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 joined the Department of French at Sheffield in 1999. 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 (2002) and Laclos (2008) as well as co-edited books on Enlightenment literary culture and the influence of earth sciences in France from 1740 to 1940. I am particular interested in dynamic, unstable mountain environments (volcanoes, avalanches) encountered in eighteenth-century texts and in travel literature more generally. A more recent interest is in the poetry of the late eighteenth century and the French Revolution, especially that of André Chénier, and in its translation. I also enjoy French theatre, running an extra-curricular Molière reading group and co-directing the annual French play.

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-)

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-)

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 Belfast; Edinburgh/Paris III Sorbonne-Nouvelle; Murdoch University, Australia; King's College London

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

REF (2014) Consultant, French, University of Kent

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


Eighteenth-century French literature

Cultural history in late eighteenth-century France

Mountain exploration, particularly involving volcanoes and avalanches, in eighteenth-century Europe

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

History of ideas in the eighteenth century

The French moralist tradition, from La Rochefoucauld to Cioran

Current and Recent Research Projects

André Chénier: Poetry and Revolution 1792-1794 – introductory essay and new edition of late poems with translations (2015-)

Mountains of Fire: Volcanoes in Eighteenth-Century European Culture – monograph (to be completed 2017)

Metrology in eighteenth-century French literature



HSTT53 MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies (French Revolution)

FRE6654 MA in French: French Cultural Studies

FRE6007 MA in French: Constructions of the City

FRE6011/12 MA in French: Advanced Translation from French

 MDL6003 Dissertation/Thesis Support


 FRE112 French Critical Contexts, Claire de Duras, Ourika

FRE117 Understanding Modern France

FRE247/248 Writing the Revolution I & II

FRE301/302 French Language and Communication Skills

FRE363/364 Le Siècle des Lumières I & II

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

Postgraduate Research

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

Liz Trueman (2015-): ‘Doubling Devices: Mirror, Portrait and Statue in Fantastic Fiction of the Nineteenth Century in France, Germany and Great Britain’

Kirsty Hemsworth (2013-): ‘Empathically unsettled: A comparative study of 9/11 fiction in translation’

 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.

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

Eighteenth-century earth sciences and mountain exploration

Eighteenth-century travel literature, especially in the Alps, Pyrenees or Balkans

Late eighteenth-century French literature – Laclos, Sade, Mercier, Chénier, etc.

Cultural history and the history of ideas in eighteenth-century France


‘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, forthcoming 2017)

 ‘The Continent of History: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Condorcet’, in The Cambridge History of French Thought, ed. Michael Moriarty and Jeremy Jennings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017)

‘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, forthcoming 2017)

 ‘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 & Catriona Seth (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2012), pp.17-32