study of the socio-cultural significance of falconry in Renaissance France (La Fauconnerie à la Renaissance. Le Hieracosophion de Jacques Auguste de Thou, Geneva 2013) has added an exciting new direction to Ingrid's research, on the social and cultural history of hunting.

Meanwhile, publications on other themes include investigations into the Counter Reformation preacher, poet and pamphleteer Adrien Du Hecquet; «Perspectives de l'oubli dans la poésie d'Agrippa d'Aubigné» (Revue des Sciences Humaines [1999]); and ‘Of Doctors, Dreamers and Soothsayers: Julius Caesar Scaliger and Auger Ferrier’ (Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance [2008]).

Other research has seen Ingrid De Smet return to the notion of "polemics", and on "Secrets and their Keepers in Renaissance France, ca. 1560-1620". At the same time, she is working on a posthumous editorial project of a book manuscript by the late Ian McFarlane, on Neo-Latin Poetry in Renaissance France, in collaboration with the late Prof. Philip Ford (Cambridge) and Prof. em. Brenda Hosington (Associate Fellow, Warwick), and the assistance of Dr Antonina Kalinina, and former MHRA Research Associates Dr Alexander Russell and Dr Alexander Lee.

For a full list of publications, click here.

Ingrid is a member of the Editorial Boards of Lias. Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and its Sources, Renaissance Studies, and a book series Chartae Neolatinae (Aix-en-Provence).

She was Vice-President (2012-2015), President (2015-2018) and Past President (2018-2022) of the International Association for Neo-Latin Studies. Ingrid De Smet has also served in various roles on the committees of the Society for Neo-Latin Studies (SNLS), FISIER (Fédération Internationale des Socitétés et Instituts pours l'Étude de la Renaissance). As Chair of Publications of the Board of Directors of the Renaissance Society of AmericaLink opens in a new window (2015-2018), Ingrid was editor-in-chief of RSA Texts and Studies series, edited by Brill. With Professors David Lines and Paul Botley, she co-edits the new book series Warwick Studies in Renaissance Thought and Culture, published by Brepols.


Ingrid De Smet teaches students throughout the course of the undergraduate degree programmes offered in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

In the final-year French language class (FR3011), she guides students through French essay and letter writing. On the literary and cultural side, most of Prof. De Smet's lectures and seminars concern the Early Modern Period, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.

First-year students explore plays by Molière and Racine with her, or may investigate such issues as gender relations and religious controversy in Rabelais, Mme de La Fayette and Diderot (“French Culture and Society before the Revolution”). With Second and Final-Year students Ingrid De Smet works on options relating to Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century France: Prof. De Smet’s choice of texts has a distinct bias towards the subversive and innovative, or the satirical and comical, to help students approach the literature and culture of the period.

At graduate level, Ingrid De Smet often teaches on the core module of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures’s taught MAs (the MA for Research in French and Francophone Studies and the interdepartmental MA in Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference), as well as on that of the MA in the Culture of the European Renaissance run by the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance. She offers an MA module entitled Books, Subversion and the Republic of Letters, Advanced Study Options, and participates in the skills training of doctoral students in the Warwick-Warburg Programme.

Research supervision

Ingrid has supervised or co-supervised taught MA dissertations and MPhil/PhD dissertations in the School of Modern Languages & Cultures and the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance on a broad range of Renaissance and Early Modern topics, relating to questions of gender, political thought, the history of ideas (including the history of science), the Classical tradition, early modern translation, and the history of the book.

She welcomes enquiries about research supervision in her areas of expertise:

  • Early Modern intellectual culture
  • Neo-Latin Studies (including studies in the Classical Tradition and the History of Scholarship)
  • Polemicists, pamphlets and print culture
  • Women writers

Administrative roles

Ingrid De Smet has covered a variety of administrative roles, including that of Year Abroad officer, Acting Exams Officer (French, second- and final-year), Director of Research (French), and School Director of Graduate Studies.


lic PGDip (Leuven), PhD (Cambridge), DLitt (Warwick)

Office Hours

please e-mail me for an appointment

I dot de-Smet at warwick dot ac dot uk