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Dr Michael Hawcroft

Fellow and Tutor in French

Chevalier dans l'ordre des Palmes Académiques


In Keble College I teach French language and literature from the Renaissance to the present to undergraduates reading French. I also lecture in the Faculty of Modern Languages and supervise graduate students working in early modern French literature. I welcome applications to study here from any potential undergraduates or graduates interested in French whatever their background.

Research Interests

I have published three books with Oxford University Press which give a sense of the range of my research interests. One is on the seventeenth-century tragic dramatist Jean Racine and the nature of theatrical language (1992). One is on rhetoric (or the art of persuasion) in French writing from the sixteenth century to the twentieth (1999). One is on France's greatest comic dramatist Molière and tackles problems of interpretation from the point of view of dramatic construction. My current work focuses particularly on the relationship between drama in performance and drama in print. I am interested in how play texts looked on the printed page and the implications for readers of the plays. Recent articles listed below suggest the direction of this research.

Recent Publications

  • 'Thésée's Imprecation: Rhetoric and Dramaturgy from Euripides to Racine' in Papers on French Seventeenth-Century Literature, XLIV (87) (2017)
  • 'L'Alinéa théâtral: Racine et le théâtre imprimé au dix-septième siècle' in Dix-septième siècle, 271 (2016), 43-60
  • 'Mise en scène et mise en page du Tartuffe de Molière: décor, entrées et sorties, et division en scènes' in Papers on French Seventeenth-Century Literature, XLIII, 85 (2016), 139-55
  • 'New Light on Candles on the Seventeenth-Century French Stage' in French Studies, 68 (2014), 180-92
  • 'Violence et bienséance dans l'Examen d'Horace: pour une critique de la notion de bienséances externes' in Dix-septième siècle, 264 (2014), 549-70
  • 'Documents écrits dans le théâtre français du dix-septième siècle: mise en page et mise en scène' in Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, 40(78) (2013), 161-94
  • 'Punctuating Dramatic Dialogue: Corneille's Suspension Points' in Modern Language Review, 107 (2012), 136-55
  • 'Racine and his Readers: The Theory of Practice of Scene Division' in Changing Perspectives: Studies on Racine in Honor of John Campbell, ed. R. Tobin and A. Kennedy (Rookwood Press, Charlottesville, 2012)
  • 'Racine's Rhetorical Questions' in Evocations of Eloquence: Rhetoric, Literature and Religion in Early Modern France, ed. N. Hammond and M. Moriarty (Peter Lang, Oxford, 2012)
  • 'Tragedy: mid-late Seventeenth-Century' in The Cambridge History of French Literature, ed. Bill Burgwinkle and others (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)
  • 'Molière architecte de la société parisienne' in La Ville en scène en France et en Europe (1552-1709), ed. Jan Clarke and others (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011)
  • 'Corneille's 'Horace' and the Murder of Camille: Performance, Print, Theory' in Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, 38 (2011), 443-64
  • 'The 'Bienséances' and their Irrelevance to the Murder of Camille in Corneille's 'Horace'' in Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literatures, 38 (2011), 465-79
  • Michael Hawcroft and Christopher Todd, Voltaire, 'Les Pélopides' (Voltaire Foundation, Oxford, 2011)
  • 'Suspension Points in Molière: Print and Performance' in Through all the Compass of the Notes: Essays in Early Modern Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity in Honour of Richard Maber, ed. Paul Scott (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010)
  • Molière: Reasoning with Fools (Oxford: OUP, 2007)
  • 'Racine and Chauveau: A Poetics of Illustration' in French Studies, 61 (2007), 280-97
  • 'Comment jouait-on le rôle d'Hippolyte dans la Phèdre de Racine?' in Dix-septième siècle, 231 (2006), 243-75
  • 'Points de suspension chez Racine' in Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France, 106 (2006), 307-35
  • 'The Stagecraft of Campistron' in Papers in French Seventeenth-Century Literature, 63 (2005), 419-40
  • 'Le Discours de la majoration et de la minoration chez l'abbé d'Aubignac: création et fissuration d'hiérarchies théâtrales' in Littératures classiques, 51 (2004)
  • 'Jean Racine 1699-1999: actes du colloque Ile-de-France' in La Ferté-Milon, mai 1999 (2003), 25-30
  • 'Le Théâtre français du dix-septième siècle et le livre illustré' in Du Spectateur au lecteur: Imprimer la scène aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, ed. (2002)
  • 'Seventeenth-Century French Theatre and its Illustrations: Five Types of Discontinuity' in Seventeenth-Century French Studies, 24 (2002)
  • 'Racine Through Pictures' in Racine et/ou le classicisme, ed. (2001)
  • Racine, Three Plays: Andromache, Phaedra and Athaliah, transl. P. Chilcott with introduction by M. Hawcroft
  • 'La Ponctuation de Molière: Mise au point' in Le Nouveau Moliériste, 4-5 (2000)
  • 'Punctuation and Capitalization in the Original Editions of Racine's Plays' in Seventeenth-Century French Studies, 22 (2000)
  • Rhetoric: Readings in French Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)
  • 'La Mauvaise Rhétorique chez Racine' in La Licorne, 50 (4) (1999)
  • 'Le Langage racinien' in Oeuvres et critiques, 24 (1) (1999)
  • 'French Classical Drama and the Tension of Utterance: Racine, Molière and Mme de Saint-Balmon' in French Studies, 51 (1997)
  • 'Propagande et théâtralité dans les tragédies de Voltaire' in Voltaire et ses combats' in Voltaire Foundation, ed. (1997)
  • D'Aubignac, Dissertations contre Corneille (1995)
  • 'Gide's Corydon, Mise en abyme, and Autobiographical Fiction' in Nottingham French Studies, 33 (2) (1994)
  • 'Historical Evidence and Literature: Mme de Sévigné's Letters on the Trial of Foucquet' in The Seventeenth Century, 9 (1994)
  • 'Corneille's Clitandre and the Theatrical Illusion' in French Studies, 47 (1993)
  • 'Homosexual Love in Corneille's Clitandre' in Seventeenth-Century French Studies, 15 (1993)
  • Word as Action: Racine,Rhetoric and Theatrical Language (1992)
  • Racine, Alexandre le grand (1990)
  • 'Racine, Rhetoric and the Death Récit' in Modern Language Review, 84 (1989)

Academic Biography

  • Fellow and Tutor in French, Keble College, Oxford University Lecturer in French (1989 - present)
  • Lecturer in French, Somerville College, Oxford (1986 - 1989)