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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Will McMorran, BA, MPhil, DPhil (Oxon)


Professor of French and Comparative Literature

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7882 8315
Room Number: Arts One 1.15
Office Hours: 1.15 | Mondays, 2-3pm 1.15 | Wednesdays, 11am-12pm (on campus and online, for any Comparative Literature student)


My research is increasingly drawing on psychology past and present as well as literary studies to explore reading fiction – and fictional violence in particular – as an embodied experience.

My current book project, Sensing Fictional Violence: Reading with the Marquis de Sade, explores the lived experience of reading Sade. It investigates not just what sense readers make of Sade's works but also what sensations they experience when reading them. Taking an embodied approach , it explores what reading fictional violence does to us as readers.

Recent publications include various articles on Sade's reception in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and a number of translations including Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom with Thomas Wynn (Penguin Classics, 2016) and La Marquise de Gange (Oxford World's Classics, 2021), and several stories for The Penguin Book of French Short Stories (2022).

For more details about my research see my academia webpage.


As well as supervising final-year dissertations and MA modules, I have also convened the following modules at QMUL in recent years:

COM606 Schools for Scandal: Sexual Fiction from Venus in the Cloister to Venus in Furs

FRE304 Lovers and Libertines: Eighteenth-Century French Fiction

COM200 The Scene of Reading

COM6201 Comparative Literature Research Project (2019-22)


Research Interests:

My interests include:

  • Eighteenth-century French and English prose fiction
  • The Marquis de Sade
  • History of sexuality and sexual fiction
  • Translation and reception studies
  • Literature and psychology, including cognitive and affective literary studies


Authored Books

  • The Inn and the Traveller: Digressive Topographies in the Early Modern European Novel (Oxford: Legenda, 2002)

Translated and Edited Books

Edited Volume

  • Translation in the Eighteenth Century, ed. with Edith McMorran (Oxford: Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century)

Journal and Online Articles

  • ‘The Marquis de Sade in English, 1800-1850’, Modern Language Review, 112 (3) (2017), 549-566
  • 'Introducing the Marquis de Sade', Forum for Modern Language Studies, 51 (2) (2015), 133-151
  • 'Behind the Mask? Sade and the Cent Vingt Journées de Sodome', Modern Language Review, 109 (4) (2013), 1121-1134
  • ‘Sade, or the Worst of All Possible Worlds', Comparative Critical Studies, 9 (2012), 19-28
  • 'Les Visiteurs and the Quixotic Text', French Cultural Studies, 19: 2 (2008), 159-172
  • 'Reading and Teaching Sade', in M. Hobson (ed.) A Different Sade: Food for Thought, 2007, British Academy website
  • 'Intertextuality and Urtextuality: Sade's Justine Palimpsest', Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 19:3 (2007), 127-141

Book Chapters

  • ‘Sade and the Novel’, in Adam Watt (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Novel in French (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 237-25
  • ‘The Marquis, the Monster and the Scientist: Sade, Sexology and Criticism’, in Kate Parker and Norbert Sclippa (eds.), Sade’s Sensibilities (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2014), 169-194
  • 'The Sound of Violence: Listening to Rape in Sade', in Thomas Wynn (ed.), Representing Violence in France 1760-1820. Oxford: SVEC [Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century] (2013), 229-249
  • ' "I've Started so I'll - ": Marivaux's La Vie de Marianne', in Rhian Atkin (ed.), Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression (Oxford: Legenda, 2011), 64-81
  • 'Cloud Atlas and If on a winter's night a traveller: Fragmentation and Integrity in the Postmodern Novel', in Sarah Dillon (ed.), David Mitchell: Critical Essays (Canterbury: Gylphi Press, 2011), 154-174.
  • 'The Palimpsestic Heroine: Sade's Justine stories', in Thomas Baldwin, James Fowler, Shane Weller (eds.), The Flesh in the Text Oxford: Peter Lang, 59-78
  • 'Quichottisme et lumières: lectures romanesques de jeunesse (Scarron, Rousseau, Loaisel de Tréogate)', in Guillaume Pigeard de Gurbert, Jean Salem, Kate Tunstall (eds.), Qu’est-ce que les lumières? Oxford: SVEC [Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century] (2006), 127-140
  • 'Descript and Non-Descript in La Vie de Marianne and Le Paysan parvenu', in Síofra Pierse (ed.) The City in French Writing: The Eighteenth-century Experience (Dublin: University College Dublin Press (2004), 1-25
  • 'Fielding in France: La Place's Tom Jones', in Edith McMorran and Will McMorran (eds.), Translation in the Eighteenth Century. Oxford: SVEC [Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century] (2001), 285-290

Print and online journalism 



I welcome applications from candidates interested in doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Seventeenth- to nineteenth-century French and English prose fiction
  • Literature and psychology, including cognitive literary studies
  • History of sexuality and sexual fiction
  • Literary translation and adaptation

Public Engagement

My recent and current public engagement activities cover a range of media, including books, print and online journalism, and consultancy work for a drama series in development with Searchlight Television.transl

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