School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Image of Diana Knight

Diana Knight

Emeritus Professor of French,



My main research interests are in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially that of Honoré de Balzac, and the twentieth-century French intellectual and critic Roland Barthes.

Expertise Summary

My main research specialisms are nineteenth-century realism, especially Balzac and Flaubert, and the work of Roland Barthes.

Teaching Summary

Post-war French women's writing; the French nineteenth-century novel, especially Flaubert and Balzac.

Research Summary

My current research project is a monograph on the notion of the 'Vita nova' in Roland Barthes's very late writing.

Recent Publications

Past Research

My early research was on issues of language and representation in the novels of Gustave Flaubert. I then worked extensively on Roland Barthes, publishing a monograph on Barthes as a utopian writer as well as editing two collections of essays on his work. I have also published work on other nineteenth-century French authors, and on narrative and feminist theory. From around 2000 I have worked intensively on Balzac, and published a monograph (2007) on issues of realism and representation in his artist stories. In 2013, I returned to research on Roland Barthes and I was especially active in 2015, the centenary of his birth which led to academic conferences throughout the world and to special issues of journals devoted to his work.

Future Research

I shall continue to publish on Barthes, as well as the gendering of celibacy, marriage and homosexuality in Balzac's novels.

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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