skip to content


Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Ellamae Lepper

College: St Catharine’s College     


Supervisor: Dr Claire White

Research Topic: Salons in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction, 1800-1848



Ellamae completed a BA in French and Russian at the University of Cambridge in 2018. After graduation she spent a year working as Editorial Assistant at an educational publisher in London, before returning to Cambridge to undertake an MPhil in European literature (specialising in French prose fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). She then commenced her PhD in January 2021.



Ellamae’s PhD research explores depictions of salon culture in novels written between 1800 and 1848, focusing on Mme de Staël, Stendhal, and Balzac. Since the early seventeenth century, the salon of a grand home has held particular significance in French culture as the quintessential meeting-place for high society; the spirited conversation at salon gatherings has also been associated with many of the country’s most influential intellectual women. Drawing on theoretical work by Derrida and Judith Still, she investigates the salon’s literary role as a space for novelists to reflect on questions of hospitality and social imitation, and also explores how salon scenes might shed light on the complex interrelationship between acts of hosting and acts of narration. Through this approach, Ellamae aims to tie together two threads of debate over the space women occupy in narratives of French literary history – that surrounding the salon and that surrounding the nineteenth-century novel. 



PhD research funded by the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship Programme



Supervisor for Fr5: Revolutions in Writing, 1700-1900


Conference papers

‘Inheriting the Earth: Zola’s Anthropocene’ (Annual Conference of the Society of Dix-neuviémistes, St Andrew’s, March 2021)

‘Mme de Staël and the origins of “the salon”’ (Cambridge French Graduate Research Seminar, June 2021)