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Dr Nathalie Wourm

  • Overview



    Dr Nathalie Wourm is a lecturer in Contemporary French Literature and the Director of the Centre for French, Francophone and Comparative Studies (CFFCS).

    Dr Wourm’s career at Birkbeck started in October 1989 when she arrived from France as a teaching assistant, part of an exchange with the University of Lyon 2, where she was a postgraduate student. She spent the following year as a teaching assistant at the University of Pennsylvania and then came back to Birkbeck for good in 1991. She worked as an Associate Lecturer while reading for a D.Phil. at Oxford, and was subsequently promoted to Lecturer. Dr Wourm’s research and publications are in the field of contemporary French literature, especially radical and/or experimental poetic practice.


    • Poètes français du 21e siècle: entretiens (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017)

      Blurb: This is a unique and fascinating document on an exciting period of contemporary French literature. The book is a collection of interviews conducted by academic Nathalie Wourm, who identifies a whole new current of French poetry around the turn of the 21st century. Included in the volume are interviews of Anne-James Chaton, Anne Portugal, Olivier Cadiot, Pierre Alferi, Éric Sadin, Jean-Michel Espitallier, Christophe Hanna, Nathalie Quintane, Charles Pennequin, Vannina Maestri and Jacques Sivan, Jérôme Game, Jean-Marie Gleize, and as commentators, poet Christian Prigent, and publishers Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens and Laurent Cauwet. A critical introduction by Nathalie Wourm precedes these enlightening interviews, discussing the original new findings that have emerged from them.

      "This volume is essential reading for anyone interested in French poetry of the last thirty years. Through fascinating interviews with fourteen poets and two publishers, Nathalie Wourm succeeds in delineating the parameters and motivations of some of the most innovative contemporary poetic practice while also allowing the diversity of that practice to emerge."
      Emma Wagstaff, French Studies, Volume 72, Issue 3, 1 July 2018, Pages 476–477.


    • DPhil, Oxon

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Director, Centre for French, Francophone and Comparative Studies (CFFCS)
    • Erasmus+ Academic Coordinator (France)
    • Programme Director for BA Language and Politics/Global Politics
    • Programme Director for BA Language and English
  • Research


    Research interests

    • Contemporary French Literature
    • Contemporary French Poetry
    • French Poststructuralism
    • Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

    Research overview

    My current research and publications are in the field of contemporary poetic practice in France.

    I am particularly interested in the influence of post-structuralist thought on contemporary poetry, and the way in which this is leading to a reassessment of the literary activity. The authors I study include Pierre Alferi, Olivier Cadiot, Anne-James Chaton, Jean-Michel Espitallier, Christophe Fiat, Jérôme Game, Jean-Marie Gleize, Christophe Hanna, Vannina Maestri, Charles Pennequin, Anne Portugal, Nathalie Quintane, Eric Sadin, Jacques Sivan and Christophe Tarkos.

    I study deconstructionist literature, with a particular interest in the the aesthetic representation of human belonging. In particular, my research deals with how the concept of human belonging – in the world, but also within such constructs as “the family” and “the community” – is instantiated. I investigate the ways in which “kinship” and “community” are reformulated, understood, analysed, deconstructed and constructed anew, in poetry and prose.

    I am co-founder and director of Birkbeck Research in Aesthetics of Kinship and Community (BRAKC).

    I have also published in the fields of comparative literature and literature in English, especially in relation to Symbolism and Modernism.

    Research clusters and groups

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students who are interested in undertaking research in any of my areas of research interests:

    • Contemporary French Literature
    • Contemporary French Poetry
    • French Poststructuralism
    • Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni



    I am convenor of the following BA modules:

    • Contemporary Literature in French
    • Translation from and into French
    • Voice, Identity, Gender: Women's Writing in France

    I also teach French poststructuralism on the module "French Thought: from the Enlightenment to Postmodernity" and on the MA  Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies.

  • Publications




    Book Section