Doctoral theses in progress

Lauriane Bremond (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Anne Page

‘« Pour ma Chere Chere Soeur » : Traduction et édition critique de la correspondance entre Charles II et Henriette-Anne, duchesse d’Orléans’

Lauriane BremondThe aim of my thesis is to present the correspondence of Henrietta, Duchesse d’Orléans, and King Charles II.
Brother and sister exchanged letters between 1659 and 1669. This thesis will use all the letters currently known. They will be all presented in French, which means that the letters written by Charles II will have to be translated. I will personally translate them as I am actually a translator. The letters have never been gathered in their integrity and in French so far, which guarantees the originality of my thesis.
Moreover, my work will draw a parallel between this correspondence and others of the same period, private and/or diplomatic. The goal is to show how original the letters of Henrietta and Charles II are. They are indeed a mix of serious matters (politics, diplomacy) and frivolous ones (gossips, fashion and so on). Finally, this correspondence will allow us to see the secret negotiations between France and England to create a “Treaty of friendship”, the secret Treaty of Dover.

 

Amélie Derome (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Jean Viviès

‘Les traductions françaises de Gulliver’s Travels de Jonathan Swift (1727-2017) : entre errances et résonances’

Amélie DeromeThis doctoral project aims at elaborating a comparative analysis of Gulliver’s Travels’ complete French translations from 1727 to our time. This analysis is intended to raise the question of the translated and retranslated texts’s relation to their lost original while establishing how they might shed a light on the French reception of the text.

 

Justine Dupouy (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Jean Viviès

‘A letter writer in the Age of Enlightenment : Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s letters’

justine-dupouyThe focus of my study will be the collection of letters written by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, with a particular care to the one concerning the social and legal emancipation of eighteenth-century women. These letters sent to her relatives between 1708 and 1762 reveal her most private emotions, draw the portrait of the first English woman letter writer, but also are a precious testimony on her epoch, a precise description of the world she lives in, and real travel chronicles. They follow the chronology of her expeditions and the rhythm of her life, and form a coherent set.
The collection of her fifty-two “Turkish Letters” published for the first time one year after her death in 1763, is the cornerstone of lady Mary’s thinking while it covers a two-year period (from 1716 to 1718) whereas her entire correspondence stretches on for more than fifty years and is constituted of nine hundred letters. In these « Turkish Letters », Lady Mary depicts all she discovered in Turkey: the habits and customs of its inhabitants and women’s place within this society, totally different from her milieu, the English bourgeoisie.
These letters prove to be of a high interest as lady Mary was the first European woman to penetrate the intimacy of Islamic women and she had the privilege to reach the Turkish baths, a place strictly forbidden to men. Writing these letters was first of all, a way for her to stay in touch with her family and friends that she left in England. Moreover, it spread a new point of view regarding the perception of Islam in the eighteenth century and the Ottoman society, but also concerning women’s condition in Turkey and allowed a reflection on women’s condition in England. These two years in Turkey were decisive in lady Mary’s life as she admitted years later that she had come back deeply changed by this experience, and decided as a result to flee once again England in 1739 and stay abroad, alone, during twenty-one years. The collection of letters she sent throughout her life can be considered as a travel journal, as they allow the readers to follow her throughout her different journeys, but also as a diary, as they reveal a lot about the writer herself. She is one of the first woman travel writer and participated in the birth of the genre in the nineteenth century. But above all, lady Mary deserves a place in women’s emancipation history and is considered as one of the founding mothers of feminism.

 

Élodie Galiana-Camarena (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Jean Viviès and Dr. Ruth Menzies

‘Vie, correspondance et fiction de Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) : la représentation du féminin’

Élodie Galiana-CamarenaAs his death tercentenary approaches, Jonathan Swift remains a fascinating figure. This eminent eighteenth-century author gave the world biting satires, imbued with irony and humour. In order to do so with impunity,Swift had to be a masked writer and to create several personae. Everyone became Swift’s targets. In his major works, women were not spared. Their bodies and flaws were meticulously depicted. However, Swift had many female friends, and constantly wrote to them. He inspired many women, and still does. The representation of femininity and women in his works is fascinating for the time. Our study will aim to analyse why women were thus represented in Swift’s writing. He was nonetheless surrounded by a “seraglio” suggesting that his satirical reflections on women may not have been an end per se, but, for instance, a means to achieving more universal forms of satire.

 

Francesca Genesio (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Gérard Hugues

Philip Mazzei: citoyen du “monde atlantique” à l’heure des révolutions (1776-1800)’

Francesca GenesioA relatively unknown protagonist of the revolutionary period’s ideological debate, Philip Mazzei embodies the very notion of “Citizen of the Atlantic World” as defined by contemporary French and American historians (Godechot, Baylin, Wood). Born in Poggio a Caiano, near Florence in 1730, Mazzei, a surgeon by training, set out for a life of wanderings at an early age. His journeys took him East, to modern day Turkey, before leading him to settle in London and later North America where he befriended many of the young Republic’s Founding Fathers, among whom were Washington, Franklin, Adams, and Madison. His closest American friend and lifelong correspondent, however, was Thomas Jefferson, whom he remained very close to up to his death in 1816.
Having acquired Virginian citizenship in 1774, Mazzei readily engaged in the American struggle for independence, contributing to the spread of revolutionary ideology through numerous essays and speeches. Faithful to the “spirit of 1776,” Mazzei ran up against the principles of some of the leading Federalists who, with the Constitution of 1787, sought to reign-in what they perceived as the excesses of Jeffersonian-style “democracy”.
Beginning in 1779, Mazzei was sent to Europe on a diplomatic mission on behalf of the Virginian government. In the years that followed he traveled between Europe and America, witnessing the early events of the French Revolution. While in Paris 1788, Mazzei published his “Recherches historiques et politiques sur les Etats-Unis de l’Amérique septentrionale,” in respose to Mably’s “Observations sur le gouvernement et les lois des Etats-Unis d’Amérique.” Mazzei’s “Recherches” are at the core of the present study, which proposes to review the work in the light of Jefferson’s famous “Notes on the State of Virginia,” analyzing the filiation links that might exist between the two and endeavoring to situate Mazzei on landscape of the ongoing 18th century debate on the supposed inferiority of the American continent.
The rare historians who have worked on Mazzei have pointed out the extent to which he embodies the spirit of the Enlightenment. While the remark remains relevant, Mazzei’s life and work deserve to be revisited from the prism of a more a contemporary historiography which – to date – has all but overlooked him. Trespassing the frontiers of the different nation states and their individual histories, Mazzei’s political philosophy is unambiguously grounded in the “Atlantic tradition”. His contribution to the revolutionary debate needs to be examined in the light of recent studies, such as Pocock’s work on the influence of Florentine republicanism on the Atlantic world.
This research project will be grounded in the study of primary sources written indifferently in English, French and Italian, and can therefore be linked to the LERMA laboratory’s Program C, “L’expérience de la modernité/ XVII et XVIIIe siècles”, theme 3 “Ré-écritures, adaptations littéraires, edition et traduction.”

 

Emma Heishman (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Gérard Hugues

‘Les représentations de l’esclavage américain dans les films : femmes et violence’

Emma HeishmanMy research focuses on representations of American slavery in the media. While my Masters dissertation brought to light representations of slavery in children’s literature and analyzed how a young audience learns about the history of slavery, my doctorale research is focused on representations of slavery in films and adult audiences. I am particularly interested in images of women and violence and would like to concentrate on the sexual violence that many female slaves were victim to. My research will include elements of American Studies, History, Film Studies, Cultural Studies and Women Studies theories.

 

Émilie Mitran (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Gérard Hugues

‘Gouverneur Morris : traducteur de la Révolution française’

Émilie MitranThis study, entitled Gouverneur Morris: Translator of the French Revolution, is centered on the Founding Father’s diary written between 1789 and 1794 while he was living in Paris. This twofold approach – both historical and literary – examines Gouverneur Morris’s stay in France through the perspective of a metaphorical translation occurring each night as Morris wrote in his journal what he had meticulously observed and done during the day.
As in every translation, losses and gains are to be looked for in the daily accounts of the diary; from what is known about the French Revolution thanks to contemporary historiography, does Morris’s story match official accounts? How does Morris portray well-known actors such as Lafayette or Necker, and how does he represent the French culture and politics? How can one expose the writer’s persona through a study of his manuscript journal?
Through his inevitable American bias, events such as the Storming of the Bastille or the Champ de Mars Massacre are reported and dissected in his diary; this research analyzes Morris’s French stay as he wielded influence over French ministers, paid numerous daily visits to the most eminent Salonnières and later meddled in several plots to help the King escape. How did Morris perceive the unfolding revolution and how did the outspoken author of the Preamble to the Constitution write about them in his journal?
Close to George Washington since the Revolutionary War, Morris was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France in 1792, following Thomas Jefferson’s term. However, widely spread and inaccurate beliefs surround Morris’s life and carrier and have left a deep, unexplored gap in the general understanding of one of the most important decade of the Atlantic history. Referred to as a conservative and patrician figure, this research will ponder whether Morris stood in opposition to universal republican ideals, or contributed to the spreading of these concepts as he lived through two of the most influential revolutions, later labeled Sister Revolutions (Susan Dunn) and Sister Republics (Patrice Higonnet.)
Beyond the Manichean lines opposing Anglophiles and Francophiles in Washington’s government in the decade of the 1790s, Morris embodies the substantial ideological complexity of the so-called Atlantic Revolutions, a concept that has been criticized for its all-encompassing narrative of history, as opposed to peculiar, national revolutionary chronicles.
Therefore, the mainstay of this dissertation will be to conjure up a comprehensive representation of Morris’s thought through his Parisian diaries in the light of Atlantic historiography (Godechot, Palmer) and recent diary literature (Kagle, Lejeune.)

 

Mireille Ozoux (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Jean Viviès

‘Les idées linguistiques de Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)’

Mireille OzouxJonathan Swift’s keen interest in language in general, and in the English tongue in particular, appears in a large number of his works: the attention he pays to the written as well as the spoken word seems to be that of a linguist. In the 1712 pamphlet entitled A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue, Swift even states his linguistic preoccupations unambiguously. My dissertation aims at exploring and giving a detailed account of Jonathan Swift’s linguistic ideas; I will try and throw light on their origin (Swift’s education/cultural heritage, 17th- and 18th-century linguistic theories…) and show how they are embodied in Swift’s fiction — Gulliver’s Travels essentially.

 

Marion Serre (Aix-Marseille, LERMA), supervised by Prof. Jean Viviès

‘La réécriture de Robinson Crusoé de Daniel Defoe dans la littérature anglophone contemporaine (de 1954 à aujourd’hui)’

Marion SerreThis thesis will focus on the rewritings of Robinson Crusoe in contemporary English-speaking literature, through the study of five works about the rewriting of the character of Robinson, as well as the main themes we can find in the original work.
It will be based on very different works, from a highly famous novel, Lord of the Flies, written by William Golding (1956), to a children’s literature novel Slake’s Limbo written by Felice Hofman (1974), and a relatively new short story entitled Sukkwan Island by David Vann (2009), but also two works far less studied, Foe written by J.M. Coetzee (1986) and Robinson by Muriel Spark (1954).
Through these works, revolving around the themes of the isolated castaway, loneliness, the rediscovery of oneself, the renewal, we will see that despite the differences of readerships, eras and literary aims, this character and these themes are still topical. What are the reasons why this work is still one of the most influential works? Can the loneliness of Robinson be differently redefined today? Does the vision of the noble savage embodied by Friday find echo in our society? Can Robinson’s accidental solitude become intentional in contemporary literature? What critics can be expressed through those rewritings?
We will try to analyse the recurring themes, and also try to define the significance of the character of Robinson, as well as the surrounding topics. We will also see the differences brought by the contemporary authors, who adapted to their eras and societies. Then we will discuss the forms and structures of the adaptations: did the authors use the same structure as Defoe’s? Or did they change it? Did they choose to parody the robinsonade or did they accurately follow the original form?

 

Clare Sibley (Toulon), supervised by Prof. Patrick Menneteau

‘Perspectives et enjeux de l’écocritique dans l’œuvre théâtrale de William Shakespeare : de l’écologie à la Renaissance à l’écosophie littéraire’

clare-sibley-espositoTo borrow Jan Kott’s famous phrase, it seems that William Shakespeare is still “our contemporary” to some extent, as readers and audiences of every age, even of differing cultures, often tend to engage with the Bard’s work through the prism of their own most pressing concerns. This phenomenon is particularly marked with respect to the dramatic writings, given the metamorphoses to which these works lend themselves both on the page and on the stage. Thus, in the last decade some directors have chosen to evoke contemporary environmental issues in their staging of some of the plays – this was the case, for example, in the version of The Tempest presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2006, set in a melting Arctic icescape. Similarly, a growing number of commentators affirm the appropriateness of exploring aspects of the Shakespearean corpus from an ecocritical perspective. This thesis sets out to examine the facets and limitations of various ecocritical approaches to the plays before exploring some of the ecosophical dimensions of the Bard’s dramatic art, adopting a meta-critical perspective which seeks to contribute to the ongoing development of Shakespearean ecocriticism whilst underlining the interdisciplinary relevance of  literary studies to contemporary societal reflections on environmental issues. ‘Ecocriticism’ emerged as a field of literary studies in the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1990s and has subsequently developed in many countries; focusing on the study of the relationship between literature and the environment, this critical movement is still seeking definition in some respects. As far as Shakespearean studies are concerned, whilst several ecocritics are decidedly ‘presentist’ in their approach to the plays, affirming the primacy of the current context of the reception of the works over their historical dimensions, others rely on recent studies in environmental history to argue that the roots of contemporary ecological issues can be found in a pivotal moment in the development of western civilisation at the turn of the seventeenth century. From the latter point of view, Shakespearean drama retains the traces of debates emerging in the author’s own time concerning the relationship between mankind and the natural world, related to changes in perception and behaviour associated with urbanisation, the development of capitalism and the dawn of the scientific revolution. Acknowledging the variety of approaches which have emerged under the ecocritical banner, this thesis first offers a general overview of potential lines of enquiry concerning such issues in the corpus as a whole. Seeking to develop new perspectives on what Jonathan Bate refers to as the “ecological work” of literary aesthetics, it goes on to offer detailed readings of several plays, identifying points of contact between Shakespeare’s dramatic art and certain assumptions of the philosophy of ecology, as distinct from political environmentalism.

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