Dr Sam Ferguson

Modern Languages
Junior Research Fellow


BA (Oxon), MSt (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)

Academic Background

2009–2014  DPhil (New College, Oxford), Medieval and Modern Languages.
2012–2013 Lecteur d’anglais at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense.
2008–2009  MSt (New College, Oxford), Medieval and Modern Languages (French).
2004–2008 BA (New College, Oxford), Classics and Modern Languages (French).

Undergraduate Teaching

At Oxford I have taught literary translation from French into English, literary theory, a range of topics and authors in twentieth-century French literature, the Finals paper on ‘Twentieth-century  autobiographical writing’, and classes in essay-writing technique. In the academic year 2017/18 I am lecturing on the authors André Gide and Hervé Guibert. At the Université Paris Nanterre I taught a wide range of classes in English language.

Research Interests

My interests in modern French literature include the novel, life-writing (such as diaries and autobiography), and theoretical issues pertaining to the nature of literature and authorship. I have a particular attachment to the work of André Gide and Roland Barthes.
My doctoral thesis, entitled ‘Diaries Real and Fictional in Twentieth-Century French Writing’, explores extremely varied forms and practices of diary-writing through the work of André Gide, Jean-Paul Sartre, Raymond Queneau, Roland Barthes, and Annie Ernaux. A historical account follows these developments from the Symbolist aesthetic of Gide’s early works, to the monumental author-œuvre of his Journal 1889–1939, through the so-called ‘Death of the Author’, and return of the writing subject in the late 1970s, and finishing with the modern field of life-writing.

I am currently pursuing some further questions raised by my thesis, while preparing a new project. This project will examine the ways in which experimental approaches to writing and publishing diaries have been used to question the nature of literature in the second half of the twentieth century. This project is provisionally entitled ‘When is a Diary a Book?’.

Publications include:

‘La figure de l’auteur comme “image véritable” dans l’œuvre d’André Gide, forthcoming in Bulletin des amis d’André Gide (2017).
‘Why does Life-Writing Talk about Science?: Foucault, Rousseau, and the Early Journal Intime, forthcoming in Biography (2017).
‘Diary-Writing and the Return of Gide in Barthes’s “Vita Nova”’, Deliberations: The Journals of Roland Barthes (special issue of Textual Practice), ed. by Neil Badmington, 30/1 (2016).
‘Forgetting Gide: A Study of Barthes’s “Ursuppe”’, Barthes Studies, 1 (2015).
‘André Gide’s Paludes: A Diary Novel?’, French Studies, 68/1 (2014), 34–47.
‘Metalepsis and the auteur supposé in Raymond Queneau’s Œuvres complètes de Sally Mara’, French Studies, 66/2 (2012), 178–192.


Running, hiking.