School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS)


Dr Isabelle Moreau

Dr Isabelle Moreau


151 Malet Place, First Floor
French Department


  • Reader in Early Modern Studies
    Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL


My scholarly work is centred on relations between literary and philosophical discourses in early modern Europe, particularly seventeenth-century France. It focuses on two central issues: the interplay between narrative fictions and philosophical discourse; and the circulation of ideas and their textual transformations. My first book was on the philosophical and rhetorical coherence of libertine discourse. I am now interested in modalities of knowledge acquisition and my second monograph will be centred on 'paresse' (laziness) in Montaigne and Bayle. Another domain - the reception of travellers' accounts - is especially significant for the period I am studying. I am also planning to investigate the interplay between philosophy and its exotic representations - where we shall discover Confucius as the new Socrates and avatars of Spinoza all over Asia.

Research areas:
- Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century literature and thought; Cultural history and history of ideas, with a special interest in libertinism and free-thinking. 

- The Mind-Body Problem in Early Modern Europe. Materialism in thought, literature, medicine and the emerging sciences 1600-1800.

- Knowledge acquisition and the body: Laziness.

- Early modern fiction

- Early Modern Travel narratives and post-colonial theories. Geographical imagination and its social diffusion.

Award year Qualification Institution
2005 PhD
Seventeenth Century French Literature
Universite de Saint Etienne
2000 MA
Diplôme d'études approfondies
French Literature
Universite de Saint Etienne
1998 MAI
French Literature
Universite de la Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III)
1997 BA Hons
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
French Literature
Universite de la Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III)
1996 Dipl.
French Literature
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon

Former scholar of the Ecole Normale Supérieure Fontenay / Saint-Cloud, I taught for several years at university level in France before joining UCL in 2007.


Charles Sorel|*|Cyrano de Bergerac|*|Descartes|*|Diderot|*|Eighteenth century literature and thought|*|Francois Bernier|*|Gabriel Naude|*|Gassendi|*|La Mothe Le Vayer|*|Pierre Bayle|*|Seventeenth-century literature and thought|*|The Mind-Body Problem in Early Modern Europe;|*|Travel narratives|*|fiction, rhetoric and make-believe|*|libertinism and free-thinking|*|the Encyclopedie
Office Hours: Fridays 4pm to 6pm, or by appointment.