Jean Duffy

Honorary Fellow


Jean Duffy is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Edinburgh.   Educated at the University of Glasgow (M.A.) and the University of Oxford (D.Phil.), she was a Kathleen Bourne Junior Research Fellow at St Anne's College, Oxford (1981-1983), before her appointment as lecturer in French at the University of Sheffield in 1983 and subsequent promotion to Senior Lecturer (1992), Reader (1994) and Professor (1996).  In 1999 she was appointed to the Chair of French at the University of Edinburgh.  She was General Editor of French Studies from July 2007 until January 2012.

Research summary

The principal focus of Jean Duffy’s research is modern and contemporary French fiction. She has published extensively on the nouveau roman, on the relationship between literature and the visual arts and on the role of ritual in modern French narrative.  Her publications include monographs on Claude Simon and Michel Butor which examine a range of issues relating to verbal/visual inquiry: the artwork as narrative generator and mise en abyme, the exploitation of the ‘artistic biography’ as intertext, visual/ textual collaboration and the exchange and adaptation of visual and literary concepts and practices.   Her most recent monograph,Thresholds of Meaning (2011), explores the centrality within recent French fiction and autofiction of the themes of passage, ritual and liminality and examines the thematic continuity which links this work with its literary ancestors of the 1960s and 1970s. She has also contributed scholarly editions of La Bataille de Pharsale and Le Jardin des Plantes to the Pléiade volume devoted to Claude Simon (2006).  She is the author of the Michel Butor website

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