Dr Sophie Coulombeau
My research interests fall into the following broad areas: British literature of the eighteenth century and Romantic period; women's writing, especially that of Frances Burney and Hester Thrale Piozzi; onomastics and literary naming; the history of funding for the literary arts; creative-critical approaches to historical fiction; the lives and writings of the Burney family. I am a part of the School's English Literature group, and a founding member of the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar (CRECS). I teach and supervise at all levels from first-year undergraduate to PhD.
I joined ENCAP in September 2014 from the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York, where I completed a doctoral thesis on personal naming and identity formation in English literature 1779-1800. I have held fellowships at the Burney Centre (McGill University), the Huntington Library (CA), the Lewis Walpole Library (CT) and the John Rylands Library (Manchester).
I published my debut novel Rites (winner of the Arts Council England / Route Publishing Next Great Novelist Award 2011) in the UK in 2012 and in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2014. I have essays either published or forthcoming in Nineteenth-Century Prose, the Huntington Library Quarterly and Eighteenth-Century Life. I am currently working on my first monograph, provisionally entitled Romantic Onomastics: Naming and Identity in Britain 1779-1814, and on my second novel, a historical fiction set in 1790s London called Point No Point, which has received grants from Arts Council England and New Writing North.
I am extremely interested in the interface between academia, media and public humanities, and I was a BBC / AHRC New Generation Thinker 2015. I have written and presented programmes for BBC Radio 3 ('Jeremy Bentham's Universal Tattoo', June 2014; 'Is Marriage An Identity Crisis?', November 2014; 'Not Suitable for Children', July 2016; 'What's In A Name?', August 2016).I have published articles about the history of naming practices and about arts and higher education policy in the Guardian, the Independent and BBC Arts. I tweet at @smcoulombeau.
Honours and awards
Research Fellowship (John Rylands Library, Manchester), August 2016. Project entitled 'The Lives of Hester Thrale Piozzi'
Research Fellowship (Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT) July 2015. Project entitled ‘Time to write: John Trusler’s Plan for a Literary Society’.
W.M.Keck Research Fellowship (Huntington Library, San Marino, CA) June-August 2014. Project entitled ‘Surname change by Royal Licence in the correspondence of Elizabeth and Matthew Montagu’.
ASESCS-McGill Fellowship 2013 (Burney Centre, McGill University, Montreal) August 2013. Project entitled ‘Surname change by Royal Licence in the Burney circle’.
Northern Writers Award (New Writing North), June 2013. To be used to support writing Point No Point, second novel.
Grant for the Arts (Arts Council England), April-July 2013. To be used to support writing Point No Point, second novel.
Next Great Novelist Award (Arts Council England / Route Publishing), June 2011. For Rites, first novel.
- Member of the Society of Authors
- Member of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
- Member of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
- Member of the British Association for Romantic Studies
- Member of the Burney Society
- Member of the Higher Education Academy
- - ‘Dr. John Trusler’s Literary Society’, Institutions of Literature, University of York, 1 December 2017.
- ‘Science and Sociability in Frances Burney’s Cecilia’, invited keynote lecture, British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Postgraduate Conference, University of Swansea, 5-6 September 2017.
- ‘Naming names: Reflections on Referentiality’, Fictive Histories / Historical Fictions, Huntington Library, California, 12-13 May 2017.
- ‘The point of the name’: Surname change by Royal Licence and Frances Burney’s Cecilia, invited lecture at Family Matters, McGill University, Montreal, 10 March 2017.
- ‘Evelina is in Aberdeen: Charles Burney Jr’s Scottish Tour’, Burney Society Annual Conference, Durham, 3-6 July 2016.
- ‘Mrs. Montagu and Mrs. Delvile: The ‘point of the name’ in Frances Burney’s Cecilia’ American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, April 2016.
- ‘My name would carry every thing before it: Naming [Mrs.] Charlotte Smith in the Preston Manor correspondence’, British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Conference, Oxford, January 2016.
- ‘Immur’d in the Bastille of a Word: Radical Onomastics in the 1790s’, Marilyn Butler and the War of Ideas: A Commemorative Conference, Chawton House Library, December 2015.
- ‘Adieu, dear name: Wifehood, authorship, self-fashioning, 1786-1813’ Difficult Women, 1680-1830, University of York, November 2015.
- ‘Nata Nupta Obiit: Hester Thrale Piozzi’s Post-Mortem’ Silence in the Archives: Censorship and Suppression in Women’s Life Writing in the Long Nineteenth Century, Oxford University, November 2015.
During the autumn semester 2017, I will be contributing to the first-year undergraduate English Literature module, 'Authoring The Self'. I will also be teaching the second-year English Literature module 'Gothic Fiction: The Romantic Age' and the second-year Creative Writing module 'The Short Story'. I will also be teaching the MA module 'Narrative and Nation: Politics, Gender, History, 1780-1830'.
I also supervise undergraduate and MA dissertations, and am co-supervising a doctoral project on 'The Lives of Hester Thrale Piozzi' and another on English and German representations of the Second world War.
I am interested in hearing from students who would like to undertake doctoral study in any of the following areas: the lives and writings of Frances Burney and members of her family: the life and writings of Hester Thrale Piozzi; onomastics and the study of literary naming; kinship and identity in late eighteenth-century literature; creative-critical approaches to historical fiction.
I am especially interested in:
- British literature and culture of the eighteenth century and the Romantic period;
- the role of personal naming and anonymity in literary and political self-fashionings;
- the history of funding for the literary arts;
- women’s writing, especially that of Frances Burney and Hester Thrale Piozzi;
- the lives and work of the Burney family.
- creative-critical approaches to historical fiction.
I am currently working on the following projects:
- My first monograph, entitled Romantic Onomastics: Naming and Identity in British Literature, 1770-1800
- My second novel (a historical fiction set in 1790s London), entitled Point No Point
- An essay entitled 'To Give Birth To Valuable Productions: John Trusler's Literary Society'
- An essay entitled 'Evelina is in Aberdeen! Charles Burney Jr's Scottish Tour'
- An essay entitled ‘Naming Names: Reflections on Referentiality in the Historical Novel’
- With Professor David Denison and Dr. Nuria Yáñez-Bouza (Manchester University) , an application for an AHRC Standard Research Grant for a three-year collaborative project entitled 'The Mary Hamilton Papers'.
- With Dr. Elizabeth Edwards (University of Wales), an application for an AHRC Early Career Research Grant for a three-year collaborative project entitled 'The Lives of Hester Thrale Piozzi, 1741-1821'