Dr Helena Duffy

Personal profile

Helena Duffy is Teaching Fellow in French and Comparative Literature in the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Helena Duffy’s research interests lie in 20th- and 21st-century French fiction, with a focus on literary representations of World War II and the Holocaust, postmodernism, and narrative ethics. Having completed an MSt at the University of Oxford (1997) and a PhD at Oxford Brookes University (2002), she has published widely on the prose of non-native French writers (Andreï Makine, Milan Kundera, Rodica Iulian, Jonathan Littell) and filmmakers (Andrzej Żuławski, Lydia Bobrova), and, more recently, on French Holocaust literature. Her study of Andreï Makine’s oeuvre culminated in the recently published monograph World War II in Andreï Makine’s Historiographic Metafiction: No One Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Forgotten (Brill, 2018). Helena Duffy is also the author of numerous journal articles, essays, and book chapters. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in Forum for Modern Language Studies, Modern and Contemporary France, French Studies, Journal of War and Culture Studies, Holocaust Studies, Dapim, French Forum, or Essays in French Literature and Culture. She has also contributed chapters to volumes such as Writing Holocaust Today (Rodopi, 2012) or Contemporary Fiction in French (to be published by Cambridge University Press). In her career, she has organised many conferences and guest lectures, and has edited or co-edited issues of Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, French Forum, Romanica Wratislaviensia, and Lublin Studies in Modern Languages and Literature.

Recently Helena Duffy has completed a EU-funded project ‘Un passé qui ne passe pas: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Contemporary French Holocaust Literature’. As Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow affiliated to the Department of English and the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, she was working with Prof. Robert Eagelstone on novels by Nobel Laureate Patrick Modiano and the Prix Goncourt winners, Jonathan Littell and Laurent Binet. The other authors included in her study are Pierre Assouline, Philippe Claudel, Yannick Haenel, Soazig Aaron, and Fabrice Humbert. The key outcome of Helena Duffy’s investigation of French postmodern literature about the Shoah is the monograph Inventing the Infranovel: The Ethics of Holocaust Representation in Postmodern French Fiction, which will be published by Legenda. The project’s findings have also been disseminated through four journal articles, numerous conferences papers, and wide-ranging outreach activities. The latter included public lectures, school talks, and engagement through social media. In addition, in May 2018 Helena Duffy organised a guided tour of Paris for the students of the MA in Holocaust Studies (‘In the Footsteps of Dora Bruder’). During her two-year appointment she was also acting as guest editor for special issues of two journals. Dedicated to figurations of the Holocaust in French and Francophone fiction (1997-2017) and to Holocaust mothers respectively, these issues will appear in 2019.

Prior to coming to Royal Holloway, Helena Duffy taught French language and culture in other UK universities (Hull, Oxford Brookes), as well as in Australia (University of Queensland, University of New England), France (Université Blaise–Pascal, Clermont–Ferrand) and Poland (Uniwersytet Wrocławski).

Teaching 2018/2019:

Term 1

FR2009W Pratique du français II

FR1112 The Individual and Society (F. Mauriac, Therese; Ph. Claudel, Brodeck)

ML1203 Reading Texts: Criticism for Comparative Literature (G. Flaubert, A Simple Heart)

LA1000 Liberal Arts 1: Cultural Encounters (Theoretical Encounters)

Term 2

FR2009W Pratique du français II

FR2101 Writing Romance and Desire (G. Flaubert, Madame Bovary; M. Proust, Swann in Love)

ML2205 A Special Theme in the Novel: Transgression (S. de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed; G. Greene, The End of the Affair; A. Robbe-Grillet, Jealousy)

 

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