For details on how to apply for the R. Gapper prize competitions, click here.

R. Gapper Postgraduate Essay Prize 2016

The Society for French Studies is pleased to announce that the recipient of this year’s R. Gapper Postgraduate Essay prize is Daisy Gudmunsen (King’s College London), for an essay entitled ‘On the Representation of Jewishness in Denis Guénoun’s Un Sémite and Jacques Derrida’s Le Monolinguisme de l’autre’.

The R. Gapper Postgraduate Essay Prize includes an award of £750 and expenses-paid travel to the Annual Conference of the Society, which this year is being held at the University of Durham from 3 to 5 July.

The Society offers its congratulations to Daisy Gudmunsen on her achievement, and also to the runner-up for this year’s award, Vittoria Fallanca (University of Oxford), for an essay entitled ‘The Design of the Essais: Montaigne and the language of ‘dessein’’.

The Society for French Studies gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the R. Gapper Charitable Trust for this prize.


2016 Undergraduate Essay Prize Winners

The joint winners of this year’s prize are Eleanor Chapman (Cambridge) for her essay, ‘The monstrous and the non-human may present a threat to human culture but they also offer solutions to what seem like logical and narrative impasses.’ Discuss with reference to at least two texts.

And Jack Flowers (Oxford) for his essay, ‘L’une des thématiques majeures de la poésie de cette époque est la métropole, conçue comme l’un des lieux privilégiés où s’entremêlent l’ancien et le moderne, la solitude et la foule, le « haut » et le « bas ».’ Discuss with reference to one or more poets of the period.

The Selection Committee also commended the following shortlisted entries:

Imran Rahman-Jones (Nottingham), ‘Why was Michel Debré removed from office in April 1962 and why did de Gaulle choose George Pompidou as his replacement?’

Michael Sole (Exeter), ‘Whether it is through the exploration of memory or of the shocks and exhilarations of the present moment, Proust’s novel is concerned, above all, with the individual’s relation to time.’

Lucy Taylor (Durham), ‘Addressing the Mediation of Images and Their Implementation in the Construction of Truth in the Works of Rithy Panh.’

Sophie Wright (Newcastle), ‘How do French literary and cinematic representations of the Second World War represent survival?’


2015 R. Gapper Book Prize

The Society for French Studies is delighted to announce the award of the fifteenth annual R. Gapper Book Prize to:

Robert Mills (UCL), Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages (University of Chicago Press)

Also commended:

Mairéad Hanrahan (UCL), Cixous’s Semi-Fictions (Edinburgh University Press)
Joseph Harris (Royal Holloway), Inventing the Spectator (Oxford University Press)
Ann Jefferson (Oxford), Genius in France: an Idea and its Uses (Princeton University Press)

About the winning book:

This is an astonishing and beautiful book, the work of an art historian who focuses first on images, then on the texts with which they are often paired, then spins out the implications of the medieval artefact to consider such questions as transgender time, the Ovide moralisé, the sex lives of monks, virginity as a sexual orientation, and a novel by Ali Smith. Mills is uniquely suited to the text: an art historian, literary scholar, and theoretical wizard, who offers a revisioning of medieval material in the light of twenty-first century theory. The volume opens, somewhat disarmingly, with discussion of an image of St Jerome in a dress. This single image, lavishly described, offers a way in to thinking about gender and sexuality in the Middle Ages with imaginative apprehension and scholarly grit. This is a book which points toward the future, tells a new story, and opens paths for scholars to come.

Prof. Bill Burgwinkle, University of Cambridge, 15 February 2016

The award, which is given for the best book published in 2014 by a scholar working in French studies in Britain or Ireland, is made by the Society for French Studies together with the Gapper family, representing the R. H. Gapper Charitable Trust, on the recommendation of a Prize Jury appointed by the Society.

The Prize Jury for the competition this year was composed as follows:

Chair: Bill Burgwinkle, King’s College, University of Cambridge
Jean Duffy, University of Edinburgh
Shirley Jordan, Queen Mary, University of London
Patrick O’Donovan, University College Cork, Ireland
John O’Brien, Durham University
Emma Wilson, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

The R. Gapper Book Prize was presented to Dr. Mills at the Society for French Studies annual conference in Glasgow, June 2016.
Robert Mills is Reader in Medieval Art at University College London (UCL) and director of qUCL, UCL’s LGBTQ research network.
The Society for French Studies gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the R. H. Gapper Charitable Trust for this prize.