Dr Richard Hibbitt

Dr Richard Hibbitt

Senior Lecturer in French and Comparative Literature

+44 (0)113 343 3495

Summary: Nineteenth and early twentieth-century French literature; comparative literature; the fin de siècle; dilettantism and cosmopolitanism.

Director of French (Subject Leader)

Director of the Centre for World Literatures:


Programme Manager BA in English and Comparative Literature:



My first degree was in French and German at Royal Holloway, University of London, which included a year working as an assistant in Strasbourg. After this I spent a year as a DAAD-funded visiting student at the University of Augsburg, followed by a MA in Comparative Literature at the University of East Anglia. I then took a PGCE at the University of Exeter and spent a year teaching French and German at various schools in London and Surrey. After this I returned to UEA to study for a PhD in Comparative Literature, during and after which I taught French there part-time. Before joining the Department at Leeds in 2007 I held two one-year Lectureships in French, at the National University of Ireland, Galway and at the University of York.


I currently teach on the following French modules: Resistance and Desire: Introduction to French Studies (Level 1); The Pleasures of French Poetry (Level 2) and The Short Form in French and Francophone Literature (Level 2); Symbolism and Decadence: French Literature in the Fin de Siècle (Level 3). I also convene the school-wide Level 1 cornerstone module Worlds of Literature, which is a core module of the BA in English and Comparative Literature. 


My research interests encompass two overlapping areas. The first is nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French and comparative literature, with particular emphases on cultural exchange, the reception of fin-de-siècle literature, and the concepts of dilettantism and cosmopolitanism. This research has led to publications on Baudelaire, Bourget, Laforgue, Rimbaud, Rodenbach, Henry James, Thomas Mann and Oscar Wilde. I am currently working on the transnational cultural field in the nineteenth century, which is linked to my membership of Writing 1900, an international and cross-disciplinary research network:


My second area of research is informed by my wider interest in English, French and German literature from a comparative perspective, stretching from Montaigne to W. G. Sebald.  This includes my first book, Dilettantism and its Values: From Weimar Classicism to the Fin de Siècle (Legenda, 2006), and an ongoing interest in digression, experimentation and narratology. In 2011 I co-edited with Dr Jo Catling (UEA) a volume of essays on W. G. Sebald, entitled Saturn's Moons: W. G. Sebald - A Handbook (Legenda).

I am on the Executive Committee of the British Comparative Literature Association:


and the Assistant Editor of its journal Comparative Critical Studies,  published by Edinburgh University Press:

Comparative Critical Studies

and a member of the Réseau Européen d’études littéraires comparées:


At Leeds I am a member of the Literary Studies Research Group in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures:


and one of the founding organisers of International Writers at Leeds, a programme of visiting writers in partnership with Leeds Central Library:


I am interested in supervising research on the following areas: French and comparative fin-de-siècle literature, culture and thought, cosmopolitanism, cultural exchange, reception and translation during the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century;  different conceptions of dilettantism; comparative topics, particularly with a focus on literature in French and German; world literature.



Other Capitals of the Nineteenth Century: An Alternative Mapping of Literary and Cultural Space, ed. by Richard Hibbitt (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2017)

Saturn's Moons: W. G. Sebald - A Handbook, ed. by Jo Catling and Richard Hibbitt (Oxford: Legenda, 2011)http://www.mhra.org.uk/cgi-bin/legenda/legenda.pl?catalogue=b9781906540029

Dilettantism and its Values: From Weimar Classicism to the Fin de Siècle (Oxford: Legenda, 2006)

Journal issues

Comparative Critical Studies, special edition on ‘Fin-de-siècle cosmopolitanism’, edited by Stefano Evangelista and Richard Hibbitt, 10.2 (2013)


Comparative Critical Studies, special online edition on ‘Possible Worlds’, edited by Marina Warner with Richard Hibbitt, 9.3 (2012)


Articles, book chapters and other publications 

‘Baudelaire, Baumgarten and Sensate Knowledge’, in Aisthesis und Noesis. Zwei Erkenntnisformen vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, edited by Hans Adler and Lynn Wolff (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2013), pp. 85-96 

‘Inevitable Plots in the Symbolist Novel: Georges Rodenbach’s Bruges-la-morte’, in Finding the Plot: On the Importance of Storytelling in Popular Fictions, edited by Diana Holmes and David Platten (Newcastle-on-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013), pp. 218-33 

Two Responses to Paul Bourget: Henry James and Thomas Mann’, Comparative Critical Studies, special edition on ‘Fin-de-siècle cosmopolitanism’, edited by Stefano Evangelista and Richard Hibbitt, 10.2 (2013), 303-16: 


‘Oscar Wilde and la critique impressionniste’, Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens, no. 77 (Spring 2013), edited by Laurent Bury and Luc Bouvard, online: http://cve.revues.org/331

‘Entente asymétrique?: Franco-British Literary Reception in 1908’, in Channel Packets: Franco-British Cultural Exchanges, 1880-1940, ed. by Andrew Radford and Victoria Reid (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 34-51  

'Reflections on the Fruitful Error', in Textual Wanderings: The Theory and Practice of Narrative Digression, ed. by Rhian Atkin (Oxford: Legenda, 2011), pp. 27-36

'The Artist as Aesthete: The French Creation of Oscar Wilde', in The Reception of Oscar Wilde in Europe, ed. by Stefano Evangelista (London : Continuum, 2010), pp. 65-79

'Paul Bourget's critique of fin-de-siècle cosmopolitanism', in The Cause of Cosmopolitanism: Dispositions, Models, Transformations, ed. by Laura Rascaroli and Patrick O'Donovan (Oxford : Peter Lang, 2010), pp. 173-87

'Le roman d'analyse et le romanesque: la représentation de l'héritage psychologique chez Paul Bourget', in Romanesque et Histoire, ed. by Christophe Reffait (Collection Romanesques, vol.  III ; Paris: Encrage, 2008), pp. 175-89

'Oscar Wilde et Paul Bourget : Deux vies en parallèle', rue des beaux-arts, 17 (Nov. / Dec. 2008), ed. Danielle Guérin (online): http://www.oscholars.com/RBA/seventeen/17.13/rencontres.htm

'Dilettantism and Irony: Jules Laforgue and C. M. Wieland', Forum For Modern Language Studies, 44.3 (July 2007), 290-300

'"This savage parade": Recent translations of Rimbaud', The Cambridge Quarterly, 36.1 (February 2007), 71-82 (review article)