Professor Peter Read

Professor Emeritus in Modern French Literature and Visual Arts


Before coming to Kent in January 2007, Professor Peter Read was Professor of French at the University of St Andrews. 

From 2008 to 2012, he was the founding Academic Director of the University of Kent at Paris, designing core MA modules, web pages and other documentation, then running and developing the programmes in Paris. Peter continues to participate in activities at the Paris School of Arts and Culture.

Peter's research interests include twentieth-century French literature and art and relationships between word, image and cultural context. His publications include books and articles on the work of Guillaume Apollinaire and his circle and on Picasso, Cocteau, Derain, Desnos, Dufy, Férat, Giacometti and Rodin. 

He has contributed essays to catalogues for exhibitions in Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Paris and Washington DC. In 2014, he was a Research Fellow at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas and was a Directeur d’études associé with the Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme in Paris. 

Peter was part of the Advisory Committee for the 2016 exhibition and catalogue Apollinaire Le regard du poète (Musées d’Orsay and de l’Orangerie) and my other recent publications include Apollinaire Lettres calligrammes manuscrits (Textuel / BnF Éditions). He is a member of the editorial boards of Forum for Modern Language Studies and Cahiers Jean Cocteau.


Showing 50 of 73 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Read, P. (2016). Apollinaire et Adolphe Basler: passeurs culturels franco-polonais, médiateurs sans frontières. Europe -Paris- Revue Litteraire Mensuelle [Online] 94:204-215. Available at:
  • Read, P. (2012). Apollinaire et le docteur Vinchon: poésie, psychanalyse et les débuts du surréalisme. Revue Des Sciences Humaines [Online]:35-59. Available at:
    This article reveals Guillaume Apollinaire's contacts before and during the Great War with the psychiatrist Jean Vinchon, including the poet's visits to the Sainte Anne psychiatric hospital in Paris, where he was able to view art created by patients. With reference to previously unpublished manuscripts, the extent of Apollinaire's knowledge of Freudian psychoanalysis and its formative presence in his poetry, other writing and drawings is also discussed.
  • Read, P. (2012). Apollinaire et le Dr. Vinchon: poésie, psychanalyse et les débuts du surréalisme. Revue des Sciences humaines 307.
    This article uses unpublished correspondence and other archive materials from private and public collections to reveal and explore for the first time the relationship between the poet Apollinaire and Dr Jean Vinchon, a pioneer of art therapy at St Anne psychiatric hospital in Paris. It extends and clarifies our awareness of Apollinaire’s contacts with Freudian psychoanalysis, his interest in sexuality and the subconscious, and the ways in which these preoccupations nourish his poetry and prose. Our appreciation of Apollinaire’s role as a precursor of 1920s surrealism is thus considerably enhanced.
  • Read, P. (2009). ’L’Adieu du cavalier’: théâtre, chansons et poésie de guerre. Apollinaire, Revue d’études apollinariennes 6:57-62.
  • Read, P. and Debon, C. (2009). Deux portraits inédits d’Apollinaire par Serge Férat. Apollinaire, Revue d’études apollinariennes 6:89-91.
  • Read, P. and Campa, L. (2009). Guillaume Apollinaire: Correspondance avec les artistes de son temps. La Nouvelle Revue française 590:97-139.
  • Read, P. (2008). Picasso: Une traversée du siècle. L’Histoire:52-65.
    This article is in the form of an interview where Peter Read answers questions from French historian Michel Winock, providing a survey of the role of politics in Picasso's art and life, from his student days to his death in 1973, including his Spanish-Republican, wartime and communist activities, exploring how politics and historical events affected specific works, here discussed, his concessions to ideological pressures and how he combined artistic independence with political commitment.
  • Read, P. (2008). Guernica, un cri contre la guerre. L’Histoire:58-59.
    A discussion of the form and content of Picasso's 1937 painting "Guernica"
  • Read, P. (2008). The Journal: On the Borders of Art. French Studies [Online] 62:114-115. Available at:
  • Read, P. (2008). A Cure for Every Conviction: Francis Picabia and the Monstrous Birth of Dada. Times Literary Supplement:14-15.
    This "Commentary" article surveys the career of Francis Picabia, artist and writer, discusses a new book on his Dada-period output (George Baker, "The Artwork Caught by the Tail"), a new book of translations of Picabia's writings (by Marc Lowenthal) and an exhibition at the British Library (Breaking the Rules: the printed face of the European avant-garde).
  • Read, P. (2007). Pierre Louÿs, Rodin and Aphrodite: Sculpture in Fiction and on the Stage, 1895-1914. French Studies [Online] 61:56-67. Available at:
    This article uses unpublished correspondence and archive material to explore artistic interaction between Aguste Rodin and Pierre Louÿs, referring particularly to Louÿs's fin-de-siècle novel "Aphrodite" and to a 1914 stage production of the novel, for which Rodin provided a sculpture as a prop.


  • Read, P. (2016). Apollinaire: Lettres, Calligrammes Et Manuscrits. [Online]. Paris, France: Textuel / BnF Éditions. Available at:
    This large-format book includes full-size, facsimile, colour reproductions of over one hundred manuscript pages by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, selected, transcribed, dated, introduced and presented by Peter Read. The book provides access to documents which are held in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet and private collections in France, Italy, the United States and elsewhere. They include notes and fragments, drafts and completed poems, short stories, art criticism, correspondence, collages, corrected proofs, drawings, picture poems and hand-painted calligrammes, many published here for the first time. Dating from 1895 to 1918, the manuscripts are ordered chronologically, from the poet's beginnings, at the age of 14, through the era of heroic modernism, into the war years, with manuscripts written under fire, in the artillery and then in the front-line trenches, and up to the last year of the poet's life. Following a general Introduction, the book is divided into three sections, each with its own Introduction, and each manuscript is accompanied by an individual commentary, allowing readers to follow the poet's aesthetic development while also providing a historic and biographical narrative, rooted in the poet's work, always at the heart of his creative processes. These are documents of historical and patrimonial significance and the book has been sponsored and funded by the French government's Mission du centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale.
  • Debon, C. and Read, P. (2008). Les Dessins De Guillaume Apollinaire. Paris: Buchet-Chastel.
    This large-format book presents over three hundred previously unpublished drawings and paintings by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, accompanied by detailed captions, two Introductions and an informative tex tat the start of each section. The book reveals, studies and interprets for the first time an extensive and previously unexplored area of Apollinaire’s creativity. Organised chronologically, it shows how Apollinaire oscillated throughout his life between written and pictorial expression, reinforces our appreciation of his visual sensibility and demonstrates how constant interplay between these two modes of expression nourished his literary imagination, thereby enhancing our appreciation of all his poetry and prose.
  • Read, P. (2008). Picasso and Apollinaire: The Persistence of Memory. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.
    This book explores creative interaction and fraternal complicity between Picasso and the poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) from 1905 to 1918. It shows how after Apollinaire's death Picasso continued to seek inspiration in the writer's work. The book thus offers authoritative discussion of Apollinaire's best poetry, prose and critical writing and opens unexpected pathways through Picasso's output from 1905 to 1973. Referring to archive documents, fully illustrated, the book throws new light on many individual works of art and literature and on the cultural and political context in which they were produced.

Book section

  • Read, P. (2018). Inside Picasso’s The Kitchen. In: Picasso’s Kitchen Exhibition Catalogue. Barcelona: Museu Picasso/La Fabrica, pp. 243-247.
  • Read, P. (2017). Cubism Breaks Cover: Picasso and "Parade" in 1917. In: Cooper, H. ed. The Cubism Seminars. Washington D.C.: Yale University Press, pp. 252-285. Available at:
    This chapter explores all aspects of "Parade", a ballet conceived and written by Jean Cocteau for Sergei Diaghilev's Russian ballet, which premièred in Paris on 18th May 1917. At Cocteau's request, Picasso agreed to design set and costumes for the ballet and completed the commission by also designing and painting a drop curtain. The chapter explores ways in which Picasso assimilated essential aspects of Cocteau’s scenario, before seizing control of the production, then reinforcing its visual impact and dialectical energy by developing a particularly charismatic new manifestation of cubism, both kinetic and theatrical. His contribution to "Parade" embodies an artistic vision that combines historical awareness with creative renewal, disrupting and opposing intellectual routine and regimentation, and his manipulation of contrasting visual styles asserts a position of intractable artistic freedom. The chapter also shows how aspects of cubism contagiously affected Massine’s choreography and Satie’s music for the ballet. It suggests that the violent hostility displayed in some press coverage (and surprisingly negative reception of the ballet by some more recent critics and historians) bears witness to Parade’s transgressive power and to the alarm of artists and commentators who feared that their authority and status, based on respect for established values and aesthetic commitments, were being subverted and ridiculed.
  • Read, P. (2017). Qui aime bien, châtie bien?: Roger de La Fresnaye dans les écrits de Guillaume Apollinaire. In: Par-Delà Le Cubisme: études Sur Roger De La Fresnaye Suivies De Correspondances De l’artiste. Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, pp. 89 -104. Available at:
    This chapter explores Guillaume Apollinaire's critical response to Roger de La Fresnaye's artistic output in several media between 1910 and 1914 in the light of the cultural context and personal relationship between the artist and the critic, both before and during the Great War. The article also takes into account the specificities and evolution of La Fresnaye's work during that period, his place among the cubists then exhibiting their work in galleries and Salons and contemporary debate on the relationship between fine art and applied, decorative arts. The chapter concludes with transcriptions of one letter from Apollinaire to Marie Laurencin and nine letters from La Fresnaye to Apollinaire.
  • Read, P. (2017). L’eternal inventeur: Picasso et ses livres illustres. In: Picasso Exhibition Catalogue. Fonds Helene et Edouard Leclerc pour la Culture, pp. 49-57.
  • Read, P. (2017). ’Derain, lesremorques remontent la Seine’: Derain et Apollinaire. In: Andre Derain 1904-1914, La Decennie Radicale, Exhibition Catalogue. Paris: Centre Pompidou, pp. 209-210.
  • Read, P. (2016). "La révélation moderne": Apollinaire et les marchands d’art. In: Apollinaire: Le Regard Du poète. Paris, France: Gallimard / Musées d’Orsay and l’Orangerie, pp. 67-77. Available at:
    This chapter explores Apollinaire's personal and professional relationship with art dealers in France, Germany and the United States, including Alfred Flechtheim, Herwarth Walden, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Ambroise Vollard, Berthe Weill and, from 1912 to 1918, Paul Guillaume. The chapter highlights the interdependence of the art market and the art critic, working in newspapers, the main mass medium of the day, which could provide businessmen and artists with valuable promotional leverage. A potential conflict of interest between the commentator and commerce necessarily led to friction, but Apollinaire's dealings with dealers allowed him to produce magnificent publications such as L'Enchanteur pourrissant, with André Derain, Sculptures nègres, written and edited with Paul Guillaume, and a series of seminal exhibition catalogues. Networking in the art market also helped Apollinaire spread internationally his campaign in favour of innovative contemporary art, tribal arts from Africa and the Pacific islands and to promote his basic principles of creative freedom and diversity.
  • Read, P. (2016). Dramaturge et démiurge: l’image et l’espace dans le théâtre d’Apollinaire. In: Apollinaire: Le Regard Du poète. Paris, France: Gallimard / Musées d’Orsay and l’Orangerie, pp. 245-251. Available at:
    Throughout his career as a poet, Guillaume Apollinaire was also a playwright. His early comedy, A la cloche de bois, written in 1902, already aspired to a form of spatial simultaneity, encompassing the life of the whole planet, and that drive towards ubiquity would be translated into strongly visual stagecraft from 1914, the year Apollinaire composed A quelle heure un train partira-t-il pour Paris?, his radically modernist and oneiric play without dialogue, which used music, shadowplay and projections of light, images and film, inventing son et lumière. This chapter goes on to discuss how that same ambition was applied in Apollinaire's 1917 musical comedy Les Mamelles de Tirésias, in which costumes and décor reference the cultures of every continent, the action breaks through the frame of the stage and is supported by bright colours, quadraphonic sound, singalong music, projectiles and a shower of playing cards onto the stalls, so the whole three-dimensional space of the theatre is progressively occupied, placing audience and actors in an environment which is as immersive, surprising and kaeidoscopic as life itself, inaugurating a type of theatrical experience for which Apollinaire coined the term "surrealist".
  • Read, P. (2016). Matisse s’explique en 1907: un manuscrit inédit de l’artiste, conservé par Apollinaire. In: Apollinaire: Le Regard Du poète. Paris, France: Gallimard / Musées d’Orsay and l’Orangerie, pp. 107-110. Available at:
    This chapter presents a transcription and discussion of a previously unpublished manuscript by Henri Matisse, written in the summer of 1907 at the request of his old friend the philosopher and art critic Mecislas Golberg. Matisse divided the manuscript into three sections, headed Éducation, Recherche de ma personnalité and Les Influences, summarising his artistic beginnings, his evolution and the art and artists who influenced him. It is the earliest written statement by Matisse and it prefigures his famous "Notes d'un peintre", published in December 1908. Golberg was too ill to make anything of Matisse's manuscript, so he passed it to Apollinaire. This chapter shows how Apollinaire used the manuscript and supplemented it with information taken from his conversations with the artist in order to write, in dialogue form, his essay "Henri Matisse", published in La Phalange dated 15 December 1907. That article, of which Matisse kept a manuscript in Apollinaire's hand, served as a starting point and even a blueprint for Matisse's own later publications and declarations. The Matisse manuscript and conversations with the artist allowed Apollinaire to clarify his appreciation of the aims and achievements of contemporary art and to bring a new critical acuity to his best writings on art.
  • Read, P. (2016). Apollinaire, Matisse et la Méditerranée : ‘l’espèce de paradis trouvé’. In: Debon, C. ed. Apollinaire méditerranéen. Paris, France: Calliopées, pp. 265-286.
  • Read, P. (2016). ’Picasso dans la prose de fiction d’Apollinaire’ and ’Du spectre au sceptre: la sculpture de Giacometti dans les ecrits de Francis Pogne’. In: Picasso-Giacometti. Paris: Flammarion/Musee Picasso Paris.
  • Read, P. (2015). Introduction. In: Guillaume Apollinaire, Zone Selected Poems. New York: New York Review of Books.
  • Read, P. (2015). ’Un monde magiquement sureel’: la mise en scene et l’illustration des Mamelles de Tiresias. In: Les Mamelles De Tiresias. Paris: Calliopees.
  • Read, P. (2014). Picasso et Robert Desnos, 1923-1945: ’une exigence de liberte’, suivi de "Lettres de Robert et Youki Desnos". In: Les Cahiers De l’Herne: Cahier Picasso. Paris: L’Herne. Available at:
  • Read, P. and Campa, L. (2014). L’attrait du nord. Apollinaire et les artistes scandinaves. In: La Place d’Apollinaire. Paris: Classiques Garnier.
  • Read, P. (2011). Apollinaire’s Voluptuous Calvary: Lexical Fields, Generic Conventions and Narrative Space in Les Onze mille verges. In: Milne, L. and Orr, M. eds. Narratives of French Modernity: Themes, Forms and Metamorphoses. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Vienna: Peter Lang, pp. 47-66. Available at:
  • Read, P. (2011). ’All Fields of Knowledge’: Picasso’s Art and the Intellectual Environment of his Early Years in Paris. In: McCully, M. ed. Picasso in Paris 1900-1907. Eating Fire. London and Amsterdam: Thames and Hudson, pp. 154-173. Available at:
  • Read, P. (2010). Preface. In: Warnod, J. ed. Serge Férat : Un Cubiste Russe à Paris. Paris: Editions de Conti. Available at:
  • Read, P. (2008). L’Eclat du noir: du Bestiaire au Poète assassiné, Dufy illustrateur d’Apollinaire. In: Krebs, S. ed. Raoul Dufy Le Plaisir. Paris: Musee d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, pp. 91-98. Available at:
  • Read, P. (2007). "J’entends mourir le son d’une flûte lointaine": résonances poétiques et culturelles du quartier Beaubourg. In: Dufrêne, B. ed. Centre Pompidou, Trente Ans d’histoire:1997-2007. Paris: Editions du Centre Pompidou, pp. 104-111.
    This essay provides a survey of the cultural history of the area in Paris where the Centre Pompidou now stands. It refers particularly to music and literature, from medieval times to the 1970s, citing Villon, Hugo, Nerval, Huysmans, Apollinaire, Desnos, Gracq and others, citing their representation of the vibrant and sometimes sordid and violent life of a historic area largely demolished during the 20th century.
  • Read, P. (2007). La poésie sonore au Centre Pompidou. In: Dufrêne, B. ed. Centre Pompidou, Trente Ans d’histoire:1977-2007. Paris: Editions du Centre Pompidou, pp. 285-285.
    This text recalls the importance of festivals, readings and other events involving poets and performers of the international sound poetry movement during the early years of the Centre Pompidou, from 1977 onwards. Poets referred to include Brion Gysin, François Dufrêne, Bob Brunning, Bernard Heidseick.
  • Read, P. (2007). French Surrealism and la démoralisation de l’Occident in 1929 and 2001. In: Gascoigne, D. ed. Violence, Culture and Identity in France, from Surrealism to the Néo-Polar. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 29-45.
    This text discusses Jean Clair's 2001 essay labelling French Surrealists as proto-terrorits and precursors of al-Quaida. It explores the responses and intellectual debate triggered by Clair's essay and compares this controversy with the "Affaire Aragon" of 1929, when Aragon was prosecuted after the publication of his incendiary poem "Front rouge". This leads to considerations on the status of intellectual debate, the rhetoric of violence and the philosophical legacy of the French Revolution in modern French cultural identity.
  • Read, P. (2007). Apollinaire et le brigadier masqué - lecture de trois aquarelles. In: Burgos, J. ed. Apollinaire, Le Dessin Et Les Traces. Caen: Lettres modernes Minard, pp. 91-108.
    A study of a selection of paintings of masked soldiers on horseback, made by Apollinaire on his return from the front in 1916, discussing the iconography of these images, relating them to the poet's writing, showing also how they relate to a contemporary current of neo-primitivism in art, and particularly to the works of Larionov and Gontcharova.

Conference or workshop item

  • Read, P. (2015). ’Poesie pour te remercier de ton desin (sic.)’: le ’langage cuit’ de Picasso. Available at:

Edited book

  • Read, P. (2016). Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Guillaume: Correspondance (1913-1918). [Online]. Read, P. ed. Paris, France: Gallimard, Musée de l’Orangerie. Available at:
  • Read, P. (2009). Guillaume Apollinaire, Correspondance Avec Les Artistes, 1903-1918. [Online]. Read, P. and Campa, L. eds. Paris, France: Gallimard. Available at:
    This book presents the largely unpublished correspondence between Apollinaire and over one hundred artists, in France and from many other countries, active before and during the Great War. Including all the letters from artists received by Apollinaire and many of those he wrote, the book surveys a creative constellation which encompasses artists of every genre, some of them now largely forgotten, while others, young, unknown or widely ridiculed at the time, are now recognised as the inventors of fauvism, cubism, neo-primitivism and abstraction, as the precursors of surrealism, as the pioneers of heroic modernism. The wartime correspondence includes poignant and fraternal letters between Apollinaire and artists on the front-line, including Braque, Derain and Kisling. The book as a whole provides intimate access to artistic life in France, Europe and the United States between 1903 and 1918, while confirming Apollinaire's role as a clear-sighted critic and impresario, established at the centre of an extensive, international, shifting and diverse cultural community. The letters, transcribed in most cases from the original manuscripts. They are preceded by a general Introduction, accompanied by a presentation of each artist, by numerous precise and informative notes, by illustrations and a complete Index.
  • Read, P. (2009). Giacometti Critical Essays. [Online]. Read, P. and Kelly, J. eds. Farnham: Ashgate. Available at:
    Giacometti: Critical Essays brings together new studies by an international team of scholars who together explore the whole span of Alberto Giacometti's work and career from the 1920s to the 1960s. During this complex period in France's intellectual history, Giacometti's work underwent a series of remarkable stylistic shifts while he forged close affiliations with an equally remarkable set of contemporary writers and thinkers. This book throws new light on under-researched aspects of his output and approach, including his relationship to his own studio, his work in the decorative arts, his tomb sculptures and his use of the pedestal. It also focuses on crucial ways his work was received and articulated by contemporary and later writers, including Michel Leiris, Francis Ponge, Isaku Yanaihara and Tahar Ben Jelloun. This book thus engages with energising tensions and debates that informed Giacometti's work, including his association with both surrealism and existentialism, his production of both 'high' art and decorative objects, and his concern with both formal issues, such as scale and material, and with the expression of philosophical and poetic ideas. This multifaceted collection of essays confirms Giacometti's status as one of the most fascinating artists of the twentieth century.
  • Read, P. (2009). Guillaume Apollinaire. Correspondance Avec Les Artistes, 1903-1918. [Online]. Read, P. and Campa, L. eds. Paris: Gallimard. Available at:
    This book presents hundreds of letters and cards addressed by over 100 artists to the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire, accompanied wherever possible by Apollinaire’s side of the correspondence. The letters, most of which are published here for the first time, are accompanied by an Introduction, a presentation of each artist and detailed and comprehensive notes. The book thus provides a wealth of new information on the world of art and on interplay between artists and poets during a crucial period marked by the birth of cubism, the beginnings of abstraction and the four years of the Great War.

    Ces lettres, en majorité inédites, forment la correspondance entre Guillaume Apollinaire et les artistes de son temps : peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, affichistes, décorateurs, illustrateurs... Français et étrangers, ils sont plus d'une centaine à entretenir des relations professionnelles ou personnelles avec le poète d'Alcools et de Calligrammes, dont la critique d'art révèle un goût sûr aux convictions vigoureuses. Les échanges avec Chagall et Gontcharova sont pleins d'estime et d'admiration. Avec André Derain, le Douanier Rousseau, Max Jacob ou Giorgio de Chirico, le travail et l'amitié s'unissent dans un même élan créateur. Entre Apollinaire et Marie Laurencin, la peinture et la poésie épousent l'amour et les regrets. Quand la Grande Guerre disperse les milieux artistiques, les lettres soutiennent Braque, en péril dans les tranchées, et Kisling, évacué après sa blessure dans un corps-à-corps.
    Cette correspondance éclaire l'itinéraire et la personnalité des artistes les plus illustres, inventeurs de l'art moderne, sans négliger tous ceux qui, aujourd'hui oubliés ou méconnus, ont animé l'univers des ateliers, des galeries et des salons. Elle nous mène à travers l'Europe de la Belle Époque, creuset du cubisme et de l'abstraction. Elle nous conduit dans un monde déchiré par la guerre, où chacun tente de protéger son art dans les nécessités de l'heure. Elle nous plonge dans l'art vivant du début du XXe siècle.

Internet publication

  • Read, P. (2017). Ink and Iron: Revisiting Picasso’s Metal Monuments to Apollinaire [Website]. Available at:
    This essay revisits and reassesses the most important metal sculptures Picasso made with Julio González between 1928 and 1932. Reference to Picasso’s sketchbooks and to drawings dating back as far as 1912, shows how his creative strategy was underpinned by purposeful continuity and persistent research and development. Picasso’s ideas on the use of sheet metal, wire and empty space in sculpture seem to have taken nearly twenty years to mature. There is renewed discussion here of how aspects of Apollinaire’s fiction and journalism, including his writings on ethnographic museums, inspired metal sculptures Picasso designed for the poet’s grave in Père-Lachaise cemetery. Providing new information on possible contacts between Apollinaire and Julio González before the First World War, the essay comments on sculptures Picasso made with González and on the current condition of the bronze Femme au jardin. The juxtaposition of the iron and bronze versions of this sculpture, presented side-by-side in the 2016 Picasso.Sculptures exhibition at the musée Picasso in Paris, prompts discussion here of similarities and differences between the two works. The essay also raises questions regarding the status of the various enlargements of the 1928 wire maquettes, made at various times from the 1950s to the 1980s.


  • Read, P. (2017). Done with the judgement of Got. The ’prolonged ontological crisis’ of Antonin Artaud. Times Literary Supplement.
  • Read, P. (2015). Coherently irrational. Times Literary Supplement:-n/a.
  • Read, P. (2015). Underground. Times Literary Supplement.
  • Read, P. (2014). Review of George Melly, Don’t tell Sybil A libidinous memoir of the unusual impresario of English Surrealism. Times Literary Supplement.
  • Read, P. (2006). Body Count in the Library. The Liberating Carnage of George Bataille’s "Documents". Times Literary Supplement:18-19.
    A review of the exhibition "Undercover Surrealism. Picasso, Miro, Masson and the vision of Georges Bataille" at the Hayward Gallery, London, May to July 2006, and the accompanying catalogue, "Undercover Surrealism", by Dawn Ades and Simon Baker.
  • Read, P. (2006). Soulmate Secrets Campa, L. ed. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:26-26. Available at:
    A review of a new edition of letters and poems written by Apollinaire for his girlfriend Madeleine Pages during his front-line service in the Great War, discussing how previous censorship of his texts contributed to fabrication of the poet's status as a heroic icon used in the rebuilding of French morale after the Second World War.


  • Poizat-Amar, M. (2015). L’Eclat Du Voyage: Blaise Cendrars, Victor Segalen, Albert Londres.
    La thèse explore les œuvres de Blaise Cendrars, de Victor Segalen et d’Albert Londres sous l’angle de « l’éclat du voyage » et se propose d’analyser les effets produits par la présence du voyage sur un plan diégétique, métadiégétique et stylistique. Chez ces trois auteurs, la notion de voyage dépasse en effet sa vocation thématique pour se faire véritable matière à travailler le langage, le texte et atteindre la sphère de la littérarité en exerçant sur le texte une menace d’éclatement. Le texte affecté par le voyage, loin d’être mis en péril, s’inscrit ainsi dans une modernité littéraire : en prenant le risque, par le détour du voyage, d’une écriture déformant, re-formant, re-définissant la littérature, les trois œuvres examinées illuminent quelques chemins de traverse dans lesquels s’engagent œuvres et critiques contemporaines.

    Cette étude interroge les premiers écrits de Cendrars (1912-1938) en explorant par quelles voies la présence conjointe du motif du voyage et de l’éclatement conduit à la création d’une représentation fractale du monde. La mise en évidence de trajectoires chaotiques des personnages cendrarsiens au cœur d’un monde ontologiquement fracturé permet l’édification textuelle d’une « anarchitecture » poétique et moderne. L’examen du cycle polynésien de Segalen met en évidence la présence du voyage comme le résultat d’un écart désirant, véritable menace de déchirure entre l’ici et l’ailleurs, soi et l’autre, soi et soi. Cet écart aboutit, à travers une présence textuelle, à la formation d’une poétique littéraire de la diffraction, poussant ainsi l’œuvre aux limites d’un hors-littérature. Enfin, à travers l’étude des reportages d’Albert Londres, la thèse montre comment l’écriture du voyage trouve un regain de force par le détour du reportage.
  • Sibourg, E. (2015). Science Et Surnaturel Dans Le Cycle De Durtal De Huysmans.
    This thesis examines interactions between science and the supernatural in Huysmans’s Durtal tetralogy. The protagonist, whose aesthetic and philosophical starting point is naturalism, converts to Catholicism. This unusual conversion reflects social upheavals contemporary with Huysmans’s cycle of novels. In the late nineteenth century, science, emerging as symbol of new hope and salvation for humanity, has in a sense replaced religion. The Durtal cycle catalogues the disorders generated by this replacement, and represents the creation of a new order more suited to Durtal’s persona, through deconstruction of existing codes and beliefs. Thus is shaped the intellectual and aesthetic matrix of the four novels. Pathology is at the intersection of the interactions between science and the supernatural, the various components of which constitute the subject of the three substantive chapters of the thesis. Figuring social degeneration and the creation of imaginary medical worlds founded on contamination, Huysmans’s text explores the boundaries between science and religion, thus offering a new cosmogony constructed around a concept of mystic substitution associated with Catholicism. Analysis of these textual explorations is followed by a study of the body and the soul as the two primary principles contributing to the conflicts articulated in Huysmans’s work. The conversion processes to which the body and the soul are subjected help to build renewed relationships between the material and the spiritual, the visible and the invisible. Writing thus appears as the result of an alchemical quest in which opposites can ultimately be reunited. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the development of the novel form, subject to so many contradictory influences. The pharmaceutical quality – in Derridean terms – of writing ends this crisis and restores the author’s authority, making of the Durtal tetralogy a work that is characterised at one and the same time by its naturalism and by its mysticism.
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