Skip to main content

Holly Langstaff

I completed my PhD in the French Department of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Warwick. My thesis, supervised by Professor Leslie Hill and examined in December 2017, considers the relationship between art and technology in the work of twentieth-century writer, literary critic, political journalist and thinker, Maurice Blanchot.

Before coming to Warwick, I completed a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages: French and German and an MPhil in European Literature and Culture at Robinson College, University of Cambridge.

My Research

Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003) is one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century literature and thought. The relationship between art and technology is a largely unexplored aspect of Blanchot’s writing; in my thesis I examine his engagement with the question of techne in criticism and fiction over a fifty-year period and demonstrate that he is far from subscribing to the technophobia of probably the most influential thinker of technology, Martin Heidegger.

I am interested in modern and contemporary fiction, critical theory, and philosophy. While the focus of my thesis is the work of Blanchot, other writers and thinkers studied include Hölderlin, Melville, Mallarmé, Kafka, Rilke, Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida, Foucault and Stiegler. My thesis considers writing as a mode of technology which cannot be enclosed within anthropological or anthropocentric mastery; this has led me to explore the role of the inhuman in Blanchot and how we may reconcile his writing with ecological thought.


Review of A World in Ruins: Chronicles of Intellectual Life, 1943 by Maurice Blanchot, trans. by Michael Holland, Modern and Contemporary France, 26: 1 (2018), 103-04.


‘Blanchot’s Bestiary: On the Suspending of Sacrifice’ - Modern French Research Seminar, University of Oxford, 7 February 2019.

'The Machine Gone Haywire: Maurice Blanchot and Fragmentary Writing' - Society for French Studies Annual Conference, University College Cork, 4-7 July 2018.

'Blanchot after 1968: Fragmentary Writing and the Destitution of the Subject' - '1968' in Reviews, University of Birmingham, 23 April 2018.

'The Inhuman and the Technical in Maurice Blanchot's Literary Space' - Society for French Studies Annual Conference, University of Glasgow, 27-29 June 2016.

'A Strange Environment: Animals, Hands, and the Open in Blanchot and Rilke' - British Comparative Literature Association Summer Graduate Reception, University of Essex, 8 June 2016.


I co-organised the British Comparative Literature Association annual postgraduate conference, Unforeseen Consequences: Literatures of Protest and Political Struggle, held at the University of Warwick on 11 November 2017.


FR345 Modern French Thinkers

FR231 Modern Masterpieces

FR109 Aspects of Modern French and German Literature

FR122 French Cultural Landmarks: Love, Language and Power

FR121 The Story of Modern France


Postgraduate Representative for the British Comparative Literature Associaton (since 2016)

Society for French Studies


BA, MPhil (Cambridge), PhD (Warwick)

Holly Langstaff

Holly Langstaff

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

University of Warwick