Dr David McCallam


School of Languages and Cultures

Reader in French Eighteenth-Century Studies

Dr David McCallam
Profile picture of 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. In 2022 I was awarded a Fellowship at the Camargo Foundation (Cassis, France) to undertake research into forms of socio-ecological resilience during the Marseille plague of 1720-1722.

Another recent research interest is in the poetry of the late eighteenth century and its translation. My study, André Chénier: Poetry and Revolution 1792-1794 – a bilingual edition of the last poems with new translations – was published by Legenda in 2021.

I also have an active interest in French theatre, running an extra-curricular Molière reading group and directing the annual French play as part of the University of Sheffield’s Modern Languages Drama Festival. 

In 2022 I was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French state for ‘services rendus à la culture française’.

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

Current Research Projects:

  • Contagion: New Perspectives on the Marseille Plague 1720-1722
  • Ethnicity and Empire in the French Illyrian Provinces 1809-1813

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
Research group

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

Rebecca Herd (part-time 2016-): ‘Gender and Violence in Works by Seventeenth-Century French Women Playwrights’

Harsh Trivedi (2017-2022): ‘Les chefs-d’œuvre inconnus: une étude des œuvres fictives dans La Comédie humaine’. Successful completion.

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


  • MDL6048 Advanced Translation from French
  • MDL622 Research Methods in Modern Languages


  • MDL115 Intersections: Text, Image, Thought in the French-Speaking World
  • MDL107 Understanding Modern France
  • FRE21001 Writing the French Revolution
  • MDL319 Littérature et environnement en France aux 18e-19e siècles
Professional activities and memberships
  • Member of the Executive Board of the Society for Early Modern French Studies (2021-)
  • 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 (2013-2016)
  • 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 (x 2); Université de Lorraine
  • External Examiner for French, University of Edinburgh (2008-2011), University of Cambridge (2011-2014), King's College London (2014-18); University of St-Andrews (2021-)
  • Referee for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

Authored Books and Co-Edited Volumes

André Chénier: Poetry and Revolution 1792-1794. A Bilingual Edition of the Last Poems with New Translations. Oxford: Legenda, 2021.

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

Eighteenth-Century French Studies’, special online issue, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2012.

L’Art de l’équivoque chez Laclos. Geneva: Droz, 2008.

Histoires de la Terre: Earth Sciences and French Culture 1740-1940, ed. Louise Lyle & David McCallam. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008.

The Enterprise of Enlightenment, ed. Terry Pratt & David McCallam. Bern: Lang, 2004.

Chamfort and the French Revolution: A study in form and ideology. SVEC. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2002.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

‘“Tout frémit au seul nom de cette maladie”: On Strategies for (Not) Naming the Plague, Marseille 1720’, Early Modern French Studies, 2024  DOI: 10.1080/20563035.2024.2317156

‘Two poems by Christophe Tarkos’, Comparative Critical Studies, 21:1 (2024), 119-124.

‘Terror and Oranges’, History Today, 73:4 (April 2023), 64-69.

‘Vers une histoire de la résilience: les réponses socio-écologiques en France à l’éruption volcanique du Laki en 1783’, Dix-huitième Siècle, 54 (2022), no. spécial ‘Climat et environnement’, 101-114.

‘Illyria Remembered: On Some French Memoirs of the Illyrian Provinces 1809-1813’, Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques, 48:1 (2022), 23-45.

‘The Obverse View: Another Look at Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Le 7 décembre 1815, neuf heures du matin [The Execution of Marshal Ney] 1868’, Dix-neuf: Journal of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes, 24:1 (2020), 82-98.

‘The Enlightenmen Redux: Autonomy in Todorov, Glucksmann, and Onfray’, in Tzvetan Todorov: Thinker and Humanist, ed. H. de Berg & K. Zbinden. Rochester NY: Boydell & Brewer, 2020, pp. 55-73.

‘The University Now: A Provocation in Five Readings’, Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives, 9:2 (2020), 62-74.

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

‘The Continent of History: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Condorcet’, in The Cambridge History of French Thought, ed. M. Moriarty & J. Jennings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019, pp. 249-255.

‘A M. le chevalier Hamilton, ambassadeur à Naples’, in Commentaire historique (Œuvres complètes de Voltaire, 78C). Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2018, pp. 295-300.

‘Orphée ou la poésie incarnée chez André Chénier’, Op. Cit.: Revue des littératures et des arts, 17 (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. A. Vasak & P. 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. C. Ionescu & L. 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. C. Seth. Paris: Hermann, 2016, pp. 11-20.

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

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

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

‘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. T. Belleguic & A. 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. M. Oergel. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012, pp. 239-250.

‘L'avalanche au tournant des Lumières’, in Le Tournant des Lumières, ed. K. Astbury & C. Seth. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2012, pp. 17-32.

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

‘Face à la mort blanche: conceptions du froid extrême dans les avalanches et dans les neiges au XVIIIe siècle’, in Canicules et froids extrêmes. L’évènement climatique et ses representations, ed. J. Berchtold et al. Paris: Editions Hermann, 2012, pp. 97-108.

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

‘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. V. Kobi. Geneva: Slaktine, 2011, pp. 123-134.

‘A Manifesto for the Arts and Humanities: The Example of CandideAtelier de théorie littéraire, Fabula (2011)


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

‘Pique-niquer sur le volcan: une pratique culturelle de Winckelmann à Sade’, French Studies, 63:3 (2009), 259-270.

‘Concevoir l’Europe au XVIIIe siècle selon sa géologie: le cas des volcans’, in L’Idée d’Europe au XVIIIe siècle, ed. L. Piccardo. Paris: Champion, 2009, pp. 232-242.

[with Ian Rotherham] ‘Peat Bogs, Marshes and Fen as Disputed Landscapes in Late Eighteenth-Century France and England’, in Histoires de la Terre: Earth Sciences and French Culture 1740-1940, ed. L. Lyle & D. McCallam. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008, pp. 75-88.

‘Physiocrats and barbarians: moral economies in Chamfort’s comedies’, in Voltaire and the 1760s. Essays for John Renwick, ed. N. Cronk. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2008, pp. 65-75.

‘“La machine”: Sade, the Guillotine and Eroticism’, in Marquis de Sade and the Scientia and Techne of Eroticism, ed. F. Burwick & K. Tucker. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007, pp. 54-71.

‘Chamfort entre mémoires, récits de voyage et littérature moraliste’, Cahiers de l’Association Internationale des Études Françaises, 59 (2007), 207-220.

‘Les modalités du désir dans Les Liaisons dangereuses’, Dix-Huitième Siècle, 38 (2006), 589-609.

‘Anecdote et Lumières: le cas de Chamfort’, in Qu’est-ce que les Lumières? ed. K. Tunstall & G. Pigeard de Gurbert. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2006, pp. 185-195.

‘Exploring Volcanoes in the Late French Enlightenment: the Savant and the Sublime’, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 29:1 (2006), 47-59.

‘The Volcano: From Enlightenment to Revolution’, Nottingham French Studies, special edition, ‘Revolutionary Culture: Continuity and Change’, ed. M. Darlow. 45:1 (2006), 52-68.

‘Chamfort et l’optique moraliste’, in L’Optique des moralistes de Montaigne à Chamfort, ed. B. Roukhomovsky. Paris: Champion, 2005, pp. 347-358.

‘Démolir pour édifier: morale et architecture chez Chamfort’, SVEC, 7 (2005), 327-338

‘“Monstre à figure humaine”: Portraits des révolutionnaires dans Le Nouveau Paris de Louis-Sébastien Mercier’, in Le mâle en France 1715-1830: Représentations de la masculinité, ed. K. Astbury & M.-E. Plagnol-Diéval. Bern: Peter Lang, 2004, pp. 219-231.

‘Third Person Singular: The Liberation of the Marquise de Sade 1789-1790’, in The Age of Letter Writing. Gender and Politics 1750-2000, ed. C. Bland & M. Cross. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 45-55.

‘Stendhal, Sieyès and the Literary Aristocracy’, French Studies Bulletin, 91 (2004), 10-12.

‘The Nature of Libertine Promises in Laclos’s Les Liaisons dangereuses’, Modern Language Review, 98:4 (2003), 857-869.

‘Encountering and Countering the “Uncanny” in Descartes’s Méditations’, French Studies, 57:2 (2003), 135-147; Reprinted in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800, vol. 150, ed. by Tom Schoenberg (Detroit; London: Gale, 2008).

‘Une forme frondeuse: the function of discontinuity in La Rochefoucauld’s Maximes’, Seventeenth-Century French Studies, 24 (2002), 239-248.

‘Waxing Revolutionary: Reflections on a Raid on a Waxworks at the Outbreak of the French Revolution’, French History, 16:2 (2002), 153-173.

‘Chamfort, Doctor of Morals: The Maxim and the Medical Aphorism in Late Eighteenth-Century France’, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 25:1 (2002), 103-111.

‘Breaking the Code: Passion and Narrative in Stendhal’s “La duchesse de Palliano”’, Arachnofiles: A Journal of European Languages and Cultures, 2 (2001): https://www.ed.ac.uk/literatures-languages-cultures/delc/arachnofiles/index-issues

‘Cast in a new light: clichés in Proust’s “Combray”’, French Studies Bulletin, 78 (2001), 15-17.

‘From Authority to Authorship: Chamfort’s maxims and the transferral of power in late eighteenth-century France’, Trivium, 32 (2000), 45-58.

‘Les “petites phrases” dans la politique anglo-saxonne’, Communication et langages, 126 (2000), 52-59.

‘The Significance of Scars in some Writings of La Rochefoucauld’, in Corporeal Practices: (Re)figuring the body in French Studies, ed. J. Prest & H. Thompson. Bern: Peter Lang, 2000, pp. 33-43.

‘Re-writing the Revolution as popular spectacle in Chamfort’s Tableaux historiques de la Révolution française’, in Dialogues 3: Re-writing the Political, ed. D. Hall & B. McCann. Exeter: Elm Bank Publications, 2000, pp. 19-27.