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R. Gapper book prize

Each year, the Society awards the prestigious R. Gapper book prize for a book in the field of French studies, published for the first time in the previous calendar year, by a scholar based in an institution of higher education in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The award commends books of critical and scholarly distinction which have a clear impact on the wider critical debate. It includes a cash prize of £2000, and expenses-paid travel to the next annual conference of the Society for French Studies. In addition, the award is publicized in French Studies, in the French Studies Bulletin, and on the Society’s website.

The award is usually made in February of each year and is presented to the winner at the annual conference of the Society for French Studies. The winner is selected by the Gapper Book Prize Jury, appointed by the SFS Executive and chaired by one of their number. Their decision is then proposed to the SFS Executive and to the R. H. Gapper Charitable Trust, who jointly award the prize. The criteria for award of the prize are, broadly, the book’s critical and scholarly distinction and its likely impact on wider critical debate. In assessing these, the following qualities will be taken into account:

  • Scope and range
  • Intellectual ambition
  • Originality
  • Coherence and persuasiveness
  • Depth of scholarship
  • Eloquence

2019 Entries

Entries for 2019 are now closed.

Submissions are now welcome for the R. Gapper Book Prize for the best book published in French Studies in 2018. Submissions should be sent to the Chair of the Jury, Professor Margaret Topping by 31 August 2019, at the following address:

Prof. Margaret Topping, The Graduate School, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, N. Ireland, UK BT7 1NN

Previous recipients


The Society is delighted to announce that the R. Gapper Book Prize for the best book in French Studies published in 2017 has been awarded to Professor Julian Swann of Birkbeck College, University of London, for his monograph:

Exile, Imprisonment or Death: The Politics of Disgrace in Bourbon France, 1610-1789 (Oxford University Press)

Details of the book can be found at: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/exile-imprisonment-or-death-9780198788690?cc=gb&lang=en&

We also offer our warmest congratulations to the authors of the other shortlisted books:

Conan Fischer, A Vision of Europe: Franco-German Relations during the Great Depression, 1929-1932 (OUP)

Tom Hamilton, Pierre de L'Estoile and his World in the Wars of Religion (OUP)

Shirley Jordan, Marie Ndiaye: Inhospitable Fictions (Legenda)

Winner: Julian Swann

Project Exile, Imprisonment or Death: The Politics of Disgrace in Bourbon France, 1610-1789
Institution Birkbeck College, University of London
Publication Oxford University Press


Winner: Roger Pearson

Project Unacknowledged Legislators: The Poet as Lawgiver in Post-Revolutionary France
Institution The Queen's College, Oxford
Publication Oxford University Press, 2016

Runner up: Helen Swift

Project Representing the Dead: Epitaph Fictions in Late-Medieval France
Institution St Hilda's College, Oxford
Publication Boydell & Brewer, 2016


Winner: Neil Kenny

Project Death and Tenses: Posthumous Presence in Early Modern France
Institution University of Oxford
Publication Oxford: OUP, 2015

Winner: Patrick McGuinness

Project Poetry and Radical Politics in fin de siècle France: From Anarchism to Action Française
Institution University of Oxford
Publication Oxford: OUP, 2015


Winner: Robert Mills

Project Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages
Institution UCL
Publication University of Chicago Press, 2015

Runner up: ​Mairéad Hanrahan

Project Cixous’s Semi-Fictions
Institution UCL
Publication Edinburgh University Press, 2015

Runner up: Joseph Harris

Project Inventing the Spectator
Institution Royal Holloway
Publication Oxford University Press, 2015

Runner up: Ann Jefferson

Project Genius in France: an Idea and its Uses
Institution University of Oxford
Publication Princeton University Press, 2015


Winner: Christopher Prendergast

Project Mirages and Mad Beliefs: Proust the Skeptic
Publication Princeton University Press, 2014


Winner: Siân Reynolds

Project Marriage and Revolution: Monsieur & Madame Roland
Publication Oxford University Press, 2013


Winner: Michael Moriarty

Project Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French Thought
Publication Oxford University Press, 2012


Winner: Judith Still

Project Derrida and Hospitality: Theory and Practice
Publication Edinburgh University Press, 2011


Winner: Ardis Butterfield

Project The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and Nation in the Hundred Years War
Publication Oxford University Press, 2010


Winner: Alain Viala

Project La France galante
Publication Presses universitaires de France, 2009


Winner: ​Mark Greengrass

Project Governing Passions. Peace and Reform in the French Kingdom, 1576-1585

: (Oxford University Press).

Publication Oxford University Press, 2008

Winner: Christopher Prendergast

Project The Classic. Sainte-Beuve and the Nineteenth-Century Culture Wars
Publication Oxford University Press, 2008


Winner: Eric Robertson

Project Arp: Painter, Poet, Sculptor
Publication Yale University Press, 2007


Winner: Maria C. Scott

Project Baudelaire’s ‘Le Spleen de Paris’ : Shifting Perspectives
Publication Ashgate, 2006


Winner: Roger Pearson

Project Mallarmé and Circumstance: The Translation of Silence
Publication Oxford University Press, 2005


Winner: Sylvia Huot

Project Madness in Medieval French Literature: Identities Lost and Found
Publication Oxford University Press, 2004

Professor Margaret Topping

Dean of the Graduate School,
Queen’s University Belfast,
Belfast BT7 1NN,
Northern Ireland

Entries for 2019 are now closed.