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Dr Nigel Harkness

Dr Nigel Harkness
Dr Nigel Harkness

Nigel Harkness is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh , where he completed his MA and PhD. During his PhD he spent a year studying at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris . Before coming to Queen’s in 1997 he lectured in French at the University of Wales Swansea .



Nigel’s research focuses on questions of gender in the nineteenth-century novel, particularly the ways in which these intersect with issues of representation, authorship and Realism. He has worked on the principal female author from this period, and his monograph Men of their Words: The Poetics of Masculinity in George Sand’s Fiction recently appeared with Legenda (2007). For the writing of this monograph, Nigel was awarded a Camargo Foundation Fellowship, enabling him to spend a semester at their research centre in Cassis. Nigel has co-edited a volume of essays entitled Visions/Revisions (Lang, 2004), and another volume of essays on Birth and Death in Nineteenth-Century French Culture recently appeared (Rodopi, 2007). He is currently working on a project provisionally entitled ‘Rêves de pierre’: Materiality and Representation in the Nineteenth-Century French Novel, while also developing research into masculinity, patriarchy and homosociality. He is co-editing with Jacinta Wright a volume of essays entitled George Sand: Intertextualité et Polyphonie, as well as writing contributions for the Cambridge History of French Literature (2009) and the Dictionnaire Sand (Champion, 2009)

Nigel is Secretary of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes, and until 2006 was Conference Officer and Executive Committee Member of the Society for French Studies. He regularly presents work at international conferences, and has been invited to speak at a CNRS seminar organised by the LIRE research group based at Lyon II (2005), and at conferences in Grenoble, Boston and Cerisy-la-Salle (2004). He has organised a number of international conferences, including the 2005 SDN conference at QUB, and, with Dr Jacinta Wright, the George Sand: Intertextualité et Polyphonie conference in Dublin City University in 2006.

Nigel is currently supervising 2 PhD students:

·        Steven Wilson, who is in his final year of AHRC-funded research on Metaphors of Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century French literature

·        Clive Hunter, who is beginning AHRC-funded research on masculinity in the French novel.

In 2004 he successfully co-supervised a PhD on Algerian women’s writing, and in 2007 Ali Tarmal successfully completed his doctorate on Le Voyage historique et littéraire by Amédée Pichot. He could offer supervision in the fields of nineteenth-century French fiction, masculinity and the novel, gender and representation, and women’s writing.




Men of Their Words: The Poetics of Masculinity in George Sand’s Fiction ( Oxford : Legenda, 2007)


Edited Collections
  • (with P. Rowe, T. Unwin & J. Yee), Visions/Revisions: Essays in Nineteenth-Century French Culture, ( Bern : Peter Lang, 2004)
  • (with L. Downing, S. Stephens & T. Unwin), Birth and Death in Nineteenth-Century French Culture ( Amsterdam : Rodopi, 2007)
Men of their Words
Birth and Death

Journal Articles


  • Les Lettres d’un voyageur: entre fiction et autobiographie, quête et apprentissage’, Recherches et Travaux (forthcoming 2007)
  • ‘Le Roman Bâtard : les femmes auteurs et l’illégitimité sous la Monarchie de Juillet’, Romantisme, 132 (2006), 115-27.
  • ‘Resisting Realist Petrification in George Sand’s Lélia and Balzac’s Sarrasine’, French Studies, 59.2 (2005), 159-72
  • ‘“Le Style homme” et “le style femme”: Defining Masculinity and Femininity in Le Marquis de Villemer’, George Sand Studies, 17 (1998), 65-77
  • ‘Writing under the Sign of Difference: The Conclusion of Indiana ’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 33 (1997), 115-28 


Chapters in Books:

  • ‘« Ce marbre qui me monte jusqu’aux genoux »: Pétrification, Mimésis et le Mythe de Pygmalion dans Lélia (1833 et 1839)’, in George Sand et l’écriture expérimentale, ed. by Isabelle Naginski and Brigitte Diaz (Caen : Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2006), pp. 161-72 
  • ‘Negotiating Masculinity: Nineteenth-Century Reinterpretations of Manon Lescaut’ in Depicting Desire, ed. by Rachael Langford ( Bern : Peter Lang, 2005), pp. 71-89
  • ‘Republican Principles on Trial: The Revolution of 1848’ in France Since the Revolution: Texts and Contexts, ed. by C. Gorrara and R. Langford (London: Arnold , 2003), pp. 27-39
  • (with R. Bales) ‘From “once upon a time” to The Search for Lost Time: interactions between Sand and Proust’, in Reading Across the Lines, ed. by C. Shorley & M. McCusker (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy , 2001), pp. 141-152
  • ‘Sand, Lamennais et le féminisme: le cas des Lettres à Marcie’ in Le Siècle de George Sand, ed. by David Powell (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1998), 185-92
  • ‘Le Narrateur patriarcal dans l’œuvre romanesque de George Sand’, in George Sand et l’écriture du roman, ed. by Jeanne Goldin (Montreal: Paragraphes, 1996), pp. 261-67


Nigel’s undergraduate and postgraduate teaching draws on his research interests in questions of gender, the nineteenth-century novel and theories of narrative and representation (particularly in relation to contemporary French cinema and literature). He convenes and teaches specialist courses in Legal French (Le Français juridique), and has been involved in course development for Business French (Le Français des affaires). He also delivers a number of classes on the Research Methods course for MA students. His current teaching includes the following courses

  • Gender, Culture, Society
  • Godard et Truffaut
  • Feminist Fiction?
  • Marginalités 


  • Research Methods
  • From Realism to Naturalism
  • Trauma and Memory 

Nigel is a member of the Higher Education Academy, and external examiner for French at Royal Holloway University of London.


Nigel has held a number of key administrative roles in the School of Languages , Literatures and Performing Arts. He was Head of French (2006-07), having previously held the posts of Convenor of Learning and Teaching (2001-03) and Head of Postgraduate Studies (2005-06). He chairs the University’s Work-Related Learning Group, and is a member of the Student Skills Policy Working Group.