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Claire Boyle

Claire Boyle



+44 (0)131 650 4024

Room 3.49, 50 George Square

Outline Biography

MA, PhD (Cambridge)

Claire Boyle completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, and then taught at the University of Oxford for a spell, before securing her first permanent lectureship at the University of Stirling in 2005. She joined the University of Edinburgh in January 2008. She is a specialist in post-war French literature, thought and cinema, but has experience in teaching French literature from all periods from the medieval to the contemporary, as well as post-war European cinema.

Research Interests

  • Post-war and contemporary French autobiography
  • Post-war and contemporary French literature
  • Twentieth-century French thought and modern critical theory
  • Contemporary French film (especially queer cinema, first-person testimonial films and le jeune cinéma)

Claire has experience of supervising students at Masters and doctoral level and would welcome applications from students planning to undertake postgraduate research in French autobiography studies, French feminism (especially Cixous and Irigaray), queer theory and film, or contemporary French cinema.

Research activity

Claire Boyle’s research to date has primarily been in the field of post-war French autobiography studies. Against a backdrop of the commodification of the self and an anxious interrogation into the essence of personal and collective identity in France in the latter part of the twentieth century, the main emphasis of her research in this domain has involved examining the expression, negotiation and construction of identity and subjectivity in French autobiographical writing. Approaching these questions from a variety of theoretical perspectives, a particular focus of her work has involved tracing the impact that issues of testimony, gender, sexuality, identification and alterity have on the ways in which identity is forged. She has explored these themes principally with reference to the literary work of Nathalie Sarraute, Georges Perec, Jean Genet and Hélène Cixous. The developments, renewals and negotiations of autobiography as a literary genre that have taken place in France over the last half century provide another axis to her research.

Her current research projects focus on the construction and representation of identities in the cinema (particularly queer identities). This has already led to a number of article-length studies being published, and will also be at the heart of her next major research project, which will explore the use of first-person discourses in contemporary French cinema.

Claire Boyle is an affiliate of the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Sexuality and Gender in Europe (CISSGE) at the University of Exeter.


Publications list for Claire Boyle


  • Twentieth-century literature, thought and film
  • Intimate Exposures: Fifty Years of French First-Person Cinema (4th year undergraduate option course)
  • ‘L’autobiographie littéraire contemporaine’ (4th year undergraduate option course)
  • Claire Boyle additionally offers teaching and supervision on French feminism and queer theory for core courses on the MSc programmes in Comparative Literature and European Studies, as well as teaching and supervision for the MSc in Translation Studies.

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