Laure Philip

Laure Philip

Laure graduated from the University of Rennes 2 in France before moving permanently to the UK in 2009. She then undertook a Masters at the University of Warwick where she developed an interest for the broad eighteenth century period in Britain and France, with a particular emphasis on the antagonistic stereotypes between British and French people, expressed through prints, the press, and literature. Her Masters dissertation focused on the novels of Madame de Souza, a noblewoman who immigrated to London during the Revolution and published her first novel there as a way to earn a living and to come to terms with a traumatic exile. This project stimulated Laure’s growing interest for the fate of the French émigrés in Britain, a group often overlooked or only stereotypically portrayed by the historiography.

In 2012 she received funding from the French department at Warwick to undertake a PhD under the supervision of Dr Kate Astbury. The following year she obtained an AHRC funding for the two remaining years of her research. Her thesis investigates the novels and memoirs of three French noblewomen who fled the Revolution in 1789 to take refuge in London. Through their prose, Laure is seeking to detect the impact the emigration had on those female writers. Her research project is divided in three parts, all linking the text to the great historical upheaval that is the French Revolution: first, she seeks to underline the confusion between the genres of the memoirs and the novel written by these émigré women, pointing at the conflicting authorial intentions of talking about the self and fictionalising the past. This leads her to speak of the émigré novel as genre. Secondly, the traces of a traumatic emigration are analysed and the ways in which writing provided solace to the women exiles turned authors. Finally, since those novels were produced by women, at a time of redrawing of the gender roles post-Revolution, the thesis also treats the degree of reform wished for by those female novelists and whether the exile influenced the way they saw themselves, relationships and family.

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