Dr Adriana Bontea

Retained Lecturer in French

Detailed Biography


Teaching Activities

  • Early Modern French Literature, Culture and Philosophy
  • Early Modern Literary and Philosophical Genres
  • Theories and Practices of the Early Modern Stage
  • Comedy and Laughter in Early Modern France (in European context)
  • The French Moralists
  • The Idea of Renaissance
  • Classicism and Baroque
  • The Enlightenment and the Encyclopédie

Research Interests

My research interests and publications focused initially on the invention and history of Early Modern rationalities. I have published a book on Molière et la comédie française classique (2007) dealing with the relationship between comedy and philosophy, as well as articles on Montaigne, Pascal, La Bruyère, early modern tragedy and comedy, Charles Perrault, Le Brun and Poussin. Whilst writing my book I became more and more interested in modern and present-day rationalities. As a result I wrote articles on Walter Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty and contemporary French thought, focusing on the formative role of painting in devising new thinking modes.  I co-edited (with Dr Boris Wiseman) a special issue of the journal Paragraph entitled Claude Imbert in Perspective: Creation, Cognition and Modern Experience (July, 2011).  I am currently writing a book entitled Faces and Masks, which is a further development of my book on comedy. This time the emphasis is on the visual aspects of comedy and in particular on the role of the commedia dell’arte and carnival masks on the emergence of Expressionism and Abstract Art.

Recent Activies


‘Cy Twombly: Painting as an Art of Thinking’,  in Cy Twombly, Bild, Text, Paratext, edited by Thierry Greub, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München, 2013, pp. 33-48.

‘Des logiques et de leur bon usage’, in Création au féminin, edited by Marianne Camus and Valérie Dupont, Vol. 5 : Les Passeuses, Dijon : Université de Bourgogne,  2012, pp.153-164.

‘Conceptual Invention’, Paragraph, No 34, vol. 2, Edinburgh University Press, July 2011, pp. 217–232.

‘Femmes par l’esprit’, in Cherchez la femme: Women and Values in the Francophone World, edited by Erika Fülöp, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011, pp. 128–140.  

Écritures du geste et cartographie du sensible’, in Concordia Discors, edited by Henriette Goldwyn and Benoît Bolduc, Biblio 17, No 194, 2011, Tübingen: Günter Narr Verlag, pp. 221–230.


Claude Imbert, ‘Maurice Merleau-Ponty’, Paragraph, No 34, vol. 2, Edinburgh UP, July 2011, pp. 167–186 (in collab. with Dr Boris Wiseman).

Claude Imbert, ‘Manet’s Effects of Black’, Paragraph, No 34, vol. 2, Edinburgh UP, July 2011, pp. 187–198 (in collab. with Dr Boris Wiseman


‘L’expression littéraire, un exercice du voir et du savoir’, talk delivered at the University of Montréal, Canada,  Department of Comparative Literature, April 2013.

‘Word-Building and Image-Making’, talk delivered at the The Whitney Humanities Centre, Yale University, September 2012.

‘Training the Eye: James Ensor and Body Imaging’, public lecture delivered at the Centre of Advanced Studies Morphomata, University of Cologne, May 2012.

‘Faces and Masks: Reconstructions of the Human Body on Early Modern Stage and in Modern Painting’, talk delivered at Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, January 2011.

Conference Papers

‘Narratives as Thinking Images’, paper delivered at the European Narratology Network conference, Emerging Vectors of Narratology, Paris, March 2013.

‘Mises de la nature et risque des images’, paper delivered at the Society for French Studies conference, University of London, Queen Mary, July 2011.

The Merry Epitaph and the Art of Memory’, paper delivered at The Carnival of Death: Perceptions of Death in Europe and the Americas, Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, February 2011.

‘Innocence, laughter and the limits of reason’, paper delivered at the  Early Modern Studies Conference Controversy, Protest, Ridicule, Laughter 1500-1750, University of Reading, 9 - 11 July 2010.

Co-editor of Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009-2012.

Volume 18 Issue 1 2010

Volume 19 Issue 1 2011

Volume 20 Issue 1 2012

Relevant Links

Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages