Dr Jonathan Patterson

BA (Hons), MPhil, PhD (Cantab)


Jonathan Patterson studied modern and medieval languages at Cambridge, and was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at St Hugh's College, Oxford, before joining St Hilda's as Career Development Fellow in French.


Jonathan is a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. At St Hilda's he teaches French literature (sixteenth to twentieth centuries) and translation classes. He also lectures in the French Sub-faculty and contributes to graduate courses on literature and philosophy.


I am an early modernist, and the main focus of my research is on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. My research explores how literature intersects with social and economic history, morality and law. My first book, Representing Avarice in Late Renaissance France (OUP, 2015), considers how talk of greed slowly evolved from past traditions to inform wider debates on gender, enrichment and status in the French early modern period. My second book is in preparation, and is entitled Villainy in France, 1463-1610: A Transcultural Study of Law and Literature (OUP, 2020). Informed by legal anthropology and using the tools of literary criticism, this is a book about the outward manifestation of inner malice in France, from the time of François Villon to the age of Pierre de l’Estoile. The book traces how certain villainies (and villains) flooded a cultural field of legal and literary writings. Over time, the notion of what constituted a villainous offence overflowed its historical parameters of 'foul causes' (‘vilains cas’), to encompass heinous crimes (‘crimes énormes’) for which no ordinary reparation could be made. Villainy in France explores this process of cultural overflow: a process that left an unsettling testament to French history and culture, as perceived within and beyond French borders.



Selected Publications



Villainy in France, 1463–1610: A Transcultural Study of Literature and Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2020)

Representing Avarice in Late Renaissance France (Oxford: OUP, 2015), 325 pp.

Journal articles:

‘Greatness Going Off in Renaissance Antony and Cleopatra Tragedies’, forthcoming in the Proceedings of the British Academy, special issue : The Relation of Literature and Learning to Social Hierarchy in Early Modern Europe, ed. by Neil Kenny 

‘Les fous, les idiots, et les gens de basse condition chez Guillaume Bouchet, lecteur de Huarte’, Bibliothèque d’humanisme et Renaissance, 80:2 (2018), 249-64

Obscenity and Censorship in the Reign of Henri III', Renaissance Quarterly 70, no.4 (Winter 2017), 1321-1365

'Variations of Vileness: An Introduction', Early Modern French Studies, 39:2 (2017), 1-9

‘“Diables incarnez, Machiavelistes, Heretiques”: The Villains of Pierre Matthieu’s La Guisiade Reconsidered’, French Studies 70, (2016), 1-16

‘“Viles personnes”: The Plebeian Multitudes in Charles Loyseau’s 'Traité des ordres’, The Seventeenth Century, 31:1 (2016), 71-94 (2016)

‘Rabelais’s Uncommon Villains: A Reinterpretation of Quart Livre 45-7’, Etudes Rabelaisiennes, 54 (2015), 97-113

‘Life Writing in the Early Modern Period: The Case of Guillaume Colletet’s Vie de François Villon’, French Studies Bulletin, 36:134 (2015), 4-7

‘Unresolved Debates on Usury and Greed in Late Renaissance France: Guillaume Bouchet and Others’, Renaissance Studies, 28 (2014), 659-75

‘Avarice in the Moral Landscape of Olivier de Serres’s Theatre d’agriculture et mesnage des champs (1600)’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 49 (2013), 244-56

‘Marie de Gournay, Poetry and Gender: In Search of “La vraye douceur”’, Seventeenth-Century French Studies, 32 (2010), 206-20

Book chapters:

‘Rabelais et son art textuaire: une lecture du Prologue du Quart Livre (1552)’, in the forthcoming Actes du colloque “Inextinguible Rabelais” (12-15 novembre, 2014) (Paris: Classiques Garnier, forthcoming 2020)

‘Jean Brinon and His Cenacle: an Enduring Sodalitas?’, in Ingrid de Smet and Paul White (eds), Sodalitas Litteratorum: le compagnonnage littéraire néo-latin et français à la Renaissance. Etudes à la mémoire de Philip Ford (Geneva: Droz, 2019), 85-100


English translation of Isabelle Moreau, ‘François Bernier: Philosophers’ Fictions / Traveller’s Visions’, in Method and Variation: Narrative in Early Modern French Thought, ed. Emma Gilby and Paul White (London: Legenda, 2013), pp. 89-101

Educational Resources:

The Sheep-biter, The Villain, The Politique, and the Piglet’. Blogpost, The Oxford Centre for Research in the Humanities.

Joachim Du Bellay, Défense et illustration de la langue française’, in The Literary Encyclopedia (2015), vol French Writing and Culture in the Renaissance, 1500–1500, ed. Tim Unwin, Phillip John Usher, and David Williams.

Co-authored with Jonathan Rogers, Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola: Surgical Method in Psychiatry’, British Journal of Psychiatry, Jul. 2015, 207 (1) 36.Online. 

DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.157982.