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Dr Bradley Stephens

Dr Bradley Stephens

Dr Bradley Stephens
BA , MA, PhD (Cantab)

Senior Lecturer in French

Office 2.61, 19WR
19 Woodland Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1TE
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 7914


Dr. Stephens's research focuses on the influences and legacies of French Romanticism during and since the nineteenth century. His book Victor Hugo, Jean-Paul Sartre, and the Liability of Liberty, for which he was awarded a University Research Fellowship, appeared with Legenda in 2011 and explored previously overlooked connections between Romantic and Existentialist thinking through these two iconic writers. In conjunction with this project, he also wrote the introduction to a new edition of Hugo’s classic gothic novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) with Signet Classics/Penguin USA.

Two related projects are currently underway. The first asks how strategies of adaptation vary across medium, nation, and era, in collaboration with colleagues across the UK, USA, and France: his participation considers the reception and adaptations of French Romantic fiction, especially in terms of mulitmedia translation and gendered heroes. For this project, he worked as part of a REACT-funded partnership (The Next Timeline) that looked at how literary data can be coded for touchscreen software.

The project has now turned towards various studies of Hugo's Les Mìsérables which are in preparation.'Les Mìsérables' and its Afterlives: Between Page, Stage, and Screen (co-edited with Kathryn M. Grossman: Ashgate, forthcoming) offers new readings of both Hugo's landmark novel and its prolific adaptations. A second co-edited volume (with Michal P. Ginsburg) develops new approaches to teaching this literary classic (under consideration). An upcoming co-authored chapter with Kathryn Grossman will also consider the novel's transformation in musical theatre in The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical, edited by Robert Gordon and Olaf Jubin (Oxford University Press, under contract).

A second parallel project concentrates on the masculine figure of the grand homme or 'great man' which fellow Romantics Hugo and Alexandre Dumas explored (and came to embody).  Combining these interests, he has co-edited (with Kate Griffiths and Andrew Watts) a special number of the journal Dix-Neuf on 'Adaptation in Nineteenth-Century France' (forthcoming spring 2014). This edition will include his article on Alexandre Dumas' Les Trois mousquetaires, looking at both the importance of animation as an overlooked adaptive medium, and the construction of masculinity in both the source and its adaptations. Further research is being prepared for a monograph that considers how adaptation and gender may be brought into dialogue with one another through the example of Les Mìsérables.


Bradley Stephens completed his BA, MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge before joining the School of Modern Languages in Bristol in 2006, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in French in 2013. He currently sits on the Editorial Advisory Boards of The Journal for European StudiesFrench Studies Bulletin, and Sartre Studies International. Within the University, he was the Year Abroad Officer for the School of Modern Languages 2010-12 and chaired the management of the first InsideArts, the University Festival of the Arts and Humanities. He currently sits on the Executive Committee of the UK Sartre Society, and was Membership Secretary for the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes from 2009 to 2012.


Consultation Hours for Dr. Stephens in the second semester of 2013/14 are Tuesdays 10:30am-11:30am and Fridays 12pm-1:00pm; he will usually be available to see students at these times, and mutually convenient alternatives can be arranged via email. Please be advised that Thursdays are his research days and he will be unavailable for student consultation on those days.

Dr. Stephens’s undergraduate teaching at Bristol for 2013-14 includes: the first-year ‘Readling Literary and Visual Cultures in French’ unit (FREN10010); second-year courses on the French novel both pre- and post-1900 (FREN20023/39), and a final-year special option on readings and receptions of Les Mìsérables (FREN30030).

At graduate level, he convenes a core unit entitled ‘European Literature of Ideas’ (MODLM2044) for the MA in Modern Languages and European Literatures, and contributes seminars to ‘The Rise of the Nineteenth-Century Novel’ and ‘Tradition and Experimentation in Twentieth-Century Fiction’ (MODLM 2034/35), in addition to 'Europe and the Americas'. He is currently co-supervising four PhD theses on: le merveilleux scientifique in late nineteenth-century French literature; Jules Verne's utopian narratives; the fantastic in late nineteenth-century French and German fiction; and French women Romantic writers. He has previously supervised an MPhil thesis on the figure of theprêtre amoureux in French Romantic writing, in addition to work on Hugo, Balzac, and Cocteau.


  • Romanticism
  • Victor Hugo
  • Alexandre Dumas
  • adaptation studies
  • the novel
  • masculinity studies
  • Existentialism.



Department of French

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