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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Edmund Birch

College Lecturer
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 335824

Churchill College
Storey's Way
United Kingdom


Edmund Birch’s research interests are centred on the literature and cultural history of nineteenth-century France. His work focuses on the novel, the press and popular culture in the context of the cultural and political history of the period. He has written on a range of authors including Honoré de Balzac, Delphine de Girardin, Alexandre Dumas père, Gustave Flaubert and Guy de Maupassant, and is also interested in comparative literature, having published on the connections between British and French fiction. His first book Fictions of the Press in Nineteenth-Century France (2018) was a study of the French novel of journalism, and he is co-editor of Literature and the Press in France, a special number of the journal Dix-Neuf (2017). This volume brings together researchers from Europe and North America in a series of essays on the relations between literary and journalistic culture across the nineteenth century. At present, he is working on a new book about empire, nationhood and the press in the novels of Alexandre Dumas père.

Edmund studied French and German at Cambridge, where he remained to do postgraduate research on French literature, completing a PhD in 2015. Before taking up his current post, he held a Research Fellowship at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. His work has earned awards from the Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association and the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes. In April 2022, he became co-editor of Dix-Neuf, a Taylor & Francis journal dedicated to publishing new research on French literature, visual culture and cultural history.

Dr Birch welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with interests relevant to his research.

Published works: 


Selected Publications

‘Fiction, Journalism and Realism in Nineteenth-Century France’, forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Global Realisms, ed. by Katherine Bowers and Margarita Vaysman (Oxford University Press, 2023)

‘”Royauté collective”: Journaux et journalistes chez Delphine de Girardin’, forthcoming in Unheimliche Codes, Kanäle und Apparaturen: Medienreflexion und Mediengewalt in französischsprachigen Literaturen, ed. by K. Hahn, M. Hausmann and M. Liebermann (Transcript Verlag, 2023)

‘Alexandre Dumas’s Odyssey: Race, Slavery, Narrative’, PMLA, 137.5 (2022), 809-23

‘Reading the News, from Maupassant to Freud’, French Studies, 76.1 (2022), 36-51

‘“L’immobile et banal aspect des choses”: Journalisme et désœuvrement dans L’Éducation sentimentale’, Flaubert médiatique, ed. by Marie-Astrid Charlier and Marie-Ève Thérenty, Flaubert. Revue critique et génétique, 22 (2021)

‘Friends Among Enemies: Dumas’s Musketeers’, Romanic Review, 110 (2019), 111-30

Fictions of the Press in Nineteenth-Century France (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); reviewed in French Studies, H-France, Modern & Contemporary France, Modern Language Review, La Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France

Literary Machines: George Gissing’s Lost Illusions’, in The Labour of Literature in Britain and France, 1830-1930: Authorial Work Ethics, ed. by Marcus Waithe and Claire White (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 187-201

‘“Les suites des suites”: Alexandre Dumas’s Le Comte de Monte-Cristo and the News’, Dix-Neuf, 21 (2017), 297-311

Literature and the Press in France, edited by Edmund Birch and Kate Rees, Dix-Neuf, 21 (2017), 223-388

‘Maupassant’s Bel-Ami and the Secrets of Actualité’, Modern Language Review, 109 (2014), 996-1012

‘Keys: Press and Privacy in the Goncourts’ Charles Demailly’, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 42 (2014), 206-20

Book Reviews in French Studies, Journal of European Studies, Modern Language Review, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France