R. Gapper undergraduate essay prize

A prize is awarded annually by the Society for French Studies for the best essay submitted by an undergraduate student at a university based in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. 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

To be eligible for submission the essay must be:

  • entirely the student’s own work and submitted in unrevised form
  • 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
  • written in the current academic year
  • between 2000 and 5000 words (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 two annual submissions per university
  • accompanied by a separate coversheet (which should be downloaded via the link on the right)
  • submitted on the understanding that no correspondence will be entered into by the Society regarding individual essays.

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 and Vice President, the Co-ordinator of the R. Gapper Undergraduate Essay Prize, the Co-ordinator of the R. Gapper Postgraduate Essay Prize and the Editor of the French Studies Bulletin.

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 undergraduate 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.

2020 Entries

Entries for 2020 are now closed.

Previous recipients

2019

Winner: Ellen Kemp

Project 'Compare and contrast the relationship between voice, space, and forms of intimacy in Chantal Akerman’s Sud (1999) and Corine Shawi’s E-muet (2013)'
Institution University of Bristol

2018

Winner: Kathleen Mitchell Fox

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

2017

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

2016

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

2015

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

2014

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

2013

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

2012

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

2011

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

2010

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

2009

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

(Cambridge): 

2008

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
Contact

Dr Oliver Davis

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

Entries for 2020 are now closed.