Dr James Illingworth

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Administration

Teaching Fellow in French

Dr James IllingworthDepartment: Modern Languages

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5895

Email: ji60@le.ac.uk

Office: Room 1202, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


I am a Teaching Fellow in French and a specialist of nineteenth-century literature and culture, with particular interests in gender studies, queer studies, book history, and literary theory. I studied French at Oxford, where I developed my interest in nineteenth-century aesthetics, and subsequently moved to Queen’s University Belfast to complete a PhD on the novelist George Sand. I have taught French language and culture at Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Exeter, and De Montfort University.

Since February 2020 I have also served as Project Coordinator for the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML), the UK’s umbrella organisation for modern languages in higher education, supporting key projects including the UCML Year Abroad Special Interest Group and the Routes into Languages network.


  • MA, University of Oxford
  • MSt, University of Oxford
  • PhD, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy


Journal articles and book chapters

  • ‘George Sand’s Volcanic Imagination’, Modern & Contemporary France, 29 (2021, in press). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09639489.2020.1826416
  • ‘“Elle n’a pas besoin qu’on la défende, seulement qu’on la comprenne”: George Sand et les transcendantalistes américains’, Cahiers George Sand, 42 (2020), 87-104.
  • ‘“Le Médecin de son âme”: Empathy and the Limits of Medical Knowledge in George Sand’s Novels’, George Sand Studies, 37-38 (2018-2019), 153-69.
  • ‘Joséphine Bowes (1825-1874), Shopaholic or Patroness of the Arts?’, in Plaisirs de femmes: Women, Pleasure and Transgression in French Literature and Culture, ed. by Maggie Allison, Elliot Evans, and Carrie Tarr (Bern: Peter Lang, 2019), pp. 73-87.
  • ‘The French Library of John and Joséphine Bowes’, French Studies Library Group Annual Review, 13 (2016-17), 37-45.
  • ‘The Allure of the Occult: The Bonapartes and the Sibyl of Saint-Germain’, in The Allure of Napoleon: Essays Inspired by the Collections of the Bowes Museum, ed. by Tom Stammers (Barnard Castle: The Bowes Museum, 2017), pp. 29-32.

Book Reviews

  • ‘Le corps déchaîné’, Le Magasin du XIXe siècle, 9 (2019), 228-29 [Review article of Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein].
  • Marilyn Mallia, Présence du roman gothique anglais dans les premiers romans de George Sand, Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2018, French Studies, 73, 3 (2019), 463-64.
  • Lise Bissonnette, Maurice Sand: Une œuvre et son brisant au XIXe siècle. Montreal: Les Presses universitaires de Montréal, 2016, H-France Review, 18, 115 (2018), 1-4.
  • Adrianna M. Paliyenko, Genius Envy: Women Shaping French Poetic History, 1801-1900, University Park, Penn State University Press, 2016, Modern & Contemporary France, 26, 1 (2018), 100-101.
  • George Sand, Jeanne, édition établie et présentée par Laetitia Hanin, Œuvres complètes, sous la direction de Béatrice Didier, 1844, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2016, Cahiers George Sand, 39 (2017), 228-29.
  • Manon Mathias, Vision in the Novels of George Sand, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015, Modern & Contemporary France, 25, 3 (2017), 343-44.

Encyclopaedia Entries

  • “La Petite Fadette”. The Literary Encyclopedia, vol., ed. by Nigel Harkness. First published 30 August 2017.

Media Publications

  • ‘Third year at home’, The Linguist, 60, 2 (April/May 2021), 12-13.


My primary research focus is on gender in the long nineteenth century. My thesis examined the representation of the body in the works of the foremost French woman writer of the period, George Sand (1804-1876), approaching her works through aesthetic, medical and religious lenses. I am currently working this thesis into various publications, as well as preparing publications examining Sand’s re-workings of Ovid, her interest in catalepsy, and her conception of education.

I have additional research interests in book history and the history of collecting, and have produced publications on Joséphine Bowes (1825-1874), the co-founder of the Bowes Museum in Country Durham, and her library that the museum has preserved. My research in this area seeks to bring to light an important and overlooked cultural figure, while also re-addressing our notion of the French literary ‘canon’.

Between May and August 2021 I am also a Research Associate on the GCRF-funded ODA project ‘Political Cartooning and Peace-Building in Conflict and Post-Conflict Contexts’, working with PI Fransiska Louwagie (also in French at Leicester) as well as the Leicester Institute for Advanced Study and Cartooning for Peace. The project will deliver youth workshops around political cartooning in post-conflict societies (Kenya, Ivory Coast, and South Africa). My role supports partner networking workshops and data analysis.

Between 2016 and 2018 served as Postgraduate Representative to the Executive Committee of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF), co-organising two postgraduate study days at Nottingham and the IMLR in London. I have also served as a peer reviewer to the journals Modern & Contemporary France, Dix-Neuf, Romanica Olomucensia, and Woman: A Cultural Review.

Grants and Awards

  • George Sand Association Memorial Prize – Highly Commended (2019)
  • Bourse doctorale de l’Adeffi (2017)
  • ASMCF Poster Prize (2015)
  • AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship (2014-2018)


  • FR1010 Advanced French Language
  • FR2010 Post-Advanced French Language (written)
  • FR2042 Challenging Perspectives: Conflict and Relations in French Culture (module coordinator)
  • FR2045 Media and Cultural Practices in France (module coordinator)
  • FR3206 Narratives of the Self in Literature and Film (module coordinator)

I have previously taught on:

  • FR1020 Beginners French I (Module coordinator)
  • FR2010 Post-Advanced French Language
  • FR2018 Post-Beginners French Language
  • FR3060 Modern World Literature
  • TS1001 Introduction to Interpreting


  • AccessAbility Tutor for the School of Arts
  • Chair of the School of Arts Early Career Researcher Forum
  • Admissions Support (Modern Languages)

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