Reader in French Studies
Head of French Studies
Email: S dot M dot Wilson at warwick dot ac dot uk
Office: FAB 4.43
Faculty of Arts Building, University Road, University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
My research interests are framed by an interdisciplinary approach and focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century French culture and literature, with a special interest in medical cultures of the modern period; women's lives and writing; sex, gender, pathology and criminality; the history of the French psychological sciences; cultural history; and all forms of self-writing. I focus in particular on the period and idea of the fin-de-siècle but I am also very interested in the early twentieth century.
In 2018 I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to write a cultural history of morphine in France from c. 1870-1940. I am currently preparing two monographs for publication arising from this project (see publications below).
My first book, Voices from the Asylum: Four French Women Writers, 1850-1920 (Oxford University Press, 2010) investigated the lives and writings of a number of women incarcerated in French psychiatric hospitals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The idea for my book on morphine addiction in France grew out of a previous research project, a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship which I held from 2014-2011 for a project entitled "Inscribed on the Body: Women, Intoxication and Self-Destruction in Nineteenth-Century France". This project developed three strands of enquiry, with separate outputs: First, an article on the visual representation of clinical photographs of anorexic women; second, a book project on the cultural history of morphine in late nineteenth-century France; third, a paper on gender and genius in the letters of the sculptor Camille Claudel. I have been invited to present papers and presentations on these research findings at conferences and seminars in Warwick, Oxford, London, Paris, Mexico City and elsewhere.
In March 2015 I was awarded a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award to fund and facilitate a series of events on the subject of 'Addiction and Culture since 1800'. This research network has resulted in the publication of a sole-edited book, Prohibitions and Psychoactive Substances in History, Culture and Theory, published with Routledge in 2019.
I welcome enquiries from potential MA and PhD students looking to work in my area of research specialism.
I also have three years of secondary-school teaching experience in the state and private sector.
Teaching and supervision (2021-22)
- FR2012 French translation
- FR121 The Story of Modern France: seminar tutor and lecturer; co-convenor with Cathy Hampton
- LN401 Independent Research Project (Women and Madness)
- FR231 Modern Masterpieces
- Head of French Studies (from 2020)
- Senior Tutor in French (2016-18)
Current book projects:
- Morphine Manias: Narratives of Addiction in French Literature and History, 1870-1930. Monograph.
- The Fiquet Affair: Murder, Morphine and Medicine in Fin-de-Siècle France. Monograph.
- Prohibitions and Psychoactive Substances in History, Culture and Theory (London: Routledge, 2019). Edited book.
- Voices from the Asylum: Four French Women Writers, 1850-1920 (Oxford University Press, 2010). Monograph.
Journal articles and book chapters (peer reviewed):
- ‘To whom does a Letter Belong? Psychopathology and Epistolography in the Asylum Letters of Antonin Artaud and Camille Claudel’, Modern Languages Open, 2021, vol. 1, no. 1: 1-18.
- ‘Morphinisé/morphinomane/morphinée: cultural representations of a French opioid crisis, 1870–1940’. Contemporary French Civilization, vol. 44, no. 4 (2019): 332-357.
- ‘A Medicine for the Soul: Morphine and Prohibition in the French Cultural Imagination, 1870-1916,’ in Susannah Wilson (ed.) Prohibitions and Psychoactive Substances in History, Culture and Theory (London: Routledge, 2019): 51-70.
- ‘Introduction,’ in Susannah Wilson (ed.) Prohibitions and Psychoactive Substances in History, Culture and Theory (London: Routledge, 2019): 1-9.
- ‘Emaciation as a Subversive Strategy in the Goncourts’ Renée Mauperin and an Early Case of Hysterical Anorexia,’ in Medicine and Maladies: Representing Affliction in Nineteenth-Century France, ed. Sophie Leroy (Leiden: Brill, 2018): 154-170.
- ‘Gender, Genius and the Artist’s Double Bind: The Letters of Camille Claudel, 1880-1910,’ Modern Language Review, Vol. 112, No. 2 (April 2017): 362-80.
- ‘Anorexia and its Metaphors,’ Exchanges, Vol. 3, No. 2 (April 2016): 216-226.
- ‘The Iconography of Anorexia Nervosa in the Long Nineteenth Century’, in Picturing Women’s Health, ed. by Kate Scarth, et al. (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014): 77-104.
- ‘Writing from the Asylum: Re-assessing the Voices of Female Patients in the History of Psychiatry in France’, in Being Human: Reflections on Mental Distress in Society, ed. by Alastair Morgan (Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books, 2011): 99-109.
Foreign Artists and Communities in Modern Paris, 1870-1914: Strangers in Paradise, by Karen L. Carter and Susan Waller (eds), Modern & Contemporary France, Vol. 25, No. 3 (2016): 336-337.
Suzanne Noël: Cosmetic Surgery, Feminism and Beauty in Early Twentieth-Century France, by Paula J. Martin, Gender and History, Volume 28, Issue 1 (April 2016): 227–228.
Without Ground: Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity, by Calum Neill, French Studies, Vol. 69, No. 3 (2015): 413-414.
Stendhal's Less-Loved Heroines: Fiction, Freedom, and the Female, by Maria C. Scott, Modern Language Review, Vol. 109, No. 4 (2014): 1084-1085.
- The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon: Toward a Political History of Madness, by Laure Murat,Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Vol 43, No. 3 & 4 (Spring-Summer 2015): 1259.
Autour de l’extrême littéraire, ed. by Alastair Hemmens and Russell Williams, French Studies, Vol. 67, No. 4 (2013): 582-583
- I provided new translations from the French for a Penguin Classics edition of Charles Darwin's Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (2005), ed. by Dr Michael Neve and Dr Sharon Messenger of the Wellcome Trust Centre for History of Medicine, UCL.
- Regular peer reviewer and book reviewer for specialist academic journals in my field, including French Studies, Modern and Contemporary France, Contemporary French Civilization, Nineteenth-Century French Studies.
- In September 2019 I was invited to appear as an expert contributor to a programme aired on the Yesterday Channel series 'Murder Maps'. The episode looked at the case of the French serial killer Henri Landru and his crimes against French women.
- I was also awarded funding from the AHRC 10th Anniversary Cultural Engagement Fund and from the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study to run a series of public engagement events linked to the BA 'Addiction and Culture' project.
- Of the events funded by the AHRC award, the 'Psychoactive Supper' event in London was covered by the BBC 'The World Tonight', The Times, and The New Scientist: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/modernlanguages/news/prohibition2016/banningpleasure/supper/https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/modernlanguages/news/prohibition2016/banningpleasure/mediainfo
- We also held a public evening of panel discussion on the subject of Psychoactivity and the Law: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/modernlanguages/news/prohibition2016/banningpleasure/panel/
- In 2014 and 2012 I gave two lectures followed by day-long seminars on Hersilie Rouy and Camille Claudel as part of a London-based series for existential and phenomenological psychotherapists and members of the public (‘Locked Up: “Patients” and their Gaolers’), organised by Anthony Stadlen: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/p/locked-up-patients-and-their-gaolers.html
BA, MA (Manchester), Licence ès Lettres Modernes (Bourgogne), D.Phil (Oxford). I have also completed the Warwick PCAPP qualification (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Practice) and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Office: FAB 4.43
Advice and feedback hours 2021-22:
- Wednesdays 1-2pm
- Fridays 12-4pm by appointment on Teams (please contact me in advance to arrange this).
I am also available to meet at other times by appointment. Please email me if you would like to schedule a meeting. I will always be in my office during the time slots above, so you can drop in or call me on Teams (no need for an appointment).
I am also available to contact by phone any time during normal office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm)
Tel. 02476 151365 (internal x. 51365)