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‘When familiar meanings dissolve…’

Essays in French Studies in Memory of Malcolm Bowie


Edited By Naomi D. Segal and Gill Rye

This volume commemorates the work of Malcolm Bowie, who died in 2007. It includes selected papers drawn from the conference held in his memory at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London, in May 2008, inspired by his work in nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature. Malcolm Bowie was instrumental in shaping French studies in the United Kingdom into the interdisciplinary field it now is. The contributions to this collection are grouped around Bowie’s principal interests and specialisms: poetry, Proust, theory, visual art and music. The book is, however, more than a memorial to Malcolm Bowie’s work and legacy. In its inclusion of work by established and eminent members of the academic profession as well as new and emerging scholars, it is also a showcase for cutting-edge work in French studies in the United Kingdom and beyond.


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PART 1 Malcolm McNaughtan Bowie 5 May 1943–28 January 2007 Malcolm at home in his and Alison’s study. Michael Worton Introduction This volume of essays arose out of a conference organized by the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies (IGRS) in May 2008 in memory of Mal- colm Bowie, who had died in 2007. The conference aimed to celebrate and commemorate the life and work of a friend and colleague who was univer- sally regarded as one of the most inf luential figures in UK French Studies for more than thirty years, having held a Chair of French at Queen Mary, University of London, then the Marshal Foch Chair at the University of Oxford and finally being elected Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge, from 2002 to 2007. Malcolm was a wonderfully insightful reader of both literary and theoretical texts, an exquisite writer who drew his many read- ers not only into the worlds of fiction and of poetry that he was analysing, but also into a humane place between ‘creative’ and ‘critical’ writing, where we could learn to read and listen in new ways. This was evident in all of his books, ranging from his study of Henri Michaux, based on his PhD thesis, to his magisterial studies of Mallarmé and of Proust, his books on psychoanalysis and the relations between psychoanalysis and literature, and the eminently readable collaborative A Short History of French Literature (2003), co-authored with Sarah Kay and Terence Cave.1 Malcolm was a singular and a singularly...

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