R. Gapper postgraduate essay prize

A prize is awarded annually by the Society for French Studies for the best essay submitted by a postgraduate student at a university based in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. The award includes:

  • a cash prize of £750
  • expenses-paid travel to the next annual conference of the Society for French Studies
  • mention in the French Studies Bulletin and on the Society for French Studies website
Le Portrait parle. Source: Library of Congress
Le Portrait parle. Source: Library of Congress

2022 Entries

Entries for 2022 are now closed.

Conditions of entry

Conditions of entry

To be eligible for submission the essay must be:

  • entirely the student’s own work and submitted in unrevised form
  • written since 1st September 2020 by a postgraduate student currently registered (or within one year of registration having terminated)
  • addressing a topic within the scope of the discipline of French studies
  • written in either English or French, with any quotations from French supplied in the original language
  • up to 6,000 words in length (including notes but excluding bibliography)
  • word-processed with numbered pages
  • submitted without the name of the student, or institution, appearing in the essay
  • submitted by the university, with the student’s agreement, as one of up to three annual submissions per university
  • accompanied by a separate coversheet
  • submitted on the understanding that no correspondence will be entered into by the Society regarding individual essays.

If a draft thesis chapter is entered, candidates are reminded to ensure that it can be read as a stand-alone essay.

How to enter

Institutions submitting to the prize should download the coversheet from this page, and submit each essay and coversheet as a separate file to Fionnuala Sinclair at Finn.Sinclair@ed.ac.uk. The deadline is 30th November 2022.

How the competition is judged

The competition is judged in two rounds. In the first round every essay is judged anonymously by two appropriately selected members of the Executive Committee of the Society for French Studies who are unaware of the submitting university but who are made aware of relevant contextual information supplied on the coversheet.

The five best essays from that first round then undergo a second round of judging by a panel normally comprising the Society’s President, the Co-ordinator of the R. Gapper Undergraduate Essay Prize, the Co-ordinator of the R. Gapper Postgraduate Essay Prize, the Editor of the French Studies Bulletin, and a member of the editorial team of French Studies.

To avoid conflicts of interest, in both rounds no essay is judged by someone from the same institution as the author of the essay. In the second round, this sometimes requires that one or more substitute judges be selected from the wider Executive Committee to assess all of the five essays.

The prize is awarded for an essay of outstanding merit at postgraduate level and which is also the best essay submitted in its year. The winning essay will be exceptionally distinguished work for that level: critically or theoretically sophisticated, intellectually adventurous, original in its approach and expressed in sophisticated and elegant English or French. It will also be worthy of publication without major revision.

Previous recipients


We are delighted to announce that the winner of this year's R. Gapper Postgraduate Essay Prize is Eleanor Lischka of Oxford University for her essay ' "Ma vision harmonieuse et transparente": sound and the power of language in Proust’s argument against obscurity'. Warmest congratulations to Eleanor!

Winner: Eleanor Lischka

Project "Ma vision harmonieuse et transparente": sound and the power of language in Proust’s argument against obscurity.


Winner: Anton Joseph Bruder

Project ‘Topoi of the Philological Imagination from the Renaissance to the Revolution: Claude Fauchet (1530-1602) and Charles de Pougens (1755-1833)’
Institution University of Cambridge

Runner up: Callista McLaughlin

Project ‘Rhyme and form impact upon meaning even in the most straightforward of troubadour lyrics; in more complex compositions meaning may dissolve under the proliferation of possibilities’
Institution King's College London


Winner: Helen Craske

Project 'Periodicals as Proxénètes: Erotic Complicity in Don Juan (1895-1900)’
Institution Merton College, University of Oxford


Winner: Madeleine Chalmers

Project ‘The Surreal Technics of André Breton and Gilbert Simondon'
Institution University of Oxford

Runner up: Rebecca Sugden

Project 'Sand and Rancière: Artisan Socialism and the Inadequacies of Idealism’
Institution University of Cambridge


Winner: Charlotte Thevenet

Project Réponse du 'Juif' à l'antisémite: Derrida, commentateur de Hegel et Genet'
Institution University College London

Runner up: Liam Lewis

Project Sight, Sound, and the 'Cri' of the Mandrake in the Bestiary by Philippe de Thaon
Institution University of Warwick

Runner up: Rebecca Sugden

Project Malicious Fictions and Secret Histories in Balzac's Une ténébreuse affaire
Institution University of Cambridge


Winner: ​Daisy Gudmunsen

Project ‘On the Representation of Jewishness in Denis Guénoun’s Un Sémite and Jacques Derrida’s Le Monolinguisme de l’autre’​
Institution King’s College London

Runner up: Vittoria Fallanca

Project ‘The Design of the Essais: Montaigne and the language of "dessein"'
Institution University of Oxford


Winner: Blake Gutt

Project ‘An Infestation of Signification: Narrative and Visual Parasitism on the Manuscript Page’​​
Institution King’s College, Cambridge


Winner: ​Matthew Siôn Lampitt

Project ‘On the Use of, and Responses to, Troubadour Lyric in the work of Julia Kristeva’
Institution King’s College London

Runner up: Gillian Ní Cheallaigh

Project ‘Bad Mothers, Mad Sisters and Queer Maternity in the work of Linda Lê’​​
Institution King’s College London

Runner up: Alexandra Tranca

Project ‘From Pompeii to Paris: Ghostly Cityscapes and the Ruins of Modernity in Théophile Gautier and Eugène Atget’​​
Institution University of Cambridge


Winner: ​Sarah Hickmott

Project ‘(En) Corps Sonore’
Institution University of Oxford

Runner up: ​Edmund Birch

Project ‘Maupassant’s Bel-Ami and the Secrets of Actualité’​
Institution University of Cambridge

Runner up: Emma Claussen

Project ‘“Pour cognoistre les Politiques”: A Study of the Term “Politique” in the Dialogue d’entre le Maheustre et le Manant and the Satyre Ménippée’​​
Institution University of Oxford


Winner: Albertine Fox

Project ‘Constructing Voices in Jean-Luc Godard’s Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1979)'
Institution Royal Holloway

Runner up: ​Emma Claussen

Project ‘Examine Critically Bakhtin’s Idea of Carnival Laughter, and Analyse its Deployment in the Work of Rabelais’​
Institution King’s College London

Runner up: Jessica Stoll

Project ‘Imagining Translation Through the Plastic Arts in the Prose Troy Tradition’​​
Institution King’s College London


Winner: Orlene Denice McMahon

Project ‘Musicalising Moving Photographs: An Analysis of Pierre Barbaud’s Film Score for Agnès Varda’s La Pointe Courte’
Institution University of Cambridge

Runner up: ​Eliana Maestri

Project ‘Orality, Performativity and the Body in Jamaica Kincaid’s Autobiographie de ma mère’​
Institution University of Bath

Runner up: ​Samuel Ferguson

Project ‘Gide’s Paludes: A Diary Novel?’​
Institution University of Oxford


Winner: ​Claire White

Project ‘Dominical Diversions: Jules Laforgue on Sundays'
Institution University of Cambridge

Runner up: ​Natalie Orr

Project ‘The Clerk and the Courtier: Two Different Responses to the Tristan Problem in Chrétien de Troyes’s Cligès and Lancelot'
Institution University of Reading

Runner up: Jessica Stoll

Project ‘Discuss the usefulness of the notion of hybridity for analysis of two Occitan texts.’​​
Institution King's College London


Winner: ​Tanya Raie Filer

Project ‘Skinner in Tandem: Against Methodological “Servitude Volontaire”'
Institution University of Oxford

Runner up: ​Cécile Bishop

Project ‘The Emperor’s Old Clothes: A Reading of Henri Lopes’s Le Pleurer-Rire.’​
Institution King's College London


Winner: ​Kathrin Yacavone

Project ‘Reading through Photography: Roland Barthes’s “Proust et la photographie”'
Institution University of Edinburgh

Runner up: ​Clemence O’Connor

Project ‘Translating Pure Visuality: Heather Dohollau’s Poems on Non-Figuration.’​
Institution University of St Andrews

Dr Finn Sinclair

Department of European Languages and Cultures
University of Edinburgh
50 George Square

Entries for 2022 are now closed.