Professor Malcolm Cook

Emeritus Professor of French


I work principally on French fiction of the eighteenth century, the culture of the French Revolution, French manuscripts of the eighteenth century and most especially on Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. I have published widely on this author and on his manuscripts and I have studied the reception of his works in the late eighteenth century. I am interested in the ways in which fiction of the eighteenth century provides us with representations of contemporary life and I try to assess the accuracy of that representation by looking at material outside fiction.

I am Director of the Bernardin de Saint-Pierre Correspondence Project, funded by the AHRC, the British Academy ( the project has British Academy Research Project status), the MHRA. The Correspondence is being published by the Voltaire Foundation in Oxford and will form part of the Electronic Enlightenment project, to be distributed worldwide by Oxford University Press. The Bernardin corpus is massive (over 2500 letters) and the edition will radically change our perception of this important figure. In the letters we see Bernardin as an author, of course, but also as a scientist, an administrator, a line manager, a husband and father and an individual fighting for the literary rights of his fellow authors. The correspondence will interest a wide variety of readers: specialists of the French Enlightenment, of course, but also those interested in the history of science, the politics of the French Revolution, social history and even art history.