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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Professor Adrian Armstrong


Centenary Professor of French on research leave, January - June 2024

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8316
Room Number: Arts One 2.09A
Office Hours: by appointment only


My research engages with questions like:

• How is literature shaped by its material form, on pages and in books?

• How do images and words interact to make meanings in illustrated books?

• How do poems create meaning through their form as well as their language?

• How do literary translations tackle the challenges of poetic form?

Most of my work lies at the intersection of two or more disciplines: literary studies, visual studies, book history, and translation studies. It focuses on literature in French, and interactions between Dutch- and French-speaking cultures in the Low Countries, from around 1400 to 1550. I also have long-standing interests in Belgian culture and literary theory, which have underpinned most of my teaching at QMUL. My recent publications explore, among other things, translations of poetry from French into Dutch and vice versa. I'm currently working on a Companion to the 15th-century poet François Villon and an edition of the poetry of Jean Molinet (1435-1507).

I’ve supervised PhD students in a range of areas that reflect my specialisms. Topics for which I’ve been part of a supervisory team include Renaissance Italian art history; 19th-century German literary medievalism; 17th-century English book history; and literary translation in 16th-century Europe, 1970s Malaysia, and contemporary Taiwan.

My contributions to the wider academic community have taken various forms. Within QMUL I’ve served as:
- Head of the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film (2014-17)
- Inaugural Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures (2017)
- Deputy Dean for Research (PGR), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (2019-20)
- Director of the QMUL Doctoral College (2020)
- Dean for Research, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (2021-23)

I've also held various roles in the Association of University Professors and Heads of French (now AUPHF+): Executive Committee member (2008-10), Membership Secretary (2010-13), President (2013-16), Acting President (2016-17), and Vice-President (2017-19).


As well as supervising final-year dissertations and contributing to language modules and core first-year courses, I have also convened the following modules at QMUL:

COM5020 / FRE5020 / FRE6020 Why Belgium? Identities, Cultures, Narratives COM507 European Tragedy

FRE505 Women’s Voices in Early French Culture

COM6006 / FRE6006 Narrative in Theory and Practice: Analysing and Creatively Responding to French Literature Through the Ages

SML4200 Men, Women, and Song: Love Poetry in the Middle Ages

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), and have mentored a number of successful applicants for HEA Fellowships.


Research Interests:

My interests include: Late medieval literature (French and Dutch); book history; reception studies; translation studies; visual culture; scholarly editing; Belgian culture; literary theory

Selected funded projects:

Poetic Knowledge in Late Medieval France (Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), 2005-9)

Transcultural Critical Editing: Vernacular Poetry in the Burgundian Netherlands, 1450-1530 (AHRC, 2012-16)

‘The 1429 Catalan Translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron: Tracing the Making of a European Classic’ (European Union, Marie Curie Actions, 2013-15)

Current work: Among other ongoing work, I am currently writing François Villon: A Companion, and editing the poetry of Jean Molinet (1435-1507)

Professional activities:

Member of the Editorial Board of Queeste: Journal of Medieval Literature in the Low Countries

Member of the Editorial Board of Westfield Medieval Studies

Visiting Appointments

Université de Lausanne, Switzerland; Visiting Researcher, August 2023


 Authored books and critical editions

Edited books

Articles and book chapters

  • ‘Traductions du XVIe siècle’, in Jean Lemaire de Belges, rhétoriqueur de France et de Bourgogne, ed. Adeline Desbois-Ientile, Ellen Delvallée, and Pierre-Gilles Girault (Tours: Presses universitaires François Rabelais; in press)
  • 'Des Chroniques de France à la Chronique de Cretin: un prosimètre', Cahiers de Recherches Médiévales et Humanistes (in press)
  • ‘Le Royaume contre-attaque: vers, récit et idéologie dans L’Arrest du roy des Rommains de Maximien’, Le Moyen Français, 88-93 (2021-23), 215-32
  • ‘Formal Inscriptions of Performance’, co-authored with Cynthia J. Brown, Samuel Mareel and Bart Ramakers, in Performative Literary Culture: Literary Associations and the World of Learning, 1200-1700, ed. Arjan van Dixhoorn and Susie Speakman Sutch (Leiden: Brill, 2023), 29-64
  • ‘Pervasive Performance in the Work of Jean Molinet’, in Performative Literary Culture: Literary Associations and the World of Learning, 1200-1700, ed. Arjan van Dixhoorn and Susie Speakman Sutch (Leiden: Brill, 2023), 214-21
  • ‘Des vêtements qui voyagent bien? Traduisibilité des habits allégoriques, du Parement et triomphe des dames au Triumphe ende ’t palleersel van den vrouwen’, co-authored with Rebecca Dixon, Cahiers de Recherches Médiévales et Humanistes, 42 (2021), 183-98; DOI 10.48611/isbn.978-2-406-12707-9.p.0183
  • ‘When Foxes Rove: Jean Bouchet’s Regnars traversant, Basel–Paris–Brussels–Frankfurt–Dresden’, Digital Philology, 10 (2021), 174-98; DOI 10.1353/dph.2021.0022
  • ‘Jean Molinet et le visuel’, in Littérature et arts visuels à la Renaissance, ed. Adeline Desbois-Ientile, Luisa Capodieci, Paul-Victor Desarbres, and Adeline Lionetto, Cahiers V. L. Saulnier 38 (Paris: Sorbonne Université Presses, 2021), 17-32
  • Molinet imprimé: perspectives éditoriales’, in Les premiers imprimés français et la littérature de Bourgogne (1470-1550), ed. Jean Devaux, Matthieu Marchal and Alexandra Velissariou (Paris: Champion, 2021), 77-87
  • Self-Translation in the Northern Renaissance: Jan van der Noot’s French Verse’, Magnificat Cultura i Literatura Medievals, 7 (2020), 211-33; DOI
  • ‘Maerlant in French (Almost): Language, Verse, and Cultural Traffic in Late Medieval Bruges’, Cahiers de Recherches Médiévales et Humanistes, 40 (2020), 303-21; DOI 10.15122/isbn.978-2-406-11263-1.p.0
  • 'Intellectuals and the Nation in Renaissance France: Verse Epitaphs for Louise de Savoie’, in Sodalitas Litteratorum: Studies in memory of Philip Ford, ed. Ingrid A. R. De Smet and Paul White (Geneva: Droz, 2019), 69-84
  • ‘Griselda, The Musical? From Le Livre de la vertu du sacrement de mariage to L’Estoire de Griseldis en rimes et par personnages’, in Philippe de Mézières: rhétorique et poétique, ed. Joël Blanchard, Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Antoine Calvet (Cahiers d’Humanisme et Renaissance 20, 2019), 227-47
  • ‘L2 Editorial Identity Performance: French-Language Publication in Dutch-Speaking Environments in the Burgundian Low Countries’, Le Moyen Français, 81 (2017), 11-40; DOI 10.1484/J.LMFR.5.116463
  • ‘Introduction’, in The Multilingual Muse, 1-11
  • ‘Théorie et pratique, aller et retour: L’Art de Rhétorique et la poésie de Jean Molinet dans deux recueils manuscrits’, in Les Arts poétiques du XIIIe au XVIIe siècle: Tensions et dialogue entre théorie et pratique, ed. Grégory Ems and Matthieu Minet (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017), 79-105
  • Half dicht, half prose gheordineert: vers et prose de moyen français en moyen néerlandais’, Le Moyen Français, 76-77 (2015), 7-38; DOI 10.1484/J.LMFR.5.111303
  • Literary Countermonuments of the Late Middle Ages, in The Aura of the Word in the Early Age of Print (1450-1600), ed. Jessica Buskirk and Samuel Mareel (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), 180-99
  • ‘“Imprimé en la ville marchande et renommée d’Anvers”: Antwerp Editions of Jean Molinet’s Poetry’, in Between Stability and Transformation: Textual Traditions in the Medieval Netherlands, ed. by Johan Oosterman, special issue of Queeste, 23.2 (2016), 123-37]
  • 'Translating Poetic Capital in Fifteenth-Century Brussels: From Amé de Montgesoie's Pas de la Mort to Colijn Caillieu's Dal sonder Wederkeeren', Queeste, 22 (2015), 47-61 


  • 'A Curator's Perspective: Communities in Communication, July-December 2014', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 91 (2015), 97-100 


  • 'Alain Chartier and the Rhétoriqueurs', in A Companion to Alain Chartier, ed. Daisy Delogu, Emma Cayley, and Joan E. McRae (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 303-23 


  • 'Books on the Bridge: Writing, Printing, and Viral Authority', in Authority in European Book Culture 1400-1600, ed. Pollie Bromilow (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 31-42 


  • 'Un cimetière bigarré: les épitaphes poétiques de Jean Molinet', in Texte et contre-texte pour la période pré-moderne, ed. Nelly Labère (Bordeaux: Ausonius Editions, 2013), 187-201 


  • 'The Resistance of Contingency: The Particular, the Irretrievable, and the Law in Villon's Testament', Cahiers de Recherches Médiévales et Humanistes, 25 (2013), 63-74 


  • 'Boire chez (et avec) Molinet', in Jean Molinet et son temps, ed. Jean Devaux, Estelle Doudet and Elodie Lecuppre-Desjardin (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), 237-48

  • 'Etat présent: Scholarly Editing', French Studies, 67 (2013), 232-40 


  • 'Le manuscrit Phillipps 3644: un recueil poétique inconnu de la fin du Moyen Age', Scriptorium, 65 (2011), 354-86 


  • 'Introduction', in Incunabula: The Printing Revolution in Europe 1455-1500; A Guide to Units 65, 66 and 70 of the Microfiche Collection, Printing in French Parts I-III (Andover/Woodbridge CT: Cengage Learning, 2011), 13-43 


  • 'Vers, prose, technologie: ponctuer L'Art de rhétorique de Jean Molinet, du manuscrit à l'imprimé', in La Ponctuation à la Renaissance, ed. Nathalie Dauvois and Jacques Dürrenmatt (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2011), 57-70 


  • 'The Emblematic Afterlife of Jean Bouchet: Piracy, Layout, Interpolation', in Le livre demeure: Studies in Book History in Honour of Alison Saunders, ed. Alison Adams and Philip Ford (Geneva: Droz, 2011), 15-36 


  • 'Printing and Metrical Naturalisation: Jean Molinet's Neuf Preux de Gourmandise', in Essays in Late Medieval French Literature: The Legacy of Jane Taylor, ed. Rebecca Dixon (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010), 143-59 


  • 'The Shaping of Knowledge in an Anthology of Jean Molinet's Poetry: Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College 187:220', Revue d'histoire des textes, nouvelle série, 4 (2009), 215-75 


  • 'Yearning and Learning: Spaces of Desire in Jean Lemaire de Belges's Concorde des deux langages (1511)', in The Erotics of Consolation: Desire and Distance in the Late Middle Ages, ed. Catherine E. Léglu and Stephen J. Milner (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 79-94 


  • 'Poitiers to Paris: Hélisenne de Crenne rewrites Jean Bouchet', in Writers in Conflict in Sixteenth-Century France: Studies in Honour of Malcolm Quainton, ed. David Foster and Elizabeth Vinestock (Durham: Durham Modern Languages Series, 2008), 345-62 


  • 'The Testament of François Villon', in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature, ed. Simon Gaunt and Sarah Kay (Cambridge: CUP, 2008), 65-76 


  • 'Is this an ex-parrot? The printed afterlife of Jean Lemaire de Belges' Epîtres de l'Amant vert', Journal de la Renaissance, 5 (2007), 323-36 


  • 'Reception and interference: reading Jean Molinet's rebus-poems', Word and Image, 23 (2007), 335-46 


  • 'De l'abstrait à l'abject: Sensualité dans les Triumphes de la noble et amoureuse dame de Jean Bouchet', in Entremetteurs et entremetteuses dans la littérature française et francophone de l'Antiquité à nos jours, ed. Corinne Pierreville (Lyon: CEDIC, 2007), 153-61 


  • 'Songe, vision, savoir: l'onirique et l'épistémique chez Molinet et Lemaire de Belges', Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, 123 (2007), 50-68 


  • 'Avatars d'un griffonnage à succès: L'Epitaphe du duc Philippe de Bourgogne de Jean Molinet', Le Moyen Age, 113 (2007), 25-44 


  • 'Love on the Page: Materiality and Literariness in Jean Bouchet's Amoureux transi and its Avatars', in Book and Text in France, 1400-1600: Poetry on the Page, ed. Adrian Armstrong and Malcolm Quainton (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 95-115 


  • 'Introduction', in Book and Text in France, 1-11 


  • 'Cosmetic surgery on Gaul: the printed reception of Burgundian writing in France before 1550', in Print and Power in France and England, 1500-1800, ed. Adrian Armstrong and David Adams (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 13-26 


  • 'Introduction', co-written with David Adams, in Print and Power in France and England, 1-11 


  • 'The Manuscript Reception of Jean Molinet's Trosne d'Honneur', Medium Aevum, 74 (2005), 311-28 


  • 'Prosimètre et savoir', in Le Prosimètre à la Renaissance, ed. Nathalie Dauvois, Cahiers V. L. Saulnier 22 (Paris: Editions Rue d'Ulm/Presses de l'Ecole normale supérieure, 2005), 125-42 


  • 'Semiramis in Grand Rhétoriqueur Writing', in Schooling and Society: The Ordering and Reordering of Knowledge in the Western Middle Ages, ed. Alasdair A. MacDonald and Michael Twomey (Leuven: Peeters; 2004), 157-71 


  • 'Les Femmes et la violence dans le Jugement poetic de l'honneur femenin (1538)', in Jean Bouchet, traverseur des voies périlleuses (1476-1557): Actes du colloque de Poitiers (30-31 août 2001), ed. Jennifer Britnell and Nathalie Dauvois (Paris: Champion, 2003), 209-28 


  • 'L'active et la passive: deux modèles de vertu féminine dans le Jugement poetic de l'honneur femenin de Jean Bouchet (1538)?' in Female Saints and Sinners: Saintes et Mondaines (France 1450-1650), ed. Jennifer Britnell and Ann Moss (Durham: Durham Modern Languages Series, 2002), 179-95

  • 'Versification on the Page in Jean Molinet's Art de Rhétorique: From Aesthetic to Utilitarian', TEXT, 15 (2002), 121-39 


  • La Plainte du Désiré de Jean Lemaire de Belges: du manuscrit illustré aux marges de l'imprimé', in L'Analisi linguistica e letteraria, 1-2 (anno VIII, 2000): Actes du IIème Colloque international sur la Littérature en Moyen Français (Milan, 8-10 mai 2000), ed. Sergio Cigada, Anna Slerca, Giovanna Bellati, Monica Barsi, 139-56 


  • 'Paratexte et autorité(s) chez les Grands Rhétoriqueurs', in 'L'écrivain editeur, 1: Du Moyen Age à la fin du XVIIIe siècle',Travaux de Littérature, XIV (2000), 61-89 


  • 'Dead Man Walking: Remaniements and Recontextualisations of Jean Molinet's Occasional Writing', in Vernacular Literature and Current Affairs in the Early Sixteenth Century: France, England and Scotland, ed. Jennifer Britnell and Richard Britnell (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 80-98 


  • ''Regardez bien tout au long les hystoires': Illustration and Self-Conscious Writing in Jean Bouchet's Jugement poetic de l'honneur femenin', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 81 (1999), 241-68 


  • 'François Villon: Rhétoriqueur?' in Villon in Oxford: The Drama of the Text, ed. Michael Freeman and Jane H.M. Taylor (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999), 51-84 


  • 'Jean Marot's Rebus-Rondeau: Sense and Space', Le Moyen français, 42 (1998), 19-27 


  • 'Pattern and Disruption in Formalist Poetry: The Example of Jean Molinet', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 98 (1997), 209-16 


  • 'Two More Rebus-Poems by Jean Molinet?' Scriptorium, 51 (1997), 76-80 


  • 'The Practice of Textual Transmission: Jean Molinet's Ressource du Petit Peuple', Forum for Modern Language Studies, 33 (1997), special volume: 'The Practice of Medieval Literature', 270-82 


  • 'The Deferred Verdict: A Topos in Late-Medieval Poetic Debates?' French Studies Bulletin, 64 (Autumn 1997), 12-14


  • 'Signing the Frame: The First Edition of Jean Bouchet's Déploration de l'église Militante', Neophilologus, 79 (1995), 397-407 


  • 'More Manuscript Copies of Jean Bouchet's Verse: Mss. B.N. fr. 2206 and 2231', Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance, 57 (1995), 89-99

Public engagement and educational publications:

  • 'Vignet: Maerlant in het Frans', in Dirk Schoenaers, Theo Hermans, Inger Leemans, Cees Koster, and Ton Naaijkens, Vertalen in de Nederlanden: Een cultuurgeschiedenis (Amsterdam: Boom, 2021), 163-64
  • 'Tolerant and Diverse: a Different Picture of the Middle Ages', History Today, 65:7 (July 2015), 3-4; also appears in the magazine's online History Matters section
  • 'Chasing the Tale', The European [online magazine]
  • ‘The exception anglo-saxonne? Diversity and Viability of French Studies in the UK’, in French Studies in and for the Twenty-first Century, ed. Philippe Lane and Michael Worton (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011), 27-36
  • ‘"Sharing Words": Conversation, collaboration and cultural connections’, co-authored with Diane Whitelegg, LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, January 2005
  • ‘HE initiatives with secondary school partners: Multiple strands of activity to benefit us all?’ co-authored with Jocelyn Wyburd, CiLT Higher, 9 (autumn 2004), 14-15


I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

Pre-modern literature in French (up to c.1600)

Literary translation and cross-cultural transmission (especially pre-modern)

Book history and visual culture (especially pre-modern)

Current PhD students:

Aratrika Choudhury (second supervisor) - ‘Empire and the Illustrated Book: Visual and Textual Authenticity in Bengali and English publications (c. 1887-1920)’

Past PhD students at QMUL:

Lydia Zeldenrust (co-supervisor) - ‘Mutations of an Animal-Human Hybrid Monster: The Western European Mélusine Translations (c.1400-1600)’

Céline Clavel (second supervisor) - ‘Unravelling Punishment: The Representation of Punitive Practices in Golden Age Children’s Literature in France, England and America’

I was a member of the supervisory team for 11 other PhD students before joining QMUL.


Public Engagement

Publications for a general readership

'Vignet: Maerlant in het Frans', in Dirk Schoenaers, Theo Hermans, Inger Leemans, Cees Koster, and Ton Naaijkens, Vertalen in de Nederlanden: Een cultuurgeschiedenis (Amsterdam: Boom, 2021), 163-64


Film, TV, radio and podcasts

Contributions to episodes on 'Les Grands Rhétoriqueurs' for the radio series Les Chemins de la Connaissance, France-Culture, 10-14 May 1993 (available online:


Newspaper and Magazine Publications and Coverage


Exhibition curated

Communities in Communication: Languages and Cultures in the Low Countries, 1450-1530, John Rylands Library, Manchester, July-December 2014


Educational and professional publications

  • ‘The exception anglo-saxonne? Diversity and Viability of French Studies in the UK’, in French Studies in and for the Twenty-first Century, ed. Philippe Lane and Michael Worton (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011), 27-36
  • “Sharing Words”: Conversation, collaboration and cultural connections’, co-authored with Diane Whitelegg, LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, January 2005 (available online: )
  • ‘HE initiatives with secondary school partners: Multiple strands of activity to benefit us all?’ co-authored with Jocelyn Wyburd, CiLT Higher, 9 (autumn 2004), 14-15


Contributions to creative work

Translations and linguistic advice for Johannes Ockeghem, Les chansons, Cut Circle, dir. by Jesse Rodin (Musique en Wallonie, MEW1995, 2020)

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