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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Emma Claussen

Dr Emma Claussen
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Affiliated Lecturer
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Emma did her undergraduate degree at Worcester College, Oxford and an MA at KCL, before returning to Oxford for a D.Phil in French at St John’s. She then held a Career Development Fellowship at New College, Oxford (2016-19), before coming to Cambridge in 2019.

Teaching interests: 

Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature; theatre; translation; critical theory

Research interests: 

Early modern French literature and thought; political language and politics; theatre; gender and sexuality; intellectual history; the quarrel of Ancients and Moderns

Recent research projects: 

Emma works at the intersection of literary criticism and the history of ideas. Her first book is Politics and Politiques in Sixteenth-Century France: A Conceptual History (Cambridge, 2021). It examines uses of the word ‘politique’ and changing conceptions of politics during the Wars of Religion (1562-98). Read more about this work here:

Emma’s recent article about ‘political homelessness’ in the sixteenth century, using Montaigne as a case study, was named runner up in both the Forum Prize (2021) and the Malcolm Bowie Prize (2022). Read it here:

Her new research project explores representations of life and living in French writing between c. 1550-1650. Her monograph in progress is titled Surviving the Renaissance. 

To hear Emma speak about the ‘languishing life’ of early modernity, and its resonance in the present, listen here: 

Emma has been involved in many collaborative projects, including ‘Renaissance Conservations’ (with Simon Park, Oxford) and ‘Early Modern Keywords’ (run by Ita Mac Carthy and Richard Scholar, both at Durham). From 2016-19 she was a co-organiser of ‘FribOx’, a network between the universities of Oxford and Fribourg. More recently she has been working with Luca Zenobi (Cambridge) on a project on on ‘Fiction and Disinformation in Early Modern Europe, which will be published as a Supplement of Past and Present in 2022. 

Published works: 

1. Books 
(in progress): Surviving the Renaissance: Life and Living in Early Modern France

Politics and Politiques in Sixteenth-Century France: A Conceptual History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021)

2. Peer-Reviewed Articles    

(in progress): ‘‘And Still I Live’: The Languishing Life Styles of the French ‘Renaissance’’

with Luca Zenobi, ‘Introduction’, in Beyond Truth: Fiction and (Dis)information in Early Modern Europe, ed. by Emma Claussen and Luca Zenobi [=Past and Present Supplement] (forthcoming, 2022)            

‘“Est-ce vivre?” The Politics of Living in Montaigne and La Boétie’, Early Modern French Studies (2022)
Available on open access: 

‘“Peu de vigueur et point d’art”: Les Vies (Non)-Vertueuses de II,11, “De la cruauté”, Bulletin de la Société des amis de Montaigne, 74 (2022), 167-85

‘Montaigne’s Vagabond Styles: Political Homelessness in the Sixteenth Century’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 57.3 (2021), 273-90

 ‘What Remains: Athalie’s Futures’, French Studies, 74.3 (2020), 349-56.

‘Intraduisible, ou traduction infidèle? Le mot ‘politique’, 1560-1600’, Littératures classiques, 96 (2018/2), 27-39

‘“Vilain et déshonnête”: Villainy in anti-Politique polemic at the end of the French Wars of Religion’, in ‘Vile Beings’, ed. by Jonathan Patterson and Emilia Wilton-Godberfforde, Early Modern French Studies, 39. 2 (2017), 157-168

‘A Sixteenth-Century Modern? Ancients and Moderns in Loys Le Roy’s De la Vicissitude’, Early Modern French Studies, 37.2 (2015), 76-92

3. Edited Journal 

Beyond Truth: Fiction and (Dis)information in Early Modern Europe, ed. by Emma Claussen and Luca Zenobi, [= Past and Present Supplement] (forthcoming, 2022)