Home / Fellows / Ann Jefferson


Ann Jefferson

University of Oxford
Nathalie Sarraute: A Biography
01 February 2016 -
30 June 2016

Ann Jefferson is Professor of French, Fellow and Tutor of New College at the University of Oxford. She was fellow of numerous prestigious intitutions, and is Commandeur dans l’ordre des palmes académiques (2012). Her research on French novel from Stendhal to Sarraute as well as on biography as genre is widely recognized.

Research interests

Fiction and autobiography in 19th and 20th centuries; literary criticism and theory.

Key publications

Reading Realism in Stendhal, Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Nathalie Sarraute, Fiction and Theory: Questions of Difference, Cambridge University Press, 2000. Paperback ed. 2006.

Stendhal: La Chartreuse de Parme, trad., Grant & Cutler, 2003.

Biography and the Question of Literature in France, Oxford university press, 2007. In French : Le Défi biographique (PUF) trad. : Cécile Dudouyt.

Genius in France: An Idea and its Uses, Princeton University Press, 2014.

This will be the first research-based biography a Nathalie Sarraute (1900-99), a writer who was associated first with Sartre and les Temps modernes, then with the Nouveau Roman, then with experimental theatre in the 1960s and 1970s, and finally with the new autobiography in the 1980s. She continued to write until her death, and her importance for French literature in the second half of the 20th century was confirmed when her complete works appeared in the prestigious Pléiade edition in 1996.
In her own lifetime Sarraute was always deeply opposed to biographical approaches to her work, but 15 years on from her death the time has come for a fresh assessment of her achievement to situate it in the full range of its varied contexts. In addition to her association with a series of different literary groupings, it is important to consider her Russian origins (she was born in Ivanovo-Voznesensk and had connections with Russia emigré circles in Paris), her European education (she was educated in Oxford and Berlin as well as at the Sorbonne), and her early interest in literature in the 1920s. These dimensions invite the exploration of a larger framework within which to trace the emergence of work which has hitherto been viewed almost exclusively in connection with French literary movements of the post-war period.

Communication d'A. Jefferson (résidente de l'IEA de Paris)
04 Apr 2016 15:00 -
04 Apr 2016 17:00,
Paris :
Histoire littéraire et/ou biographie? L’exemple de Nathalie Sarraute
Communication d'A. Jefferson (résidente de l'IEA de Paris)
02 Mar 2016 17:00 -
02 Mar 2016 19:00,
Cambridge :
Genius in History: A Public Conversation
Contemporary period (1789-…)
Western Europe