Tag: Dale Townshend

Gothic Translations

Among our Erasmus partner institutions is the Université de Lorraine and, as well as undergraduate student exchanges, we also happen to currently have a jointly supervised PhD student, working with supervisors at Stirling and at the Université de Lorraine, Fanny Lacôte. Fanny’s research focuses on the reception of English Gothic novels at the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries France (1789-1821), that is, roughly, the revolutionary and post-revolutionary periods. We thought it would be good to get an insight into her research and how she ended up working across these two partner institutions:

“The first part of my thesis focuses on the publishers who specialised in the production of French translations of English Gothic novels, their criteria of editorial choices, and their commercial strategies concerning the production of these Gothic translations. Then, by focusing on contemporary reviews, sales-catalogues of private libraries, memoirs and correspondences, I seek to demonstrate the diversity in the readings of the genre and its readership.

The second part deals with the process of translation: I investigate the translators’ identities, and seek to uncover their strategies for adapting these English novels to the tastes of the French readership. It is completed by a case study of a specific translator and its translation and by a thematic study of the cultural transposition of the theme of Gothic architecture in a post-revolutionary French context. In a nutshell, I analyse the way this theme was appropriated by French writers, and both aesthetically and politically adapted to the readership.

2016 Lacote Radcliffe and de Chastenay
Ann Radcliffe and one of her French translators, Victorine de Chastenay

The third and last part consists in demonstrating the influence of English Gothic on French literature: I briefly look at theatre adaptations and melodramas, to focus mainly on imitations, spurious attributions, literary forgeries and parodies.

As for my academic background, I come from Nancy, where I studied librarianship for two years. Then I did my BA and my MA in French Language and Literature at the Université de Lorraine in Nancy. I worked on Gothic literature for my master’s dissertation and loving the research, I knew long before I graduated, that, instead of preparing the competitive exam that would allow me to officially become a librarian, I would start a PhD.

2016 Lacote Université de Lorraine
Humanities campus of the University of Lorraine, Nancy

In 2012, I applied for a PhD in French and English literature under the supervision of Prof. Catriona Seth, a specialist of 18th century literature and history of ideas, and I started working part time at the university library. I felt perfectly at home continuing my research on 18th century French Gothic in Nancy, the city whose architecture is a witness of this time, especially given the fact that the Bibliothèque nationale de France, with its vast storehouses full of 18th century resources was just one hour and a half away by TGV!

2016 Lacote Place Stanislas
Place Stanislas, Nancy

However, given my academic background – French literature and languages – and my PhD topic – French and English literature –, I sorely missed an English-speaking experience to make the most of it. I had heard of the University of Stirling in 2010 when I was working on my Master’s dissertation, via the website The Gothic Imagination and its curator at the time, Dr Dale Townshend. Therefore, it seemed somewhat vital, for my research, that I spend some time at the University of Stirling. My supervisor introduced me to the idea of a joint‑supervision, and we formed the project of a PhD supervised both by Catriona Seth at the Université de Lorraine and by Dale Townshend at the University of Stirling. Two complementary supervisors – Catriona for French side of my research and Dale for the British counterpart – and two complementary universities, two languages, two literatures, what could be more ideal given my research topic?

The agreement between the two universities regarding my doctorate took quite a long time to be completed, but, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, it was successfully concluded. It stipulated that I would write my PhD thesis in French and that I would defend it in both French in English, at the Université de Lorraine. After two years of researching at the Université de Lorraine, I was a full time ‘international’ PhD student ready to spend a year at the University of Stirling as a visiting researcher. Today, a year and a half later, I am still here, and I still love it. The first months were a bit challenging regarding the language: I had never lived in an English-speaking country before and struggled quite a bit with the Scottish accent – to be honest I still do sometimes! –, but I have always felt welcome and well integrated, and this is something that I am very grateful for. In a few months I had become used to the language, to the way the university functioned and had made some good friends.

So many opportunities were offered to me during my time at Stirling it made the months I have spent here memorable. Just to give you a few examples, I had the opportunity of presenting my research at the International Gothic Association in Vancouver last July, and was a lucky member of the inventory team for the newly acquired Patrick McGrath archive at the university’s library. I have also run a few informal sessions of French conversation for the undergraduate students of the university’s French department, and since 2016 I have given a shot at teaching as a Teaching Assistant in English literature. I am hoping to finish my research soon and I am planning to stay here at Stirling until I finish it, maybe longer, who knows?”

Thanks to Fanny for this blog piece and we look forward to hearing more about this project over the months ahead.

French at Stirling goes Gothic…

There will be a good Stirling presence at the 2015 conference of the International Gothic Studies Association, taking place in Vancouver this week. French at Stirling’s Bill Marshall will be participating in a roundtable on ‘Southern Gothics, Gothic South’, while our Literature and Languages colleague, Dale Townshend, is giving a plenary lecture entitled ‘16 October 1834: Architecture, Romance and the Migration of the Gothic Imagination.’ Dale’s PhD supervisee, Fanny Lacôte (jointly supervised between Stirling and the Université de Lorraine and working on relations between French and British Gothics) will be giving a paper on ‘English Gothic served “à la française”: French forgeries of Ann Radcliffe’. Other Stirling presenters include: Stuart Lindsay on David Thorpe’s illustrated novella Doc Chaos: The Chernobyl Effect, Kelly Gardner on ‘Survival Space in the Contemporary Zombie Apocalypse’, Benjamin E. Noad who’ll be talking about ‘Migrations of Madness: A Genealogy of Mental Health in Modern and Contemporary Gothic Fictions Since 1960’ and Janet Chu whose paper is entitled ‘“‘Neither in nor out of ‘Blackwood”’: From Blackwood’s Magazine’s Gothic Sensationalism to Poe’s Sensational Gothicism.’ A healthy Stirling presence, with some interesting French-related Gothic-ness along the way!

Romancing the Bastille


It’s been a good week for French-themed things in the Division of Literature and Languages and our Wednesday research seminar continued the trend with our colleague Dale Townshend giving a very interesting paper entitled ‘Romancing the Bastille’, examining ‘the imaginative uptake of the Bastille, that medieval French fortress of punishment and imprisonment, in British culture of the eighteenth century.’ Dale (who is responsible for our Gothic Imagination MLitt) offered an account of the ways in which the storming of the Bastille in July 1789 was covered in the British periodical and newspaper press of the day, before considering ‘some of the dramas, Gothic, proto-Gothic and otherwise, that sought to retell this inaugurating event of the French Revolution on the Romantic stage in the early 1790s.’

Let’s hope the French theme continues after the mid-semester break…

Gothic publication


Not directly news about ‘French at Stirling’ but a) he’s a colleague of ours in the Division of Literature and Languages and b) the book has a chapter on “Gothic Translation: France, 1760-1830”, so… congratulations to Dale Townshend (and Glennis Byron) on the publication of their edited volume The Gothic World, just out with Routledge!