Dr Francesco Manzini

Research Fellow and Main Organizing Tutor in French

I studied French and History at Magdalen College, Oxford (1988-92) before researching my Ph.D. in French at University College London (1995-99).

I was then awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2000-03), staying at University College London, where I taught in the Departments of French and Italian for a total of nine years.

I was subsequently appointed to a Stipendiary Lectureship in French at Christ Church, Oxford (2009-10). I arrived at Oriel as a Junior Research Fellow in 2010 and was appointed a Research Fellow and Stipendiary Lecturer in 2012.

I am a former Senior Dean of the College.


I am currently supervising Sarah Jones, whose doctoral research seeks to understand the nature of medical knowledge, authority, and power in nineteenth-century French literature via an examination of the doctor-patient encounter. Her research is at once literary and historical, contributing to both French studies and the medical humanities.

I am also currently supervising Marie Kawthar Daouda, whose D.Phil. project analyses the crisis of the epic model by questioning outbursts of the lyric mode through desperate prayer in poetry and prose from Baudelaire to Bernanos. She is about to publish her first book entitled L'Anti-Salomé, représentations de la féminité bienveillante au temps de la Décadence (1850-1920).

I am also currently co-supervising Rachel Benoit, whose research draws a comparison between Gustave Flaubert and William Faulkner, using a historical perspective to make sense of their stylistic overlap.

I have extensive experience of working with doctoral students across the Humanities and Social Sciences on the process of writing and am always delighted to hear from postgraduates who would like some free and confidential help reconnecting with their research projects.


I teach the eighteenth century for Paper VII and Paper VIII, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for Paper VIII, Voltaire and Diderot as Special Authors for Paper X, and Stendhal, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Gide, and Sartre as Special Authors for Paper XI. I also teach the literature course for Prelims, as well as French translation classes, and have given lectures on Stendhal and on Balzac.

Research interests

My research interests span the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. My doctoral thesis, published as a book in 2004, looks at the various ways in which Stendhal uses Plutarch's Parallel Lives as a model for his fictional, biographical, autobiographical, and travel writings. More broadly, it provides new readings of many of Stendhal’s major works - especially Le Rouge et le Noir, Lucien Leuwen, La Chartreuse de Parme, and the Vie de Henry Brulard - from the point of view of their engagement with exemplary history and biography. A French translation, by Lucy Garnier, is currently in preparation and contracted to appear with Classiques Garnier.

In 2011, I completed a second book on freneticism and the motif of fever in the Counter-Enlightenment writings of Joseph de Maistre and in a corpus of fevered novels by Balzac, Barbey d’Aurevilly, Zola, Huysmans, Bloy, and Bernanos.

In 2015, I edited a volume of articles by Alan Raitt.

I have just finished writing a biography of Stendhal, due to appear in Reaktion's 'Critical Lives' series. My next book will be on fanaticism in Western culture and I am currently also preparing a monograph on sacrifice and execution in Maistre, Hugo, Stendhal, Balzac, and Borel. Future projects will focus on Stendhal's engagement with fanaticism, on Stendhal's representations of failure, and on a comparative study of Stendhal and Manzoni.

I am also embarking on a long-term literary translation project in partnership with Lucy Garnier, a fellow Stendhal specialist and professional translator. We will be working on new translations of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction currently poorly served by existing translations (with particular focus on both Stendhal and Decadent fiction), as well as translations of eighteenth, nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts that have yet to be made available to an English-speaking readership (with particular focus on women writers).

Selected publications


​Fanatics​ (London: Reaktion, forthcoming)

Les « Vies parallèles » de Stendhal​, trans. by Lucy Garnier (Paris: Classiques Garnier, forthcoming)

Stendhal (London: Reaktion, in press)

The Fevered Novel from Balzac to Bernanos: Frenetic Catholicism in Crisis, Delirium and Revolution (London: IGRS, 2011), Winner of the IGRS Monographs Competition

Stendhal’s Parallel Lives (Bern: Peter Lang, 2004)

Edited Volume:

Lectures croisées: Essays by Alan Raitt , ed. by Francesco Manzini (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2015).


'Mathilde de la Mole, princesse de Baylone: Voltaire, Stendhal et les femmes souveraines', ​L'Anné​e stendhalienne​, 17 (2018), 79-104.

'Reading Julien Sorel in the Age of Terror', Dix-Neuf, 19 (April, 2015), 49-66.

'Stendhal, Illogicality, and Imagination: the Dirt of Politics and the Politics of Dirt in the Vie de Henry BrulardLucien Leuwen and La Chartreuse de Parme', Dix-Neuf, 18 (April, 2014), 19-31.

'Execution, Sovereignty and Sacrifice: Balzac’s Un épisode sous la Terreur and El Verdugo’, Irish Journal of French Studies, 13 (2013), 69-85

'Nutrition, Hunger and Fasting: Spiritual and Material Naturalism in Zola and Huysmans', Winner of the 2012 Forum Essay Prize, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 49 (January, 2013), 20-32.

'Stendhal', The Literary Encyclopediahttp://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4209 (2012).

‘Work, Idleness and Play in Stendhal’s Lucien Leuwen’, Dix-Neuf, 16 (March, 2012), 28-37.

‘Fever, Blood and Frenetic Romanticism: Pétrus Borel’s ‘Don Andréa Vésalius’ and Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly’s Un prêtre marié’, Dix-Neuf, 8 (April, 2007), 39-55.

‘Execution and Sacrifice: Joseph de Maistre and Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le Noir’, Journal of Romance Studies, 6:3 (Winter, 2006), 71-86.

‘Fever as Fervour: Mesmerism, Religion, Gender and Class in Balzac’s Ursule Mirouët’, eSharp, 7 (Spring 2006),www.sharp.arts.gla.ac.uk/issue7/Manzini.pdf


'Plutarch from Voltaire to Stendhal', in A Companion to the Reception of Plutarch, ed. by Katerina Oikonomopoulou and Sophia Xenophontos (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).

'Stendhal', in The Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism, ed. by Paul Hamilton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 69-87.

'Frenetic Romanticism', in The Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism, ed. by Paul Hamilton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 140-62.

‘Stendhal’s Allers-Retours: Matrifugal and Matripetal Narratives in Le Rouge et le NoirLucien Leuwen and La Chartreuse de Parme’, in Allers-Retours, ed. by Loïc Guyon and Andrew Watts (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2013), pp. 29-45.

‘Prophesying the Past: Memory and Sacrifice in Barbey d’Aurevilly’s Un prêtre marié', in Memories in/of the 19th Century, ed. by Susan Harrow and Andrew Watts (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012), pp. 315-28.

‘The Secularization of Execution: Heresy, Sacrifice and the Inquisition from Montesquieu to Maistre’, in Fragments of Religion: Sacred and Secular Agency in Early Modern France, ed. by Sanja Perovic (London: Continuum, 2012), pp. 144-59.

‘Doctors, Priests, Magistrates: Stendhal, Cabanis and the Power of Medical Practitioners’, in Institutions and Power: Nineteenth-Century France, ed. by David Evans and Kate Griffiths (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011), pp. 69-82.

‘The Zero-Sum Game of Providential Pain: Balzac’s L'Envers de l’histoire contemporaine’, in Pleasure and Pain in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture, ed. by David Evans and Kate Griffiths (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008), pp. 73-85.