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Dr Ann Lewis

  • Overview



    Administrative responsibilities

    • Programme Director, BA French Studies
    • Programme Director, BA Language and/with Film & Media
    • Programme Director, BA Comparative Literature & Culture
    • Chair of the Sub-board of Examiners for French, and Admissions Tutor
    • Co-convenor, Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group

    Professional activities

    Member of the managing committee of the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Organisation). I am currently Conference Fund Officer.  (From 2013-2017, I was Officer with responsibility for MHRA conferences, and co-organised two major conferences while in this role).

    Co-organiser, with Luisa Calè (English), Kate Retford (History of Art) and Emily Senior (English) of the Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group. This interdisciplinary forum brings together researchers from across a number of departments at Birkbeck to consolidate research interests in common, and to foster dialogue across disciplinary specialisations. The group's activities combine termly reading group seminars, allowing for informal discussion of work-in-progress, with a series of public lectures, workshops and international conferences. Listen to some of our recent podcasts.

    Member of the IMLR Advisory Council (2017-2020)

    *Conferences and workshops organised*

    Illustration Studies: New Approaches, New Directions, co-organised with Christina Ionescu, international conference, Birkbeck & IMLR, rescheduled for 27-29 April 2022 

    Picturing the C18 Novel Through Time: Illustration, Intermediality and Adaptation, day-long workshop, co-organised with Christina Ionescu at the BSECS annual conference, January 2016

    Have You Heard...? Navigating the Interstices Between Public and Private Knowledge, MHRA conference, IMLR, October 2016

    Adapting the Canon, MHRA/Legenda conference, IMLR, 10 October 2014

    Visions of the 'Coming Community', co-organised with Andrew Asibong, Damian Catani, Akane Kawakami and Nathalie Wourm, Birkbeck, 2011

    Venal Bodies: Prostitutes and Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century Culture, co-organised with Professor Markman Ellis (QMUL), IGRS, 4 April 2009

    *Recent conference papers (since 2016)*

    * ‘Adapting Illustration for the Almanach:  Text/Image Relations in Daniel-Nicolas Chodowiecki’s Illustrations for Rousseau’s Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse’, Université de Bourgogne, 2019
    * 'Framing the Sentimental Topos: Illustrating the Novel of Sensibility in a Transnational Context (Germany and France)', ISECS conference, Edinburgh, 2019
    * 'Rousseau, Diderot Class and Prostitution', SFS annual conference, University College Cork, 2018
    * 'The Time of Reading and Reading Time: Schall's 1790s Illustrations for Rousseau's Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse', invited paper at the Society for Early Modern French Studies, 39th annual conference (5-7 September 2016, Wadham College, Oxford).

    *Recent papers at workshops and seminars*

    * 'Extra-illustrating Rousseau's Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse: The Case of the Defer de Maisonneuve Edition (1793-1800)', at 'The Unique Copy: Extra Illustration, Word and Image, and Print Culture', workshop at the Herzog August Library, Wolfenbuttel, 2018.

    * 'Intermedial Perspectives on Marivaux's La Vie de Marianne', at a day-long workshop 'Picturing the Eighteenth-Century Novel Through Time', part of the BSECS annual conference, Oxford, January 2016.

    Professional memberships

    • General Editor of the MHRA New Translations and European Translations series (October 2020-ongoing).

    • Member of the Advisory Editorial Board of the Book Practices & Textual Itineraries series (Presses Universitaires Nancy, Éditions Universitaires de Lorraine)

    • Member, Society for French Studies

    • Member, IAWIS/IERTI (International Association of Word and Image Studies/Association Internationale pour l'Étude des Rapports entre Texte et Image)

    Honours and awards


  • Research


    Research interests

    • Sensibility and sentimentalism in eighteenth-century culture
    • French literature & culture in the eighteenth century
    • Text/image relations, book illustration, adaptation, and intermediality
    • Representation of prostitutes and prostitution in eighteenth-century France

    Research overview

    Dr Ann Lewis’s research and teaching interests are in the field of 18th-century French literature and culture and in various forms of word and image relations (especially illustrations of 18th-century French fiction).

    Her monograph Sensibility, Reading and Illustration: Spectacles and Signs in Graffigny, Marivaux and Rousseau was published by Legenda in July 2009, and she has co-edited several collections focusing on illustration, adaptation and intermediality, including: Adapting the Canon: Mediation, Visualisation, Interpretation, ed. by Ann Lewis and Silke Arnold-de Simine,  (Legenda, 2020) and Picturing the Eighteenth-Century Novel Through Time: Illustration, Intermediality and Adaptation, a guest-edited special issue of JECS (Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies), ed. by Ann Lewis and Christina Ionescu, 39:4 (December 2016).

    Her current book-length research project, started during the tenure of her Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, focuses on the representation of the figure of the prostitute in 18th-century France, adopting an interdisciplinary perspective. (She co-edited a collection of articles bringing together a variety of approaches to the topic of prostitution in different national contexts in the eighteenth century Prostitution and Eighteenth-Century Culture: Sex, Commerce and Morality, co-edited with Markman Ellis (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012.)

    Research Centres and Institutes

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I am  happy to discuss PhD/MPhil/MA proposals relating to eighteenth-century French literature and culture in areas related to my research interests.

    I currently co-supervise two research students:

    • Kirsten Tambling 'A Wanton Kind of Chase: Watteau and Hogarth', working title (co-supervised with Dr Kate Retford, History of Art)
    • Miki Jablkowska 'The Reception and Cultural Adaptation of Voltaire in Eighteenth-Century Poland, with particular reference to the Press', working title (co-supervised with  Prof. Robin Howells).

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni




    (available on BA French Studies, Modern Languages, and combined and associated programmes):

    Imagining France (30-credit, team-taught French module) - Level 4 [my section: "Imagining the Outsider's View in Eighteenth-Century France": L'Ingénu (Voltaire) and Lettres d'une Péruvienne (Graffigny)];

    Reading the Signs: Text and Image in French Culture (module convenor, and co-teacher) - 30-credit, Level 5 French module [my section: "Diderot's Encyclopédie and its Plates: Embodying Knowledge"]

    Masterpieces of French Literature & Culture from the Enlightenment to the Present Day (30-credit, team-taught French module) - Level 5 [my section: Eighteenth-Century Masterpieces: Les Liaisons dangereuses and Le Mariage de Figaro]

    Dreaming the Self (module convenor, and co-teacher) - 15-credit, team-taught, Level 5 French module [my section: "Dreaming the Self in Eighteenth-Century Philosophical Fiction": Diderot's Le Rêve de d'Alembert and Rousseau's Rêveries]

    Novel Adaptations: Text, Illustration, Film (module convenor and co-teacher) - 15-credit, Level 5, French module

    Sensibility and Sociability in the Eighteenth-Century French Novel (module convenor and sole teacher) - 15-credit French module, Level 6

    Reading Text and Image in the Eighteenth Century: Diderot and the Tableau (module convenor and sole teacher) - 15-credit French module, Level 6

    Fictions of Enlightenment (module convenor and sole teacher) - 15-credit French module, Level 6

    Comparative Culture module: Reading Transnational Cultures (team-taught culture module) - Level 5 [my section: "Enlightenment Perspectives: Montesquieu's Persian Letters and Voltaire's Letters Concerning the English Nation"]

    Comparative Culture module: Representations of Love, Desire & Sexuality (team-taught culture module) - Level 5/6 [my section: "Love, Desire & the Novel of Sensibility": France and England]



    I teach sections on a number of core and optional MA modules for the MA Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, including:

    Interrogating the Self [my section: on three autobiographical texts by Rousseau: Les Confessions, Dialogues: Rousseau, juge de Jean-Jacques, Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire]

    Reading Across Cultures [my section on: Richardson's Pamela and Graffigny's Lettres d'une Peruvienne],

    French Studies strand (Self, Sexuality and Identity) [my section: Rousseau's Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes and Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville]

    Time, Memory and the Novel [my section, on Rousseau's Julie, ou La Nouvelle Heloise']; and previously, a French module 'Health and Illness' [my section: on representations of prostitution in three novels - from the c18, c19 and c20]).

    Teaching modules

    • Reading Transnational Cultures (Level 5) (ARCL022S5)
    • Studying Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies in Modern Languages (ARCL059S7)
    • Interrogating the Self (ARCL066S7)
    • French 5 (AREL072S6)
    • Sensibility and Sociability in the Eighteenth-Century French Novel (Level 5) (ARLL003H5)
    • Imagining France: An Introduction to French Studies (LNLN022S4)
    • Representations of Love, Desire and Sexuality (Level 5) (LNLN024S5)
  • Publications




    Book Section

    Conference Item