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Prof Richard Bales

Prof Richard Bales

It is with incredible sadness that French Studies announces the death of our dear friend and colleague, Professor Richard Bales. Richard passed away on 17th December 2007 after a short illness.


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I was educated at the universities of Exeter, Kansas and London, and came to Queen’s in 1973. Other universities I have had close associations with are Edinburgh (visiting research fellow), Bucharest (summer courses), Paris-X (lecteur) and Zimbabwe (visiting professor), and I am a long-standing member of the Centre de recherches proustiennes at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. I have also examined and given lectures at many other universities. Conference papers have taken me as far afield as Canada, Transylvania and Australia.

My favourite area of cultural interest is literature and the other arts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Proust is “my” author, but I have written on many others, including personal novelists of the nineteenth century (Persuasion in the French Personal Novel, 1997) and Belgian Symbolists (editions of Georges Rodenbach and Grégoire Le Roy, 1999 and 2005). I was one of the first researchers to transcribe Proust’s manuscripts (see Bricquebec, 1989), culminating in my work-in-progress, an edition of Cahier 27 (supported by a Leverhulme Fellowship, 2005-6). I have also written a book on Proust and the Middle Ages (1975) and a Grant and Cutler guide to A la recherche du temps perdu (1995), and have edited the Cambridge Companion to Proust (2001). A special pleasure was editing a Festschrift for a former distinguished colleague, Peter Broome (Challenges of Translation in French Literature, 2001).

Apart from supervising PhDs on Proust, I have also had students who have written on Nerval, Anouilh and Imaginary Worlds. I am always happy to offer supervision and advice on the period of my cultural interests. My undergraduate and MA teaching has covered the major novelists of that era, with some unusual features, such as Short Fiction (U/G) and Belgian Symbolism (MA). I have a keen interest in literary theory, teaching those sections of our MA Research Methods course devoted to Structuralism and Deconstruction. Current optional modules are: Nineteenth-century Short Fiction (Level 2) and Proust (Level 3). A favourite filière is Paris, ville d’art (Level 3).

I am a great believer in public transport, and can tell you anything you want to know about the Paris métro and buses.