VALE : Voix Anglophones Littérature et Esthétique

1. ERC Consolidator Grant 2019: CHROMOTOPE. Principal Investigator: Charlotte RIBEYROL (2019-2024)

Lauréate d’une bourse Marie Sklodowska-Curie auprès de l’Université d’Oxford (2016-2018) et membre junior de l’IUF, Charlotte Ribeyrol est maître de conférences en littérature britannique du XIXe siècle à la faculté des Lettres de Sorbonne Université, et chercheure au sein du laboratoire VALE.

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CHROMOTOPE will offer the very first analysis of the changes that took place in attitudes to colour in the 19th century, and notably how the ‘chromatic turn’ of the 1850s mapped out new ways of thinking about colour in literature, art, science and technology throughout Europe. Britain’s industrial supremacy during this period is often perceived through the darkening filter of coal pollution, and yet the industrial revolution transformed colour thanks to a number of innovations like the invention in 1856 of the first aniline dye. Colour thus became a major signifier of the modern, generating new discourses on its production and perception. This Victorian ‘colour revolution’, which has never been approached from a cross-disciplinary perspective, came to prominence during the 1862 International Exhibition – a forgotten, and yet key, chromatic event which forced poets and artists like Ruskin, Morris and Burges to think anew about the materiality of colour. Rebelling against the bleakness of the industrial present, they invited their contemporaries to learn from the ‘sacred’ colours of the past – a ‘colour pedagogy’ which later shaped the European arts and crafts movement. Building on a pioneering methodology, CHROMOTOPE will bring together literature, visual culture, the history of sciences and techniques and the chemistry of pigments and dyes, with high-impact outcomes, including one major exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, a thorough pigment analysis of Burges’s Great Bookcase and the creation of an online database of 19th century texts on colour. This project will not only give invaluable insight into hitherto neglected aspects of 19th century European cultural history, it will also reveal the central role played by chromatic materiality in the intertwined artistic and literary practices of the period. This will in turn change the way the relationships between text and image, as well as the materiality of the text itself, may be envisaged in literary studies.

2. Participation à DIGITENS: The Digital Encyclopaedia of European Sociability (GIS « Sociabilités/Sociability». Piloté par l’UBO (Université de Bretagne occidentale, Brest) et par le laboratoire HCTI-EA4249. 2019-2021.

Sont membres de DIGITENS: Alexis Tadié, Clara Manco, Pierre Labrune.

The Digital Encyclopaedia of European Sociability (DIGITENS) project will produce the first open-access digital encyclopaedia on sociability in Europe throughout the long-eighteenth century. The purpose of the DIGITENS project is twofold:

1. to develop the scope of research into British sociability in the long eighteenth century,

2. to relate British models of sociability to other European and colonial models of sociability and to examine how models and forms circulated from one society to the others, were appropriated and modified, encouraging the dissemination and construction of new models of sociability in Europe.

The purpose of the DIGITENS project is to build an original framework for understanding the interactions, tensions, limits and paradoxes underlying European models of sociability and to reflect on the following question: can the emergence and formation of European models of sociability be traced throughout the long eighteenth century (1650-1850)? Drawing upon the expertise of international members from different disciplines and national traditions, the project will create a toplevel interdisciplinary network and facilitate intersectoral communication between its academic and non-academic partners.The seven international universities will work together with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Musée Cognacq-Jay in France, The National Archives in the United-Kingdom and McGill University allowing members to explore how understandings of sociability might be enhanced through dialogue, international collaboration, and digital technology, developing a broader contextualisation of the research into European sociability.

Through the implementation of outreach events, workshops and the production of the accessible digital platform, the DIGITENS team will promote a wide investigation of the value of eighteenth century principles in twenty-first-century private and public lives throughout Europe.


3. Projet Emergence 2019, ClioS (Clio on the Stage: Making History – Immediate History on the Early-Modern and Post-Modern Stages in Britain). Animé par: Line Cottegnies et Elisabeth Angel-Perez. 2019-2021.


The project will bring together the expertise of scholars working in the fields of Shakespeare studies, contemporary British and French theatre and History, as well as theatre professionals, to reflect together on the appropriation of recent and “contemporary” history by drama – “contemporary” in respect to the author. The project originates from the fact that early-modern and contemporary dramas both manifest a particular interest in ”immediate history”. In both, this history is staged through the prism of the individual, more particularly through the inscription into an intimate sphere of affects and into the body. Through the representation of suffering individuals struggling with the traumas of “history” in the making, theatre invents forms and strategies to rationalise or critically reflect recent events, often deconstructing ready-made narratives.

The project is twofold. Firstly, it aims at exploring the correspondences and echoes existing between early-modern and contemporary drama in the treatment of “immediate history” both in relation to the treatment of sources and the theatrical strategies used to turn “historical” drama into a political form. Secondly, it questions what seems to be the enduring relevance of Shakespeare and all that he now stands for in the contemporary imagination, and most particularly in the drama that deals with our immediate past. Is the “Shakespearean” still a fruitful prism to help expose the mechanisms at work in recent or immediate history in both early modernity and post-modernity? This will lead us to question the notion of the “contemporary” in dramatic creativity — what the contemporary meant to Shakespeare and other early modern writers, what it means to playwrights writing in English now, and to directors (and actors) staging their works, in what can be defined as “times of crisis or unrest”.

Aims of the project:

  • Bring together specialists of early-modern and contemporary drama and history to appraise the treatment of immediate (or recent) history.
  • Identify and study the genre of “drama of immediate (or recent) history” in a double comparative perspective (France and England, and early modernity and our late modernity).
  • Confront the dramaturgical perspective with the theatrical one and elucidate why contemporary stage directors keep revisiting Shakespeare.
  • Open the university up to the theatre world, foster collaborations between academics and theatre professionals; and organise events relevant for the general public both within the walls of the university and in theatres in Paris.

4. Création du GROUPE PHILOMEL (printemps 2019)

Sous la direction d’Anne Tomiche, professeure de littérature comparée, et de Frédéric Regard, professeur de littérature britannique, le groupe interdisciplinaire « Philomel » est une initiative soutenue par la Faculté des Lettres et par Sorbonne Université, visant à fédérer les activités liées aux questions de « genre » au sein de Sorbonne Université.

Il vise également à regrouper toute information concernant tous les enseignements et toutes les recherches relatives à ces questions.

Parti d’un noyau de collègues (musicologues, littéraires anglicistes, francisants, germanistes, italianistes, comparatistes, sociologues, géographes), « Philomel » a vocation à s’agrandir et à accueillir tous les collègues et doctorants intéressés par les questions de genre et désireux d’être associés et de s’impliquer plus ou moins activement dans les activités du groupe (tout en restant, bien sûr, membres titulaires dans leurs équipes de recherche respectives). « Philomel » permettra à chacun de connaître ce qui se fait dans ce domaine au sein de Sorbonne Université.

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