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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Andrew Sackin-Poll

College: Trinity Hall 


Supervisor: Dr Ian James

Research Topic: Modern French Literature and Thought



Andrew is a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr Ian James. He is also a translator of theological and philosophical works, including books and articles by Jean-Louis Chrétien, Emmanuel Falque, Michel Henry, and François Laruelle.

You can find more information about Andrew here.



The Ordinary Epic: Rethinking Epic Narrative Form in Modern French Literature and Thought

Andrew’s doctoral research constructs an alternative figure of the epic for the twenty-first century that he calls the ordinary epic. This deliberately contradictory pairing of the smallness of the ordinary with the grandeur of the epic is designed to bring together the more immediate experiences of ordinary life with a sense of the universal. By drawing together these contraries, the ordinary epic formulates an alternative mode of representing totality and unity to the imperialism of more classical epics and the fragmentary character of modernist literature. The underlying motivation for this research rests upon an effort to think through and meet the need for a mode of storytelling that endeavours, however provisionally and however fragile, to represent the whole.

The specific focus at the centre of the thesis is an engagement with Édouard Glissant’s post-colonial idea of the tout-monde (the ‘all-world’) and notion of global literature as well as George Perec’s inventive representation of the ordinary in an epic style. But the construction of this seemingly contradictory figure of the epic also responds to a shortcoming in recent critical scholarship on the epic. It is either understood to express imperialist ambitions or the passivity and impotence of the oppressed. This binary leaves little room for negotiation. There is no middle way. Either the epic repeats the limitless ambition of the hero or the endless subjection of the protagonist to the things and forces that beset them. Through Glissant, Perec, and others, the thesis proposes a counter-narrative that places the individual in a reciprocal relation with the world around them. The ordinary thus becomes a site for negotiation between the individual and the world, placing the narrative voice in the middle.       



Faculty of MMLL, French Section

Language Classes

FrB2 Translation from French to English

FrC1 Translation from and into French


Fr6 Innovation and Upheaval: Deformation and Reformulation in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Fr12 Ethics and Experience: Literature, Thought, and Visual Culture of the French Speaking Word (1900 to the Present)

Fr12 Optional Dissertation


Faculty of Divinity


B10 God, Freedom, and the Soul

C11 Truth, God, and Metaphysics 


Conference papers

“Michel Henry’s Idiot Flesh: the Limbs and Organs of the Flesh” at La question de l’affectivité et les philosophies de l’esprit d’expression française: themes et postérité seminar, l’Institut catholique de Toulouse, Toulouse (December 2020)

“Body, Language, Translation” at the D Society, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge (February 2020)

“La vérité sentie — Jean Wahl, The Philosopher’s Way” at Hegel in France conference, Clare College, Cambridge (May 2019)

“The Ordinary Body” at Penser en phénoménologue: Seminar of the International Network in Philosophy of Religion and L’Institut catholique de Paris, Paris (May 2019)

“The Vague/La Vague” at Action, création, et manifestation: Seminar of the International Network in Philosophy of Religion and L’Institut catholique de Paris, Paris (March 2019) with a response from Prof Emmanuel Falque.

“Le grammaire de l’âme” at Le Christianisme dans la pensée contemporaine : rencontres et conflits d’interpretations: Seminar of L’Institut catholique de Toulouse, Toulouse (March 2019)

“Crossing the Rubicon: Phenomenology and the Spiritual Ordeal” at Body and Spirit in French Philosophy of Religion conference, Divinity Faculty, Cambridge (June 2018)

“Phenomenological Minimalism: Starting from below in Body and Flesh” at The Place of Phenomenology: Seminar of the International Network in Philosophy of Religion and L’Institut catholique de Paris, San’Antonio in Tivoli, Italy (April 2018)




“The Ordinary Contested: Laruelle contra Deleuze” in Paragraph (July 2021)

“On the ‘Absolute Relation’ of the Spread Body (Falque) and the Flesh (Henry)” in Crossing: The INPR Journal (November 2020)

“Michel Henry and the Resistance of the Flesh” in Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia (July 2020)

“Michel Henry and Metaphysics: An Expressive Ontology” in Open Theology (November 2019)


Essay Collections

“Phenomenology and the Metaphysics of Conversion” in Transforming the Theological Turn: Phenomenology with Emmanuel Falque, ed. Jason Alvis and Martin Kočí (Rowman & Littlefield) (December, 2020)


Selected Translations

François Laruelle, Clandestine Theology (London: Bloomsbury, 2020) with preface by Anne-Françoise Schmid and translator’s note by Andrew Sackin-Poll

Emmanuel Falque, “The Resistance of Presence” (forthcoming in Continental Philosophy Review)

Jean-Louis Chrétien, “From the Limbs of the Heart to the Organs of the Soul” for paper C11, Divinity Faculty, Cambridge (2018)


Other activities and roles

Convenor for the “French Realisms” seminars at the University of Cambridge (October 2021 to May 2022)

Co-convenor for the “Kierkegaard in France” international conference at the University of Cambridge (May 2021) with Dr Hjördis Becker-Lindenthal

HE+ Online: Introduction to Translation (French to English) in 2021

Archivist for the Laruelle-Schmid collection (Bibliothèque national de France) from 2019

Member of INPR (International Network for the Philosophy of Religion) from 2018


Personal website