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Assoc Professor Síofra Pierse

Assoc Professor

Síofra Pierse

Associate Professor
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics
01 716 8273
University College Dublin, School of Languages Cultures and Linguistics, Newman Building Belfield Dublin 4

RESEARCH INTERESTS

DIX-HUITIEMISTE I am a specialist in 18th-century French literature and history of ideas. As an early-modern scholar, my primary research has for a long time focused on the large corpus (over thirty-eight texts) of Voltaire's historical and historiographical works. However, my wider research interests and publications divide into four broad areas: 1) 18th-century historiography [Voltaire and contemporaries] 2) 18th-century literature and ideas [Voltaire; Rousseau; Charriere; Diderot; Disguise; Deceit; Old-age; the early-modern Self; Truth; Scepticism] 3) The early modern female-authored French novel [Mesdames Tencin, Riccoboni, Graffigny, Charriere, Gouges, Staël...] 4) The city in 18th-century French literature [Restif de la Bretonne, Voltaire; Rousseau; Mercier...]. BOOKS PUBLISHED (2016) Co-editor of 'The Dark Side of Diderot/ Diderot des ombres' a bilingual collection of articles celebrating the tercentenary of Diderot's birth year 1713 (in collaboration with Dr James Hanrahan, TCD (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2016). (2008) Author of a monograph 'Voltaire Historiographer: Narrative Paradigms' (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2008). (2004) Editor of a volume of essays 'The City in French Writing: the Eighteenth-Century experience' (Dublin: UCD Press, 2004). ARTICLES PUBLISHED The fruits of my research continue to appear in articles in peer-reviewed journals, in book chapters, and in book reviews in peer-reviewed journals, as well as in online publications. A list of my publications is available on this website under 'Publications'. RECENT In 2016, I worked on a fascinating article on early illustrations of Diderot's 'La Religieuse' (published in Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2016). Whereas heretofore it was generally accepted that Le Barbier (1799) was the first illustrator of Diderot's posthumous novel, I posit here that the first illustrations were actually available in the year it was published, 1796, and that they were produced not by Le Barbier but by a series of illustrators including Anonymous (1796) and Challiou (1797). This was an exciting and novel project for me as it entailed tracking down the earliest editions of the novel through libraries all over Europe (Paris, Bonn, Oxford, Fontainebleau...). This article in fact arose out of a UCD module lecture and then a conference paper on the filmic adaptations of the novel. Collaborative Team Research Project: Between 2009-2013 I was intensely involved in a team project at the Voltaire Foundation, Oxford, involving preparation of the critical edition of Voltaire's work of universal history, ' Essai sur les moeurs'. This collaborative project was generously funded by the AHRC, UK . I worked as part of a team of international scholars, which was a very exciting and unique opportunity for dix-huitiemiste (18th-century) specialists. Volume III appeared in October 2010 and Volume V was published in October 2012. As part of substantial contributions, I edited chapters and wrote extensive pieces of work for both Volume III and Volume V, including sole critical edition of chapters 56 and joint critical editions of chapters 124 and 125 of Voltaire's ground-breaking histoire universelle. MORE ARTICLES -One of my more topical articles includes a piece on 'Candide' as interpreted via the prism of the Irish Celtic Tiger, in which I analysed the acclaimed Irish 'Performance Corporation' theatre company's 2003 reinterpretation and performance of 'Candide' (published in 2014, just after the 'Performance Corporation's 10-year celebrations (2013) and to mark 250 years of Voltaire's 'Candide'). -As expert on Voltaire's historiography, I was invited to write a chapter for inclusion in Brill's new 'A Companion to Enlightenment Historiography' volume (edited by Prof. Robert Sparling). I contributed a chapter situating Voltaire within early modern historiography, amidst the leading historians of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, right up to Gibbon. The volume was published by Brill in June 2013. THE DARK SIDE OF DIDEROT COLLABORATION In 2016 James Hanrahan (TCD) and I published a collection of articles exploring the Dark Side of Diderot . The collection is international and bilingual. Chapters mainly focus on the schism between positive images of the Enlightenment and an undercurrent of disorder, transgression and clandestine intellectual and social practices. Diderot's role in this fissure is critically scrutinised through an analysis of the interface between Enlightenment and its dark side. In his own reticence before authority and censorship, in the richness and complexity of his literary and philosophical works, or in his innovative aesthetic vision, Diderot consistently evokes the darker side of the Enlightenment. I have an article in this collection entitled 'Subversive Scepticism: Diderot and Narrative Doubt', tracing scepticism through three of Diderot's works: 'Pensées philosophiques', 'La Promenade du sceptique' and 'Jacques le fataliste'. ONGOING BOOK PROJECT As well as doing my usual book reviews for discipline journals, giving conference papers and writing articles for publication, I am working on my book project, with the working title: 'Literary Doubt in Enlightenment France'. This work explores manifestations of doubt (various forms of scepticism) in French literary narratives of the Enlightenment: Diderot/Voltaire/Rousseau/Charriere. FOUR MAJOR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES ORGANISED AT UCD 1) TURMOIL / DANS LA TOURMENTE: INSTABILITY AND INSECURITY IN 18TH-CENTURY FRANCE UCD Humanities Institute, September 7-8 2018 Keynote speaker: Prof. Kate E. Tunstall (Worcester College, Oxford) Call for Papers: https://turmoilconferenceucd18.com This conference is co-orgnised by Síofra Pierse, Edward O'Sullivan and Emma Dunne 2) DIDEROT TERCENTENARY CONFERENCE: 'The Dark Side of Diderot', UCD, June 7, 2013. - Co-organised with Dr James Hanrahan (TCD). -FUNDING: generously received from French Embassy Cultural Fund; UCD Dublin College of Arts and Celtic Studies; School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, TCD; 'The FRENCH PARADOX' Ballsbridge, Dublin 4; 'TERROIRS' Donnybrook, Dublin 4. Our main sponsors were VEOLIA Water (Ireland) to whom we are extremely grateful. TITLE: 'The Dark Side of Diderot' VENUE: Whaley Room, Newman House UCD, 86 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. OPENING: Minister Ruairí Quinn, Irish Minister for Education. KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Professor Catriona SETH (Université de Lorraine) 'Le Gout des ruines' INTERNATIONAL SPEAKERS: Marie-Anne BOHN (Université de Paris IV; Helene DAVID (Université de Lille 2) Síofra PIERSE (UCD, Dublin) Daniel S. LARANGE (Abo Akademi, Finland) Masano YAMASHITA (University of Colorado) Graham GARGETT (University of Ulster) Russell GOULBOURNE (University of Leeds) James HANRAHAN (Trinity College Dublin) Ann LEWIS (Birkbeck College, London) 3) GOLDONI CONFERENCE: 'Carlo Goldoni: Venice 1709 - Paris 1793', July 2007. -International key conference co-organised by Professor O'Grady (Italian, UCD), Dr Monica Francioso (Italian, UCD) and Dr Síofra Pierse (French UCD) to mark the tercentenary of Goldoni's birth in 1709. Keynote speakers included Prof. Paolo Bosisio, world expert on Goldoni and also renowned academic and Italian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Dr Lucio Alberto Savoia. The conference included seventeen international speakers from six different countries, over three days. -Sponsors included: The Italian Embassy, Italian Cultural Institute, the Unicorn Restaurant, School of Languages, Literatures and Film, and UCD Seed-Funding. 4)VOLTAIRE SYMPOSIUM: ' Perspectives voltairiennes', UCD, April 2007. -International symposium held at UCD. Keynote speaker was world-renowned Voltaire expert, Dr Laurence Macé (Université de Paris IV- Sorbonne). -Other key speakers included Prof. Gargett (U. Coleraine); Prof. Riviere (U. Limerick). Six papers given in a one-day symposium. -Funding received from UCD Arts & Celtic Studies College Early Modern Research Funding Strand).

GRANTS

GRANT
Marginality Musicality Exteriority: Narrative Voices in the Œuvres of Isabelle de Charrière (1740-1805)
Irish Research Council (IRC)
1 Oct 2017 - 30 Sep 2020
GRANT
OBRSS Research Support Scheme
University College Dublin (UCD)
1 Nov 2016 - 31 Oct 2020
GRANT
The Dark Side of Diderot
University College Dublin (UCD)
30 Nov 2012 - 31 Dec 2013
GRANT
Diderot Studies Centenary Conference
University College Dublin (UCD)
3 Aug 2009 - 31 Jan 2011
GRANT
Candide 250
University College Dublin (UCD)
3 Aug 2009 - 31 Jan 2011