Dr. Isabelle Moreau

Dr Isabelle Moreau

Reader in Early Modern Studies



My scholarly work is centred on relations between literary and philosophical discourses in early modern Europe, particularly seventeenth-century France. It focuses on two central issues: the interplay between narrative fictions and philosophical discourse; and the circulation of ideas and their textual transformations. My first book was on the philosophical and rhetorical coherence of libertine discourse. I am now interested in modalities of knowledge acquisition and my second monograph will be centred on ‘paresse’ (laziness) in Montaigne and Bayle. Another domain – the reception of travellers’ accounts – is especially significant for the period I am studying. I am thus planning to investigate the interplay between philosophy and its exotic representations – where we shall discover Confucius as the new Socrates and avatars of Spinoza all over Asia.

Key Publications 

Moreau, I. M. M. (2013). Figures exotiques du déisme de Mersenne à Bernier. La Lettre clandestine, 21, 99-114.

Moreau, I. M. M. (2013). François Bernier: philosophers’ fictions / traveller’s visions. In E. Gilby, P. White (Eds.), Method and Variation: Narrative in Early Modern French Thought (pp. 89-101). UK: Legenda.

Moreau, I. (2010). Voyage et dépaysement : Les récits de voyage à l’épreuve du libertinage. Cahiers du dix-septième: An Interdisciplinary Journal, XIII (1), 32-51

Teaching Interests

FREN4118: Oriental Encounters

MA Comparative Literature: CLITG003 Colonialism Exoticism Religion

Areas of PhD research supervision

– Travel narratives and Post-colonial theories.

– ‘Geographical imagination’: Early Modern Travel narratives and their social diffusion.

– Early Modern Cultural History and History of Ideas, with a special interest in Libertinism, Free-thinking, Clandestine Writing and Radical Enlightenment.

– The Mind-Body Problem in Early Modern Europe: Materialism in thought, literature, medicine and the emerging sciences, 1600-1800.