Dr David McCallam


Dr David McCallamDmc

Reader in French Eighteenth-Century Studies

Room 3.43, French, Jessop West, University of Sheffield, 1 Upper Hanover St, Sheffield S3 7RA


Telephone: (0114) 222 2860


BA (London Metropolitan), MA (Warwick), MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)


I specialize in the long eighteenth century in France, covering the French Enlightenment and the French Revolution. I have published monographs on the authors Chamfort and Laclos as well as co-edited books on Enlightenment literary culture and the influence of earth sciences in France from 1740 to 1940. I am particularly interested in dynamic, unstable mountain environments (volcanoes, avalanches) encountered in eighteenth-century texts, in travel literature and in the environmental humanities more generally. My study of volcanoes in eighteenth-century Europe was published by the Voltaire Foundation / Liverpool University Press in 2019. A more recent interest is in the poetry of the late eighteenth century in the context of the French Revolution, especially that of André Chénier. I also enjoy French theatre, running an extra-curricular Molière reading group and co-directing the annual French play as part of the University of Sheffield’s Modern Languages Drama Festival. I was the Academic in Residence at the Graves Gallery, Museums Sheffield (2018-19).

Professional Activities

Member of the Editorial Board of Eighteenth-Century Fiction (2016-)

Member of the Executive Board of the Society for French Studies (2014-)

Member of the Voltaire Foundation Board of Management, University of Oxford (2013-2017)

Member of the Editorial Board, Journal Arrêt sur scène/Scene Focus, Université de Montpellier-III (2012-)

Member of the Editorial Board of French Studies (2009-18)

Member of the Executive Committee of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2006-2009)

Member of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Member of the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

External Examiner for PhD Thesis, Queen’s University Belfast; Edinburgh/Paris III Sorbonne-Nouvelle; Murdoch University, Australia; King's College London

External Examiner for French, University of Edinburgh (2008-2011), University of Cambridge (2011-2014), King's College London (2014-18)

REF (2014) Consultant, French, University of Kent

Referee for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)


Eighteenth-century French literature

Environmental humanities, particularly involving volcanoes and avalanches, in eighteenth-century Europe

Cultural history in late eighteenth-century France

The French Revolution, conceptions of the Terror, representations of the guillotine

The French moralist tradition, from La Rochefoucauld to Cioran

Current and Recent Research Projects

The French in ‘Illyria’ 1755-1815: Geopoetics and Geopolitics in the Eastern Adriatic

André Chénier: Poetry and Revolution 1792-1794 – introductory essay and new edition of late poems with translations



HSTT53 MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies (French Revolution)

FRE6011/12 MA in French: Advanced Translation from French


 FRE109/110 French Language and Communication Skills

FRE112 French Critical Contexts, Claire de Duras, Ourika

FRE117 Understanding Modern France

FRE247/248 Writing the Revolution I & II

FRE363/364 Le Siècle des Lumières I & II

In 2016 I was awarded Faculty funding to convene a poetry translation workshop entitled ‘Smash the Text’, run by the award-winning poet, Eleanor Brown, which involved second- and final-year students translating texts written by André Chénier when he was in prison during the Terror.

In 2013 I was awarded the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Teaching Prize for an innovative production of a short play by Marivaux, performed by students reading the text as part of my final-year module ‘Le Siècle des Lumières’. Our interpretation of the play was performed as part of an international conference and theatre festival in Montpellier.

Postgraduate Research

Harsh Trivedi (2017-): ‘Les chefs-d’œuvre inconnus: une étude des œuvres fictives dans La Comédie humaine’

Rebecca Herd (2016-): ‘“Staging” Criticism: Seventeenth-Century French Women Playwrights and the Subversion of Classicism’

Liz Trueman (2015-): ‘Progression/Regression: Creative Tensions between Science and Superstition in the Nineteenth-Century French and German Novella’. Winner Maria A Salgado Essay Prize 2017.

Kirsty Hemsworth (2013-2017): ‘Translation and/as Empathy: Mapping Translation Shifts in 9/11 Fiction’. Successful completion.

Morgane Guinard (2013-2016): ‘La Parabole du Savoir Interdit, ou les interdits philosophiques et religieux sur la connaissance en France au XVIIIe siècle’. Successful completion.

Carla Almanza-Galvez (2012-2016): ‘Utopian Narrative in Eighteenth-Century Spain: Generic Frameworks and Social Reformism’. Successful completion. Winner of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland Postgraduate Publication Prize 2017.

Anna Jenkin (2012-2015): 'Perceptions of the Murderess in London and Paris, 1674-1789'. Successful completion.

I have also supervised numerous MA Dissertations on various topics including women’s practices of imitation in the French Revolution, Gothic intermediality, and contemporary translation studies.

I would be very interested in supervising postgraduate research in the following areas:

  • The French Revolution, notions of 'Terror', libertine responses to the Revolution
  • Environmental humanities, especially in eighteenth-century Europe
  • Eighteenth-century travel literature, especially in the mountains and in the Adriatic
  • Late eighteenth-century French literature – Laclos, Sade, Mercier, Chénier, etc.
  • Cultural history and the history of ideas in eighteenth-century France

Volcanoes in Eighteenth-Century Europe: An Essay in Environmental Humanities, Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2019)

‘La marquise de Merteuil poète?’, Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France, 2019/1, pp.95-102

‘The Enlightenment Redux: Autonomy in Todorov, Glucksmann and Onfray’, in Tzvetan Todorov: Thinker, Critic, Humanist, ed. Henk de Berg and Karine Zbinden (Rochester NY: Camden House, 2019)

‘The Continent of History: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Condorcet’, in The Cambridge History of French Thought, ed. Michael Moriarty and Jeremy Jennings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp.249-255

‘A M. le chevalier Hamilton, ambassadeur à Naples’, letter by Voltaire edited for Commentaire historique (Œuvres complètes de Voltaire, 78B), Voltaire Foundation (2018), pp.284-288

‘Orphée ou la poésie incarnée chez André Chénier’, Op. Cit. : Revue des littératures et des arts, 17 (Aut 2017) : https://revues.univ-pau.fr/opcit/278

‘Nuages et nuances révolutionnaires: la Fête de la Fédération, le 14 juillet 1790’, in Les Nuages : du tournant des Lumières au crépuscule du Romantisme, 1760-1880, ed. Anouchka Vasak and Pierre Glaudes (Paris : Hermann, 2017), pp.67-81

‘From Analogies to Patterns: Images in French and British Geological Texts of the Late Eighteenth Century’, in Visualizing the Text from Manuscript Culture to the Age of Caricature, ed. Christina Ionescu and Lauren Beck (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2017), pp.203-227

‘Movement and Montage in André Chénier’s “Ode à Versailles” (1793)’, Crossways Journal 1:1 (2017) https://crossways.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/crossways/article/view/3883

Dangerous Connections, 1784: et si traduire c’était séduire’, in Laclos après Laclos, ed. Catriona Seth (Paris: Hermann, 2016), pp.11-20

‘André Chénier’s "Dernières poésies": Animism and the Terror’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 51:3 (July 2015), 304-315

‘Metrology: The Body as Measure in Les Liaisons dangereuses’, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 27:1 (Fall 2014), 83-104

‘La Reconnaissance agonistique: L’Île des esclaves et La Fausse Suivante de Marivaux’, Arrêt sur Scène/Scene Focus, 2 (2013), 155-164 [co-authored with Eleanor Hodgson]

‘Un météore inédit: les brouillards secs de 1783’, in Ordre et désordre du monde: Enquête sur les météores, de la Renaissance à l’âge moderne, ed. Thierry Belleguic and Anouchka Vasak (Paris: Hermann, 2013), pp.369-388

‘Xavier de Maistre and Angelology’, in (Re-)Writing the Radical: Enlightenment, Revolution and Cultural Transfer in 1790s Germany, Britain and France, ed. Maike Oergel (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012), pp.239-250

'The Terrorist Earth? Some Thoughts on Sade and Baudrillard', French Cultural Studies 23:3 (August 2012), 215-224

‘L'avalanche au tournant des Lumières', Le Tournant des Lumières, ed. Katherine Astbury and Catriona Seth (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2012), pp.17-32

‘Face à la mort blanche: conceptions du froid extrême dans les avalanches et dans les neiges au XVIIIe siècle’, in Canicules et froids extremes: L’Événement climatique et ses representations (II). Histoire, littérature, peinture, ed. Jacques Berchtold et al (Paris: Hermann, 2012), pp.97-108

‘(Ac)claiming Illyria: Eighteenth-Century Istria and Dalmatia in Fortis, Cassas and Lavallée’, Central Europe, 9:2 (Nov 2011), 125-141

‘A Manifesto for the Arts and Humanities: The Example of Candide’, 'Atelier de théorie littéraire' on Fabula (mars 2011)

‘Quelques réflexions sur la figure de la chaîne au XVIIIe siècle: en théorie et en pratique’, in De la théorie à l’action. Les savoirs et leur mise en œuvre au siècle des Lumières, ed. Valérie Kobi (Geneva: Slaktine, 2011), pp.123-134

‘Credit and Credulity in Montesquieu’s Lettres persanes’, Lumen, 28 (2010), 107-116