Dr David McCallam


School of Languages and Cultures

Reader in French Eighteenth-Century Studies

Dr David McCallam
+44 114 222 2860

Full contact details

Dr David McCallam
School of Languages and Cultures
Room 3.43
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

I specialise in the long eighteenth century in France, covering the French Enlightenment and the French Revolution. I have worked a lot on late eighteenth-century French literature (Chamfort, Laclos, Sade, de Maistre, etc.). 

More recently, my research has focused on the environment in eighteenth-century France and Europe, specifically on dynamic geological and meteorological phenomena, such as volcanoes, avalanches and clouds. In 2019 I published a wide-ranging study on the cultural significance of volcanoes in eighteenth-century Europe (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, Liverpool University Press).

A more recent research interest is in the poetry of the late eighteenth century, especially in the context of the French Revolution. My study, André Chénier: Poetry and Revolution 1792-1794 – a bilingual edition of the last poems with new translations – will be published by Legenda in 2021.

I also have an active interest in 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 Academic in Residence at the Graves Gallery, Museums Sheffield (2018-19).

  • MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)
  • MA (Warwick)
  • BA (London Metropolitan)
Research interests
  • Eighteenth-century French literature
  • Environmental humanities, particularly involving mountainous areas, in eighteenth-century Europe
  • Cultural history in late eighteenth-century France
  • The French Revolution
  • Early modern literature and translation

Current Research Projects:

  • Aliveness and Literature in France 1750-1800
  • A History of Resilience: Responses to Eighteenth-Century Environmental Disasters

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

  • Gendered and embodied responses to the French 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, de Gouges, Chénier, etc.
  • Early modern literature and translation


  • McCallam D (2021) André Chénier. Modern Humanities Research Association. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2019) Volcanoes in Eighteenth-Century Europe An Essay in Environmental Humanities. Oxford University Studies in t. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lyle L & McCallam D (2008) Histoires De La Terre: Earth Sciences and French Culture 1740-1940. Rodopi Bv Editions. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lyle L & McCallam EBLLAD (2008) Histoires De La Terre. Rodopi Bv Editions. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2008) Art de l'équivoque chez Laclos (l'). Geneva: Librarie Droz. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • McCallam D (2020) The Enlightenment Redux: Autonomy in Todorov, Glucksmann, and Onfray (pp. 55-73). Boydell and Brewer Limited RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2019) The Continent of History, The Cambridge History of French Thought (pp. 249-255). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2017) From Analogies to Patterns: Images in French and British Geological Texts (1760-1800) In Beck L & Ionescu C (Ed.), Visualizing the Text: From Manuscript Culture to the Age of Caricature University of Delaware Press View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2017) Third Person Singular: the Liberation of the Marquise de Sade, 1789-1790, Gender and Politics in the Age if Letter-Writing, 1750–2000 (pp. 55-66). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2016) Dangerous Connections, 1784 : et si traduire c’était séduire, Laclos après Laclos (pp. 11-20). Hermann RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2012) Xavier de Maistre and Angelology In Oergel M (Ed.), (Re-)Writing the Radical: Enlightenment, Revolution and Cultural Transfer in 1790s Britain, France and Germany Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2012) L'avalance au tournant des Lumieres In Astbury K & Seth C (Ed.), Le Tournant des Lumieres (pp. 17-32). Paris: Classiques Garnier. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2012) Face à la mort blanche: conceptions du froid extrême dans les avalanches et dans les neiges au XVIIIe siècle In Berchtold J, Sermain JP, Vasak A & Le Roy Ladurie E (Ed.), Canicules et froids extrêmes. L’évènement climatique et ses représentations (pp. 97-108). Paris: Editions Hermann. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2011) Quelques réflexions sur la figure de la chaîne au XVIIIe siècle: en théorie et en pratique In Kobi V (Ed.), De la théorie à l'action. Les savoirs et leur mise en œuvre au siècle des Lumières (pp. 123-134). Geneva: Slaktine. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2009) Concevoir l'Europe au XVIIIe siècle selon sa géologie: le cas des volcans In Piccardo L (Ed.), L'idée d'Europe au XVIIIe siècle (pp. 231-242). Honoré Champion RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D & Rotherham ID (2008) Peat Bogs, Marshes and Fen as Disputed Landscapes in Late Eighteenth-Century France and England In Lyle L & McCallam D (Ed.), Histoires De La Terre (pp. 75-88). Rodopi Bv Editions RIS download Bibtex download
  • McCallam D (2008) Physiocrats and barbarians: moral economies in Chamfort's comedies In Cronk N & Renwick J (Ed.), Voltaire and the 1760s (pp. 65-75). Oxford: Voltaire Foundation. RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews

Conference proceedings papers

  • McCallam D (2017) Nuages et Nuances révolutionnaires: la Fête de la Fédération, le 14 juillet 1790. Les Nuages, du tournant des Lumières au crépuscule du Romantisme (pp 67-81). Paris, 11 April 2017 - 16 April 2017. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Isabel Richardson (2018-): Comparative translation study of French-English translations of Twelfth-Century French texts (c.1915-2015)

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’

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 science/superstition in Maupassant (Liz Trueman, Winner Maria A Salgado Essay Prize 2017), women’s practices of imitation in the French Revolution, the figure of Robespierre in post-revolutionary memoirs, Gothic intermediality, historical and contemporary translation studies.

Teaching activities


  • MDL6054 Advanced Translation from French
  • FRE3001/2 Littérature moderne: thèmes et idées (with Dr Maxime Goergen)


  • MDL1010 French Language (post-A-Level)
  • MDL115 French Critical Contexts (Mme de Duras, Ourika; Mme de La Fayette, La Princesse de Montpensier)
  • MDL107 Understanding Modern France
  • FRE21001 Writing the French Revolution
  • FRE363 Le Siècle des Lumières
Professional activities
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Eighteenth-Century Fiction (2016-2020)
  • Member of the Executive Board of the Society for French Studies (2014-2020)
  • 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 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • Member of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • Member of the European Society for Environmental History
  • External Examiner for PhD Thesis: Queen’s University Belfast; University of Edinburgh/Paris III Sorbonne-Nouvelle; Murdoch University, Australia; King's College London; Université de Lorraine
  • 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)
Outreach activities

Invited online talk for Museums Sheffield about a late nineteenth-century French painting held in their collections, Narcisse Chaillou’s intriguing Le Dépeceur de rats (1871):


Participation in a podcast for The Conversation, tackling the issue of how societies recover from major crises or shocks. In this case, the terrible Lisbon Earthquake of November 1755:


A vidcast made with Beth Evans (BA, MA in Screen Translation, Sheffield) and her creative subtitling start-up Subtxt:

Vidcast on the function of foreign languages in James Bond novels

A video made with Dr Amanda Crawley-Jackson and the Graves Gallery, Sheffield, on their artwork, Le 7 décembre 1815, neuf heures du matin [The Execution of Marshal Ney] by Jean-Léon Gérôme:


Participation in the Radio 4 programme In Our Time on Marie-Antoinette:


Co-scripting of a video for The School of Life on the Romanian-French philosopher Emil Cioran:


A poetry translation workshop entitled ‘Smash the Text’, run by the award-winning poet, Eleanor Brown, involving second - and final-year students in group translations of André Chénier poems written in the Terror.

The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Teaching Prize (2013) 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’. Performances in Sheffield and Montpellier: