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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


Dr Claire White

Dr Claire White
University Lecturer
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
(+44) (0)1223 760182

Girton College
Huntingdon Road


Claire White specialises in nineteenth-century French literature and art, with a particular interest in class, labour politics, aesthetics, and intellectual history.

She is the author of Work and Leisure in Late Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Visual Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). This book explores how writers and artists of the early Third Republic engaged critically with cultural, political and economic discourses on labour, leisure, and time at a key moment in the history of class struggle in France. She is also co-editor of The Labour of Literature in Britain and France, 1830-1910: Authorial Work Ethics (forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan in 2017), a special number of the leading journal on Zola and Naturalism, Les Cahiers naturalistes (‘Zola au pluriel’, no. 91, 2017), and a special number of the journal of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes, Dix-Neuf, on the poet Jules Laforgue (vol. 20, 2016).

Her current book project is a study of Zola’s negotiations with idealism. It reconstructs the ‘quarrel’ between idealists and naturalists from the 1880s to the turn of the century, and looks at how this struggle shaped the evolution of Zola’s fiction, and of the novel in general. The book takes in Zola’s controversial account of the Lourdes shrine, on which Claire presented at the Paris Zola ITEM seminar in 2017, as well as his involvement in the Dreyfus Affair