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Katherine Shingler

Assistant Professor in French and Francophone Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

I am interested in interactions between literature and the visual arts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I focus on how writers have responded to the visual arts through writing (in visual poetry, in art criticism, and in the 'art novel' genre). I am interested in artists and writers affiliated with modernism but also in popular culture and the broader sweep of French cultural history.

Teaching Summary

I contribute to first-year teaching, and am convenor of R11028 Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris. While part of the purpose of this module is to introduce students to the… read more

Research Summary

My most recent research has been on 'The French Art Novel, 1900-1930'. This research project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and resulted in a book, published by Legenda in 2016. While there is a… read more

Selected Publications

I contribute to first-year teaching, and am convenor of R11028 Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris. While part of the purpose of this module is to introduce students to the study of literary and filmic texts in French, it also offers a broad coverage of the cultural history of Paris, including key developments such as Haussmannization in the late nineteenth century, and the German Occupation during WWII.

I also currently offer the following specialized content modules:

R12082 Introduction to Modern French Poetry

This is a second-year module designed to introduce students to the major developments in French poetry in the period 1850-1914, and to the principles of poetic analysis. The module focuses on Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud and Guillaume Apollinaire, but we also consider each of these in their broader artistic context: for instance, we might consider how Baudelaire's poetry relates to painting by Manet, or how Apollinaire's poetry might be described as 'cubisme littéraire'.

R13179 The French Avant-Garde

This is a year-long final year module which considers a series of avant-garde movements in France, from the late 19th century through to the middle of the 20th century. Students look at each of these movements through a range of texts (including manifestos, theoretical tracts, art criticism, poetry, plays and novels), as well as through film and the visual arts. Topics covered include Symbolism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada and Surrealism. In the final part of the module we consider how post-war avant-gardes responded to WWII and the Holocaust.

Current Research

My most recent research has been on 'The French Art Novel, 1900-1930'. This research project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and resulted in a book, published by Legenda in 2016. While there is a clearly established 19th- century 'canon' of art novels, it is often assumed that the genre dies out around 1900. My book aims to show that the genre in fact survives into the 20th century but undergoes a series of modifications, as the new popular art form of the cinema comes to compete with painting as the primary reference point for writers, as the development of avant-garde movements makes questions of aesthetic value and authenticity ever more pressing; and as changing gender roles increasingly put pressure on writers to acknowledge female creativity. The book examines fiction that engages with the visual arts by writers as diverse as Marcel Proust, Paul Bourget, Camille Mauclair, Michel Georges-Michel, Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Louis Aragon and André Breton.

In April 2011 I organised a conference on the topic of 'Art in French Fiction since 1900'. This gave rise to an edited special issue of Nottingham French Studies, featuring a selection of papers presented at the conference.

I am just beginning a new research project on machine aesthetics in French modernism, focusing on representations of the female cyborg in literature, film and the visual arts.

I am a member of the Science Technology Culture Research Group, and co-director of the Nottingham Interdisciplinary Modernism Research Network.

I would be glad to hear from prospective research students interested in text-image relationships, French avant-gardes and modernism, poetry in the period 1850-1930, or any form of art writing in French.

Past Research

My doctoral thesis, entitled 'Visual Poetry in Theory and Practice: Mallarmé, Cendrars, Apollinaire', was completed in 2007. The thesis considered the relationship between the visual and verbal aspects of a range of poetic works produced in the late 19th and early 20th century, and focused particularly on the possibility of 'simultaneity', or integrated reading and viewing.

I have broad interests in the field of word and image studies, and in addition to my work on visual poetry, I have presented papers on topics such as Maurice Denis's work as an illustrator, and on ways in which literary scholars can use research in experimental psychology.

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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