Dr Kate Griffiths
Reader in French
My research focuses on the translation of canonical texts across time, media and language. It explores the adaptation of French works into different national contexts/forms/tongues and the reworking of other foreign sources for the French cultural market. While I am by training a nineteenth-century literary specialist, my research (and as a result my teaching) now spans eras (the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries) media (film, television, literature, painting and radio) and, to an extent, nations. Most recently I was academic consultant for the BBC Radio 4 year-long adaptation of the novels of Emile Zola.
After graduating with a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages and an MPhil in European Literature from Cambridge University, I spent a year studying at Harvard University on a scholarship programme. I subsequently returned to Cambridge to write a Ph.D on Psychoanalysis and Naturalism. In the final year of my studies, I worked as a temporary Lecturer at Warwick University before taking up posts at Bangor University (2002) and Swansea University (2007). I moved to take up my current post in Cardiff in September 2011
Selected Recent Papers
September 2012 ‘Multi-Media Zolas’, Reconfigurations: From Papyrus to Post-Structuralism, Bristol and Exeter Modern Languages Graduate Conference.
March 2012 ‘Emile Zola et l’art de l’adaptation’, RIRRA 21 Journée d’études, Montpellier III.
August 2016 'Translating Zola for 21st-Century Television: Audience, Consumption, Context and The Paradise (BBC, 2012), Consuming the Victorians, British Association for Victorian Studies, Cardiff University.
July 2015, 'Radio and the Nineteenth-Century Novel', Society for French Studies, Cardiff University.
October 2014, 'Multimedia Zolas', IMLR London.
October 2014, 'Zola across media', IMLR London.
October 2014, 'Flaubert and BBC Radio', Stirling University Research Seminar.
September 2014, 'Multimedia Adaptation', Cardiff University ENCAP Research Seminar.
April 2011 ‘Translating Maupassant for Television: The Anxieties of Influence’, ‘Influence’ Conference, Reid Hall, Paris.
April 2011 ‘Zola and Radio’, Birmingham University, Annual conference of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes. J
July 2010 ‘Televising Thérèse Raquin’, 51st Annual conference of the Society for French Studies.
March 2009 ‘Zola and the Art of Inheritance’, The Emile Zola Society, London.
October 2008 ‘Zola and the Artistry of Adaptation’, Birmingham University French Research Seminar.
November 2008 ‘Translating the Nineteenth-Century to the Big Screen’, Swansea University Media Research Seminar.
September 2008 ‘Zola and the Art of Obfuscation’, 12th BIRTHA Conference, Centre for the Study of Visual and Literary Cultures, University of Bristol.
August 2008 ‘High/Low: Televising Zola’, University of Wales, Lampeter, Adapting the Nineteenth Century.
July 2008 ‘Remembering and Forgetting: Zola, Carné and Thérèse Raquin’, Dublin Institute of Technology, Annual European Cinema Research Forum.
March 2008 ‘Memory and Adaptation’, Manchester University, Annual conference of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes.
Oct. 2007 ‘Shifting Origins: Zola and the Art of Adaptation’, University of St Andrews French Research Seminar.
Oct. 2007 ‘La Terre and the Art of Inheritance’, 33rd Annual Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium, University of Alabama.
Jul. 2007 ‘Nana: Copies and Originals’, 48th Annual Conference of the Society for French Studies, Birmingham University.
I am co-ordinator of the BA in Translation scheme.
Honours and awards
- Jan. 2014 AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with BBC Radio Drama
- Jan. 2012-Sep. 2012 AHRC Fellowship Grant
- Sep. 2006-Jan. 2007 AHRC Research Leave Grant
- May 2006 British Academy Overseas Conference Grant
- Jan. 2006 Society for French Studies Conference Organisation Grant
I was Publicity Officer for the Society for French Studies between 2008 and 2015 and served as Research and Resources Officer for the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes between 2004 and 2012.
Previous academic positions
2002-2007 Lecturer in Romance Studies, University of Wales Bangor
2007-2011 Lecturer in French, Swansea University
2011-2012 Lecturer in French and Translation Studies, Cardiff University
2012-2016 Senior Lecturer in French and Translation Studies, Cardiff University
2016- Reader in French and Translation Studies, Cardiff University
I teach French language classes at all levels as well as contributing to the teaching of the BA and MA in Translation (Introduction to Translation Theory, Principles of Translation, Specialised Translation and Adaptation/Translation). I run the level two school-wide module on European fiction and its counterpart on European cinema. I offer an undergraduate module entitled Page to Screen and a multi-media adaptation module.
I currently supervise a range of PhD topics. I would welcome applications from doctoral candidates working on French cinema (silent film and French film of the pre-war years in particular), any area/era of adaptation for radio, television film or theatre. I would also welcome applications in the sphere of translation theory.
I am currently on research leave as a result of the award of an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship. This grant was awarded for the completion of a project entitled ‘Emile Zola on Radio and Television’. It has two specific outputs. The first is a book on French, British and North American television adaptations of the novels of the nineteenth-century writer. It focuses on the clear and important specificity of television as an adaptive medium. The project’s second output is a web resource relating to British and French radio adaptations of Zola’s work. This web resource includes interviews and comment from practitioners involved in the radio adaptation process.
My research beyond this grant focuses on the translation of canonical texts across time, media and language. It explores the adaptation of French works into different national contexts/forms/tongues and the reworking of other foreign sources for the French cultural market. While I am by training a nineteenth-century literary specialist, my research (and as a result my teaching) now spans eras (the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries) media (film, television, literature, painting and radio) and, to an extent, nations.
Thanks to an earlier period of AHRC research leave, I completed a monograph on Zola and cinema – Emile Zola and the Artistry of Adaptation which appeared with Legenda in 2009. I recently completed a co-authored book on multi-media adaptations of nineteenth-century French texts, Adapting Nineteenth-Century France: Literature in Film, Theatre, Television, Radio and Print (co-authored with Dr Andrew Watts and contracted to appear with University of Wales Press). It analyses the translation of key authors into specific media (Zola and radio, Balzac and silent cinema, Maupassant and television, Hugo and musical theatre, Flaubert and fiction, Verne and sound film). I am currently completing Zola and Television, a work designed as a companion volume to my earlier book on Zola and cinema. Zola and Television uses British and French television adaptations to underline how television offers a more natural home for Zola’s novels than any other medium.
Both of these research projects feed into the interdisciplinary, inter-institutional research group which I run with Dr Bradley Stephens (Bristol) and Dr Andrew Watts (Birmingham): ART (Adaptation, Recreation, Translation). Established in 2011, ART explores the field of adaptation in modern times. Its aim is to establish a theory of adaptation which develops both an academic and cultural understanding of this often maligned yet historically widespread process. Such an understanding is intended to facilitate a productive dialogue between critics, consumers, and practitioners, and in so doing will make a direct contribution to the creative economy.