Dr Fabien Arribert-Narce

Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies

  • French and Francophone Studies
  • Department of European Languages and Cultures
  • School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Contact details



Room 3.47, 50 George Square

Post code


  • Term-time office hours (2021-22):
    -Monday 11am-12pm
    -Monday 2pm-3pm
    For appointment at other times, please send an email


After completing his AHRC-funded PhD in French at the University of Kent and Université Paris III–Sorbonne nouvelle (2011), Dr Fabien Arribert-Narce successively worked as a Teaching Fellow in French at University College London (2011–12), as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (2012-13) and the University of Tokyo (2013-14), and as an Associate Professor in French at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo (2014-16). He joined the University of Edinburgh as a Lecturer in French in September 2016, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS) based in Seikei University, Tokyo, from Jan. 2019 to Jan. 2020.

His research specialism is in 20th and 21st century French literature and visual culture, comparative literature and intermediality. His current research focuses on the reception of Japanese culture by French and Francophone writers and film-makers since 1970, and on literary and artistic responses to the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 in Japan and Europe.

He is the author of "Photobiographies: pour une écriture de notation de la vie (Roland Barthes, Denis Roche, Annie Ernaux)" (Honoré Champion, 2014), and he has also co-edited several multi-author volumes including: "L’Autobiographie entre autres. Écrire la vie aujourd’hui" (Peter Lang, 2013); "Réceptions de la culture japonaise en France depuis 1945. Paris-Tokyo-Paris: détours par le Japon" (Honoré Champion, 2016); "The Pleasure in/of the Text: About the Joys and Perversities of Reading" (Peter Lang, 2021); "Regards sur le quotidien au Japon et en Occident: Études de cas en arts, lettres et sciences humaines" ("Revue des Sciences Humaines", Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2021, forthcoming); "Michaël Ferrier: un écrivain du corail" (Honoré Champion, 2021).


BA (Grenoble); MA (Kent); PhD (Kent; Paris 3-Sorbonne nouvelle)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Programme co-director, MSc Intermediality: Literature, Film & the Arts in Dialogue

Co-director, LLC Research Strand in Intermediality


Lead Coordinator, Meiji University, Tokyo-University of Edinburgh Research Partnership in Intermedial Studies


External Examiner for the MA Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies in Modern Languages at Birkbeck, University of London (since 2020)

Undergraduate teaching

  • 20th and 21st century literature, thought and visual culture
  • French 1B: “France and French Literature & Culture since 1940” (ELCF08006), Course Organiser; 1st year UG core course
  • “Comparative Literature in a European and Global Perspective” (Hons: ELCC10022; Ord: ELCC09001), Course Organiser; 3rd/4th year DELC UG option
  • “Images of Japan in French and Francophone Culture from the 19th to the 21st century” (Hons: ELCF10077; Ord: ELCF09037), Course Organiser; 3rd/4th year UG option
  • “Picturing the Self: Contemporary French and Francophone Life Writing” (Hons: ELCF10079; Ord: ELCF09039), Course Organiser with Dr Claire Boyle; 3rd/4th year UG option

Postgraduate teaching

  • “MSc Intermediality: Literature, Film & the Arts in Dialogue”, Programme Co-Director, 2021-22                                                                                                                    (https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees/index.php?r=site/view&edition=2020&id=987)
  • “Literature and Photography in the 20th century” (CLLC11186), Course Organiser; MSc option course                                                                                                                       
  • Seminar on Literary Translingualism, MSc in Comparative Literature, “Theories and Methods of Literary Study” (CLLC11024); core course

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

  • Modern and Contemporary French & Francophone Studies
  • Comparative Literature
  • Visual Culture, Intermediality and Word & Image Studies

Current PhD students supervised

  • Beata Migut, PhD in Comparative Literature (Co-supervisor); thesis title: 'Exophonic Word and Image Relations in the Work of Vladimir Nabokov, Yoko Tawada and Bruno Schulz'
  • Matthis Hervieux, PhD in Comparative Literature (Lead supervisor); thesis title: 'Franco-Japanese Encounters in Intermedial Works by Roland Barthes, Michel Butor and Dany Laferrière'
  • William Puckett, PhD in Comparative Literature (Lead supervisor); thesis title: 'Posthuman Time and the Space of Hope: Images of Spacio-temporal Overlap and Becoming in Anglophone African Diasporic Fiction'
  • Xingtong Zhou, PhD in Comparative Literature (Lead supervisor); thesis title: 'The Evolution of Fictional Memory from the Analogue Age to the Digital Era: Photography as Literary Device and Cultural Practice'
  • Fidan Cheikosman, PhD in Comparative Literature (Lead supervisor); thesis title: 'When Redefining Modern-Day Istanbul Becomes an Insult to "Turkishness": An Analysis of Elif Shafak’s Novels from an Intertextual, Intermedia, and Translingual Perspective'
  • Yufeng Li, PhD in Film Studies (Assistant supervisor); thesis title: 'Cinema, Digitality, and Internet: The Vista of a Second Renaissance'

Past PhD students supervised

  • Luyue Wang, PhD in Comparative Literature; thesis title: 'East Asian Culture and Visual Representation in José Juan Tablada’s Poetry' (Co-supervisor; viva passed April 2021)

Research summary

  • 20th and 21st century French & Francophone literature and visual culture
  • Intermediality
  • Comparative literature
  • Literature and photography from the 19th to the 21st century
  • Post-war and contemporary French & Francophone life writing (autobiography; autofiction; digital identities and representations of the self)
  • 20th and 21st century French thought and critical theory
  • Responses to Japan in French and Francophone literature, art and culture from the 19th to the 21st century
  • Literary and artistic responses to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and Europe
  • Everyday and Archive Studies
  • The work of Roland Barthes

Dr Arribert-Narce would welcome postgraduate applications in any of these areas.

Project activity

Dr Arribert-Narce’s research to date has primarily focused on post-war French autobiography and image and text studies, and on responses to Japan in contemporary French and Francophone literature and visual culture (photography, cinema, graphic books, etc.). His first monograph – "Photobiographies: pour une écriture de notation de la vie" (Honoré Champion, 2014) –, which emanates from his PhD thesis, focuses on the interaction between literature and photography. It examines more specifically the literary genre of photobiography by analysing the works of three contemporary authors, Roland Barthes, Denis Roche and Annie Ernaux. In an attempt to grasp the concrete reality of their lives, these authors follow the model of photographic recording and produce a notational form of “life-writing” that significantly challenges traditional autobiography. This body of work therefore belongs to the paradigm of analogue photography, which is anchored in the 20th century and on the verge of disappearing at the dawn of the 21st. Dr Arribert-Narce recently published a peer-reviewed article in a/b: Auto/Biography Studies (‘Narrating Fukushima: The Genre of “Notes” as a Literary Response to the 3/11 Triple Disaster’, Aug. 2021), and two peer-reviewed articles on the uses of photographic archives in the work of Annie Ernaux: ‘Ekphraseis photographiques dans Mémoire de fille’ (Fabula.org, May 2020); ‘Annie Ernaux’s “photojournal” in Écrire la vie: Photo-Diaristic Archives as a Model of Life-Writing’, Nottingham French Studies (forthcoming in 2022).

          His current research project analyses the reception of Japanese culture by French writers and film directors since 1970. Unlike traditional “japonisme”, characterised by its exoticist emphasis on the extraordinary, post-war responses to Japan have tended to focus on the “infra-ordinary”, or the banal aspects of everyday life. The aim of this study – which includes sections focusing on the works of Roland Barthes, Chris Marker, Philippe Forest, Michaël Ferrier, and on post-Fukushima writings – is therefore to explore these new forms of “japonisme” and to determine to what extent they constitute an extension or a repudiation of the orientalist tradition. As part of this project, which received funding from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Dr Arribert-Narce co-organised several international and interdisciplinary conferences in Tokyo: “Paris-Tokyo-Paris: Responses to Japan in French Art, Culture and Theory since 1945” (Maison franco-japonaise, September 2013); “Approaches to the Everyday in Japan and the West” (Aoyama Gakuin University, December 2015); ‘Gauging the Distance: On the Challenges of Writing about Pre- and Post-Fukushima Japan from a Western Perspective’ (Seikei University, Nov. 2019). And in Edinburgh: ‘Michaël Ferrier: un écrivain du corail’ (UoE, September 2017); ‘Post-Fukushima Art and Literature in Japan and the West’ (UoE, September 2017).

View all 35 publications on Research Explorer

-Keynote speech, International conference ‘Tokyo Stories: Writing the World with Michaël Ferrier’ (Winthrop-King Institute, Florida State University, 21-22 March 2022), forthcoming

-Public interview of Tokyo-based French writer Michaël Ferrier, Workshop 'Autour de Michaël Ferrier' (ミカエル・フェリエ - 作家、中央大学教授 を囲んで), Tohoku University, Sendai, 20 December 2019

-‘Barthes intermédial: l’empire des signifiants’, International Conference ‘Chacun son Barthes’「それぞれのバルト」, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, 14 December 2019

-‘Defining Literary Post-Japonisme(s), Before and After Fukushima’, International Conference ‘Gauging the Distance: On the Challenges of Writing about Pre- and Post-Fukushima Japan from a Western Perspective’, Seikei University, Tokyo, 23 November 2019

-‘Légendes de jeunes filles: fixer l’absolu de la mémoire photo(bio)graphique dans Mémoire de fille d’Annie Ernaux et L’Amant de Marguerite Duras’, Invited Lecture, Department of French Studies, University of Tokyo, 12 November 2019

-‘Facing the Wave: Literary Responses to the 3.11 Triple Disaster in Japan and Europe’, International Conference ‘The Aesthetic Mechanisms of Ocean Representations In British, American, and Asian Contexts’, Seikei University, Tokyo, 13-14 July 2019

-‘Enfance, photographies et auto-biographie dans Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes’, Invited Lecture, Sophia University, Tokyo, 26 June 2019

-‘Narrating Fukushima in France and Japan’, ‘Forum in Life Writing’ Panel on ‘Narrating Disaster’, 134th MLA Annual Convention, Chicago, 4 January 2019

-‘La photo-littérature en France au 20e siècle’, Guest lecture, Seoul National University, 16 April 2018

-‘Écriture et photographie dans l’oeuvre d’Annie Ernaux’, Invited Lecture, Chuo University, Tokyo, 18 April 2017

-‘Ekphraseis photographiques dans Mémoire de fille’, International Conference ‘Annie Ernaux, les écritures à l’oeuvre’, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, 16-17 March 2017

-‘Le plaisir de la signifiance dans L’Empire des signes’, Invited Lecture, Inalco, Paris, 8 March 2016

-‘Du watakushi-shôsetsu au “roman du Je”: influences du Japon sur l’écriture (de vie) de Philippe Forest’, International Conference ‘Philippe Forest: une vie à écrire’, Paris, 14-16 January 2016

-‘Writing Fukushima in France and Japan’, Invited Lecture, Birkbeck, University of London, 3 November 2015

-‘Le goût du quotidien dans la pensée, la littérature et la culture visuelle françaises depuis 1945’, Invited Lecture, Department of French Studies, University of Tokyo, 21 July 2015

-‘“A few details, a few preferences, a few inflections”: Roland Barthes’s Auto/biographic Collections’, International Conference ‘Roland Barthes at 100’, University of Cardiff, 30-31 March 2015

-‘Images du Japon dans la littérature et le cinéma français (1970-2015): un goût pour le quotidien’, International Conference ‘Reorienting Cultural Flows: Engagements between France and East/Southeast Asia’, The Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, Florida State University, 26-28 February 2015

-‘Intimate Archives as a Model of Life-Writing: Annie Ernaux’s “Photo-Diary” in Ecrire la vie’, International and Interdisciplinary Conference ‘Intimate Archives: Photography and Life-Writing’, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, 29 November 2013

-‘French Writers and Film-Makers in Japan (1945-2013): A Taste for the Everyday’, British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA) Triennial Conference on ‘Migration’, University of Essex, 8-11 July 2013

-‘Photobiography in France since 1975: New Trends and Strategies’, 127th MLA Annual Convention, Seattle, 5-8 January 2012

-‘French Photobiography in the Era of Digital Technology’, Interdisciplinary Conference on ‘Technologies of the Self: New Departures in Self-Inscription’, University College Cork, 2-3 September 2011

-‘Une guérilla contre le temps: les archives photobiographiques de Denis Roche’, 24th Congress of the Conseil International d’Études Francophones, Montreal, 27 June-4 July 2010 (paper awarded the CIEF’s ‘Prix Jeune Chercheur 2010’, for the best paper given by a doctoral student that year)

-‘Taking Signs for What They Are: Roland Barthes and Chris Marker on Japan’, National Institute of Japanese Literature, Tokyo, 13 November 2009

-‘Behind The Masks: Representations of the Face in Japanese and Western European Literature and Theatre from the Early Modern Period to the Present’, University of Edinburgh, 13-14 December 2018, <https://www.ed.ac.uk/literatures-languages-cultures/events/behind-the-masks>

-‘The World After Fukushima’, a series of events on Fukushima and the future of nuclear energy, University of Edinburgh, 13-15 September 2017, <http://www.ed.ac.uk/literatures-languages-cultures/events/events-archive/the-world-after-fukushima>

The two following international conferences were organised as part of this project:

‘Michaël Ferrier: un écrivain du corail’, 14 September 2017, <http://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/colloque_international_michael_ferrier_sm.pdf>

‘Post-Fukushima Art and Literature in Japan and the West’, 15 September 2017, <http://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/international_conference_post-fukushima_art_and_literature_sm.pdf>

-‘Approaches to the Everyday in Japan and the West’, International and Interdisciplinary Conference co-organised with Prof. Koichiro Hamano, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, 5-6 December 2015, <http://www.cl.aoyama.ac.jp/french/2015/conference/quot-programme-f.html>

-‘Roland Barthes, l’écriture et la vie’, International Conference marking the Centenary of Roland Barthes in Japan, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, 9 November 2015, <http://www.cl.aoyama.ac.jp/french/2015/conf-roland-barthes.pdf>

-‘Paris-Tokyo-Paris: Responses to Japan in French Art, Culture and Theory since 1945’, International and Interdisciplinary Conference co-organised with Dr Kohei Kuwada (University of Tokyo) and Dr Lucy O’Meara (University of Kent), Maison Franco-japonaise, Tokyo, 6-7 September 2013, <http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/researchcentres/eurolit/events/conferences/event2013-06-09.html>

-‘L’autobiographie en langue française au 21ème siècle’, International Conference in French studies co-organised with Dr Alain Ausoni (University of Lausanne), Reid Hall, Paris, 11 December 2010, <http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/researchcentres/eurolit/events/conferences/autobiographie.html>