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Hannah Thompson - Professor of French and Critical Disability Studies

Hannah Thompson - Professor of French and Critical Disability Studies

I teach French translation, French and Comparative Literature and translation theory. I am a specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century French fiction, particularly the novel. I am especially interested in how various protected characteristics (such as gender, sexuality and disability) have been evoked and discussed by French writers.

I have written 3 books on these themes: Naturalism Redressed: Identity and Clothing in the Novels of Emile Zola (Legenda 2004); Taboo: Corporeal Secrets in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction (Legenda, 2013) and Reviewing Blindness in French Fiction (1789-2013) (Palgrave, 2017).

At the moment I am writing about how audio description (the verbal provision of visual information for blind people) can help us understand literary depictions of paintings in nineteenth-century novels by authors including Zola, Balzac and the Goncourt brothers as well as how these descriptions might inform audio description practices in UK and French museums and galleries. I am also doing some work with audio description charity VocalEyes on how techniques from translation studies can help audio describers in the theatre to ‘translate’ characters on stage.

My favourite novel to teach is Flaubert’s Madame Bovary because of the way Flaubert manages to communicate Emma Bovary’s thoughts to the reader. I also really love discussing contemporary French fiction and recently wrote a study guide on A-level text No et Moi by Delphine de Vigan for OUP.

I am partially blind and am very interested in how blind people relate to the predominantly sighted society we live in. I write about that on my blog Blind Spot.

You can read more about my research here.

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