R. Gapper undergraduate essay prize

A prize will be awarded by the Society for French Studies for an essay in English or French, of between 2000 and 5000 words, on any subject within the scope of the French studies discipline.

The award will be for outstanding academic merit at undergraduate level, and the judges will be a subcommittee of the Trustees of the Society for French Studies.

The award includes:

  • a cash prize of £250
  • 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

Conditions of entry

The essay must have been written in the current academic year by an undergraduate student at an institution of higher education in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

It must be entered for the Prize in the original, unrevised state in which it was submitted to the candidate’s lecturer or tutor, and with an attestation from that lecturer or tutor affirming that the author is an undergraduate student at their institution, the essay’s originality, the date of its first submission, and details of the context and requirements of the essay submitted (i.e. tutorial paper, term assignment, coursework submitted in lieu of examination paper). It must be accompanied by the coversheet available on this page, and adhere to the presentation guidelines given on that sheet.

Submissions must be received from Heads of Department by midday on 29 June 2019. No more than three essays may be submitted by any Department in one academic year (this applies to collegiate and non-collegiate universities alike). Essays should discuss primary material drawn from the broad disciplinary area of French studies. The primary material should be quoted in the original French. The essay should be between 2000 and 5000 words in length, including footnotes/endnotes but excluding bibliography.

2019 Entries

Entries for 2019 are now closed.

Previous recipients


Winner: Kathleen Mitchell Fox

Project 'Talking Holes and Meaningless Sex: Exploring Gender and Signification in the Old French Fabliaux'
Institution University of Cambridge


Winner: ​Peter Tellouche

Project ‘The rich detail with which the experience of time is treated in individual sentences is hard to reconcile with the big-time temporality of Proust’s novel as a whole.’ Discuss.​
Institution University of Oxford


Winner: ​Eleanor Chapman

Project ‘"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.’​
Institution University of Cambridge

Winner: ​Jack Flowers

Project ‘"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 ».”'
Institution University of Oxford

Runner up: Imran Rahman-Jones

Project ‘Why was Michel Debré removed from office in April 1962 and why did de Gaulle choose George Pompidou as his replacement?’​​
Institution University of Nottingham

Runner up: ​Michael Sole

Project ‘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.’​
Institution University of Exeter

Runner up: Lucy Taylor

Project ‘Addressing the Mediation of Images and Their Implementation in the Construction of Truth in the Works of Rithy Panh'
Institution Durham University

Runner up: ​Sophie Wright

Project ‘How do French literary and cinematic representations of the Second World War represent survival?’
Institution Newcastle University


Winner: ​​Daniel Daly

Project ‘“La bête e(s)t le souverain.” Discuss with reference to the first session of Derrida’s La Bête et le souverain.'
Institution King’s College London

Runner up: Harry McCarthy

Project ‘Discuss how Proust’s syntax and imagery interact with the thematic preoccupations of the novel.’​​
Institution University of Exeter

Runner up: ​Rachel Hindmarsh

Project ‘The Machine-Man: An Exploration of Masculinity and Modernism in First World War France.’​
Institution University of Bristol


Winner: ​Rupinder Kaur

Project ‘Discuss the significance of joy with reference to two 17th century texts: Clélie and L’École des filles’.​
Institution University College London

Runner up: Cameron Quinn

Project ‘Rousseau ne s’est pas suffisamment rendu compte à quel point son style astucieux rendait sa lecture et sa compréhension difficiles’​​
Institution University of Oxford


Winner: Dulcie fforde

Project ‘“L’image n’a pas de sens propre” (Compagnon). Discuss the pertinence of the claim in relation to Renaissance poetic practice.’​​
Institution University of Oxford

Runner up: ​Hannah Stodart

Project ‘Define and discuss the “Sociolinguistic Gender Pattern”, using examples from French as far as possible.’​
Institution University of Leeds

Runner up: Rebecca Sugden

Project ‘“The apparent waywardness of Diderot’s thought simply serves to prove the complexity of the exterior world it mirrors.” Discuss with reference to Le Supplément au voyage de Bougainville and Le Neveu de Rameau.’​​
Institution University of Cambridge


Winner: Amy Cowan

Project ‘A la recherche du temps perdu has been described as an epistemological quest. Explain and exemplify what this might mean.’​​
Institution University of Oxford

Runner up: ​Charlotte Holt

Project ‘Analyse and discuss the representation of friendship in two or more of the seventeenth-century texts you have studied.’​
Institution UCL

Runner up: Matthew Phillips

Project ‘Despite the etymology of the term, the libertine is never free.’​​
Institution University of Cambridge


Winner: Martina Williams

Project ‘For John Locke, memory was a condition, sine qua non, for selfhood. To what extent is this idea prefigured, referenced, critiqued and/or parodied in Montaigne’s Essais, Du côté de chez Swann and Molloy?’​​
Institution University of Nottingham

Runner up: Joseph Revill

Project ‘To what extent was there opposition to Napoleon between the years 1799-1815?’​​
Institution University of Warwick

Runner up: ​Edmund Chambers

Project ‘In what sense, and to what extent, does Beckett’s work attest to “the death of the subject”?’​
Institution University of Nottingham


Winner: ​Claire Strickett

Project 'Femmes-démon or victims? Reconsidering the source of the malevolent in Maupassant’s Contes fantastiques.​'
Institution University of Glasgow

Runner up: Aimee Linekar

Project ‘”Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es” (Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Aphorisme IV). Examine the roles of food, drink and intoxication in Jean-Claude Izzo’s Chourmo in light of this quotation.’
Institution University of St Andrews


Winner: ​Joe Oakley

Project ‘"Evidence from the history of French provides a strong argument against the idea of typological consistency, thereby threatening the very foundations of linguistic typology.” Discuss.’​
Institution University of Cambridge

Runner up: Annie Tate-Harte

Project ‘Discuss Michel de Certeau’s view that “on n’habite que des lieux hantés”, with reference to [...]: Atget’s photography of Paris streets; Nadar’s photography of the souterrains of Paris; Chronique d’un été; Le Pont du Nord; La Reprise.’
Institution UCL

Runner up: Moya Samer

Project ‘”Before any feminist politicization, it is important to recognize the strong phallogocentric underpinning that conditions our cultural heritage.” Discuss with reference to Julia Kristeva.'
Institution University of Cambridge



Winner: ​Clodagh Kinsella

Project ‘In your view, what is the specific contribution of poetry and/or fiction to the representation of painful experiences?’​
Institution UCL

Runner up: ​Adam Strowger

Project ​​‘"Addressed throughout as vous, the reader is established as the repository of values antithetical to those espoused in the text”. Discuss the relationship between narrator and reader in the Journal du voleur in light of this.'
Institution Durham University

Runner up: Harald Stevenson

Project ‘Théodore de Bèze’s conception of the elegy.’​​
Institution University of Cambridge

Dr Oliver Davis

School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Humanities Building
University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

Entries for 2019 are now closed.