Professor David Platten

Professor David Platten

Professor of Modern French Studies

+44 (0)113 3439110

Summary: Crime fiction, popular culture, modern and contemporary novel, metaphor, narrative.


I was born in South London, educated in Coventry and graduated in 1986 with First Class Honours from the University of Liverpool, where I took a BA French with Spanish. I read for a Ph.D. on the work of novelist, short story writer and essayist Michel Tournier, which was awarded in 1994, also by the University of Liverpool. In 1989 I was appointed to a temporary position as Lecturer in French at the University of Leeds, which was made permanent in 1991. In 2000 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer and in 2011 to Professor of Modern French Studies.

I served as Head of the French Department (2005-2008), and as Pro-Dean in Student Education in the Faculty of Arts (2009-2014). I am currently Director of Recruitment and Deputy Unit of Assessment Leader (Research Excellence Framework) in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.


My research reflects my interest in metaphor, narrative and other modes of cognition. The question of how and to what extent acts of creative expression bear on public debate and social attitudes underpins much of my work, which draws on modern and contemporary French literature, cinema and television drama, popular forms, especially crime fiction and comics, and the interface between sport and culture, primarily in relation to football and cycling. I have also worked in a transnational context on the topics of adaptation and cultural migration. I am currently leading a project on the influence of True Crime writing over public attitudes and policy development, and am in the early stages of writing a monograph on humanized or cultured space, provisionally entitled Configurations: Space and Culture in Modern France.


As well as language, my teaching incorporates modules on French Popular Culture, Modern and Contemporary French Fiction, as well as in the past Roman and Film Noir and Bilingual Liaison Interpreting. I have supervised and examined many postgraduate and doctoral theses at Leeds and elsewhere.


I have acted as reader and reviewer for numerous publishers, including Routledge, Manchester University Press, the University of Wales Press and the Clarendon Press, and academic journals such as French Studies, The Modern Language Review, Modern and Contemporary France, and French Cultural Studies. I have also acted as a subject specialist consultant for the University of Swansea and served as Chief Educationalist for the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Consortium (2013-6).



The Pleasures of Crime: Reading Modern French Crime Fiction (Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi-Chiasma, 2011)

Michel Tournier and the Metaphor of Fiction, (Liverpool/ New York: Liverpool University Press/ St. Martin’s Press, 1999)

Philippe Djian. 37, 2 le matin (Glasgow: Glasgow French and German Publications, 1995)

Edited books

Finding the Plot: Storytelling in Popular Fictions, with Loïc Artiaga, Diana Holmes and Jacques Migozzi (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013). Includes co-authored Introduction (with Holmes) and own chapter, 'On the art of plotting, and the reader as co-conspirator: Pierre Signac's Monsieur Cauchemar (1960)', pp.91-105

Edited journal volumes

‘Retold, Resold, Transformed. Crime Fiction in the Global Era’, with Christiana Gregoriou and Gigliola Sulis,The Australian Journal of Crime Fiction 1:1 (2017), including single-authored contribution, ‘Literature in the departure lounge: market influences and literary shapes in the fiction of Jo Nesbǒ and Harlan Coben’

'Storytelling in Contemporary French Fiction: le ‘Prêt-à-Penser’ and Reading Pleasure', with Diana Holmes, French Cultural Studies, 21.4 (November 2010), includes own article, 'Wired to the word: on reading thrillers', pp.267-275.

Selected book chapters and journal articles since 2005

‘Sacred beasts in secular times: monsters in modern French fiction’, Australian Journal of French Studies. Forthcoming 2018

'Windows of cognition: contemporary French comics and the cultural middlebrow', Belphégor: Littératures populaires et culture médiatique 15.2 (2017)

‘Cultural illegitimacies: football, popular music and crime fiction’, in Poétiques Comparatistes (0ctober 2016), pp.17-37

‘Case studies: Detective Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg. Nationality: French / Creator: Fred Vargas’, in B. Forshaw ed, Detective (Bristol / Chicago: Intellect Press, 2015), pp.120-129

‘Partners in crime: readers, translators, characters and the promotion of a genre’, Itinéraires:[en ligne], 2014-3 / 2015,

'Why popular films are popular: identification, imitation and critical mortification', in Holmes and Looseley eds., Imagining the Popular in Contemporary French Culture (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), pp.123-161

'Mediatized realities: the modern crime narrative', Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writers, ‘Crime across Cultures’, Evans and White eds., 13.1 (April, 2013), pp.33-48

'Origins and beginnings: the emergence of detective fiction in France', Gorrara ed., French Crime Fiction (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009), pp.14-35

‘Violence and the saint: the fiction of Jean Amila’, Gascoigne ed., Violent Histories. Violence, Culture and Identity in France from Surrealism to the Néo-Polar (Oxford/Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), pp.175-198

‘Polar-village: the French roman noir beyond the city walls’, Romance Studies, 25.2 (2007), pp.95-110

‘'Ceci n’est pas une pipe’: shades of noir in Simenon’, Australian Journal of French Studies, 43.1 (2006), pp.19-34

'Into the woods: the contemporary roman noir as modern fairy tale’, Yale French Studies, 108 (2005), pp.116-130.