Professor Margaret Atack

Professor Margaret Atack


I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in French at University College London. After temporary lectureships at UCL, Southampton and Cardiff, I was appointed at the University of Leeds from 1979 to temporary lectureships and then in 1981 to a permanent lectureship in French. In 1989 I moved to Sunderland Polytechnic where I took up the post of Head of the School of Humanities; in 1991 I was appointed Director of the School of Social and International Studies and Professor of French Studies.

I moved back to Leeds as Professor of French and Head of the Department of French in 1993. From 2002 I served as Research Dean, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research.  In 2009 I returned to research and teaching in the French Department, and won the Inspirational Teaching award in the University/LUU Partnership Awards in 2015.  I have been working part-time since 2016, concentrating on research, PGR and research-related activities. 

I was a member of the 2001 French RAE French panel, and chair of the 2008 RAE French panel. I have recently served on the Leverhulme Trust Advisory Panel and the Editorial Board of H-France.   I am currently a member of the H-France Reviewers Advisory Panel. 

From 2006-10 I was Principal Investigator on a major AHRC-funded research project: Narratives of the Second World War and Occupation in France: National Identity and Cultural Production, involving a team of seven colleagues in total.  Framing Narratives of the Second World War in France: New Readings, developed from our international conference held in Leeds in September 2009 and co-edited with Professor Christopher Lloyd of Durham, the Co-Investigator, was published in 2012.  


Research interests

French film and fiction of the Vichy years, postwar narratives of war and occupation in France, French women's writing, roman noir and film noir, French culture of the 1950s and 1960s, 20th century French thought, narrative and cultural theory.


Current Research

Current projects include: 

  • Narratives of the Second World War in France – co-authored with Christopher Lloyd
  • External consultant to the Greyzone project at Edinburgh University, directed by Dr Mihaela Mihai.  .


Research supervision

I have supervised or co-supervised MAs and PhDs on Katherine Mansfield, François Ozon, The First World War in Crime Fiction, The Early Films of Godard, Resnais and Marker, Oradour and 17 October 1961, The Essays of Simone de Beauvoir, Nature and Culture in the works of Simone de Beauvoir, Women Intellectuals 1968-1986, Second World War Crimes Trials in France, Phenomenology in the Works of Robbe-Grillet, Guilt and Shame in Fiction of the Second World War 1939 to the present, Memories of Colonialism in French and Algerian Literatures post-1962, Performing Gender and Memory in post-62 Francophone literature.

I welcome enquiries from potential applicants wishing to discuss a research project in the fields covered by the culture, fiction, film and thought of twentieth- and twenty-first century France.




  • Literature and the French Resistance: Cultural Politics and Narrative Forms 1940-1950, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1989.
  • Contemporary French Fiction by Women: Feminist Perspectives, edited by Margaret Atack and Phil Powrie, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1991.
  • May 68 in French Fiction and Film: Rethinking Representation, Rethinking Society, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Framing Narratives of the Second World War in France: New Readings, edited by Margaret Atack and Christopher Lloyd, Durham Modern Language Series, Manchester University Press, 2012.
  • Women, Genre and Circumstance: Essays in Memory of Elizabeth Fallaize, edited by Margaret Atack, Diana Holmes, Diana Knight, Judith Still, Legenda, 2012.
  • French Feminism 1975 and After: New Readings, New Texts, edited by Margaret Atack, Alison S. Fell, Diana Holmes and Imogen Long, Peter Lang, 2018.
  • Making Waves: French Feminisms and Their Legacies, edited by Margaret Atack,  Alison S. Fell, Diana Holmes and Imogen Long,  Liverpool University Press, 2019.
  • Jean-François Vilar: Theatres of Crime, Legenda, October 2020.

Edited special issues

  • Crime and Punishment: Narratives of Order and Disorder, French Cultural Studies, 12: 3, October 2001.
  • War and Occupation 1940-1944: Other Stories/Stories of Otherness, French Cultural Studies, 22:3, 2011. 

Chapters and articles since 2010

  • ‘Representing the Occupation in the Novel of the 1950s: Ne jugez pas’, Cincinnati Romance Review, vol 29, Fall 2010, pp. 76-88.  
  •  ‘Introduction’ to War and Occupation 1940-1944: Other Stories/Stories of Otherness, French Cultural Studies special issue, 22:3, 2011, pp. 83-5.
  • ‘Unnatural Bedfellows: Sexuality and Otherness in Representations of Germans’, French Cultural Studies special issue, 22:3, 2011, pp. 251-261.
  • ‘Streets and squares, quartiers and arrondissements: Jean-François Vilar and the poetics of contestation’, in Crime Fiction in The City: Capital Crimes, edited by Lucy Andrew and Catherine Phelps, University of Wales Press, 2012.
  •  ‘Romans inachevés de l’Histoire et de la mémoire: les FTP-MOI et l’Affiche rouge’, in Marc Dambre (ed.), Mémoires occupées: fictions françaises et seconde guerre mondiale, Presses Sorbonne nouvelle, 2013, pp. 175-182.
  • ‘Résistantialisme, résistancialisme, and the politics of memory of the Resistance’ in Peter Tame, Dominique Jeannerod and Manuel Bragança (eds.), Mnemosyne and Mars: Artistic and Cultural Representations of Twentieth-century Europe at War, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013, pp. 59-74.
  • 'From Meurtres pour mémoire to Missak: Literature and Historiography in Dialogue', French Cultural Studies, 25: 3-4, 2014, pp. 271-280.
  • Review Essay:  Gisèle Sapiro, The French Writers’ War 1940-1953, (trans V D Anderson and D Cohn), H-France Review¸ vol 15, May 2015, no 68, web.
  • 'Criticism and critique: a view from French Studies', H-France Forum on Scholarly Critique, vol 7, issue 20, 2015. web.
  • 'Littérature de guerre', in Jean-François Murracciole and Guillaume Piketty (eds.), Encyclopédie de la seconde guerre mondiale, Bouquins, 2015, pp. 733-9. 
  • Review Essay:  Andrea Goulet, Legacies of the rue Morgue, H-France Forum on Legacies of the rue Morgue, vol 11, no 5, 2016.web.
  • ‘Performing the Nation in the Mode Rétro’, Journal of War and Culture Studies, vol 9, no 7, November 2016, pp. 335-47.
  • ‘A Nation United?  The Impossible Memory of War and Occupation in France’, in Patrick Finney (ed.), Remembering the Second World War, Routledge, 2017, pp. 11-29
  • ‘Introduction: Epistemologies, Politics, Fictions’ and ‘Conclusion’, with Alison S. Fell, Diana Holmes and Imogen Long, in French Feminisms 1975 and After: New Readings, New Texts, Peter Lang, 2018, pp. 1-51, pp. 239-45.
  • ‘Body, Narration, History: The Occupation Novels of Valentine Goby’, in Atack, Fell, Holmes, Long (eds.), French Feminisms 1975 and After: New Readings, New Texts, pp. 215-37.
  • ‘In the Forests of the Night:  France, England and the Writing of War’, in Manu Bragança and Fransiska Louwagie (eds.), Ego-Histories of France and the Second World War, Palgrave, 2018, pp.107-25.
  • Review Essay:  Peter D. Tame, Isotopias: PlaceRevis and Spaces in French War Fiction of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, H-France Review, vol 18, April 2018, no 91.web.
  • Abjection, Derision and Power: Writing in the Voice of the Victim in Three French Post-War Texts, Law, Culture and the Humanities, on-line publication October 2019.


Research interests

French film and fiction of the Vichy years; postwar war/occupation narratives; French women's writing; roman/film noir; French culture of the 1950/60s; 20th century French thought and culture

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Research groups and institutes

  • French
  • Literary studies
  • Gender
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>