Karen Lacey-Holder was awarded her PhD in August, 2014 at King’s College London for her thesis Recruitment, Recompense and Masculinity: The Military Man in French and British Fiction, 1740-1789. Her supervisors were Professor Clare Brant (English) and Dr. Sanja Perovic (French). The thesis looks at the conception and representation of military men in British and French literature from 1740 till the French Revolution as the military man moved from non-national ‘archetype’ (warrior, knight, noble) toward nationalised professional (officer, soldier, sailor). The study employs methodologies influenced by Judith Butler to examine how styles of masculinity were re-imagined in eighteenth-century literature and Benedict Anderson, whose account of the late eighteenth-century rise of nationalism recognizes the displacement of age-old and deeply-held relationships. The thesis concludes that in this period, with the ‘nobleman’ vanished, the military man, not a ‘civilian’ and no longer associated with the ‘aristocrat’, became a separate class of man.
Previously, Karen completed her MA in French Language and Culture at King’s College London in 2010 and was awarded the Mary Bennett Prize for the highest standard in the MA in French. In 2008 Karen completed her BA in French Studies at Birkbeck College and was awarded the Marjorie Gould Prize for the best performance in the final examinations for the BA degree in French. Her current research involves the study of cultural representations of George II and Louis XV during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), examining the question of how technological changes on the battlefield and emerging styles of masculinity posed limitations and shaped conceptions of the warrior king in the mid-eighteenth century. The reaction to the kings’ military performances also serves as a useful flashpoint in the evolution of patriotism in eighteenth-century Britain and France. For her thesis, Karen has been offered a book contract with Peter Lang Publishing. The book will be included in their series French Studies of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries and the manuscript is due to be submitted in September of 2015.