Edinburgh Research Explorer

Susan Bainbrigge

Senior Lecturer

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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Postgraduate applications on 20th century and contemporary French and francophone writing and thought (particularly life writings; France and Belgium; women’s writing; psychoanalysis) would be welcome.

Recently supervised PhD topics:
‘Imported Gender Images in France: Translated Anglo-American Modern Women's Discourse’ 'Imagining Brussels: Memory, Mobility, and Space in Francophone Diasporic Writing'

Biography

A graduate of the University of St Andrews (MA Hons), and of the University of Exeter (PhD), Susie joined French and Francophone Studies at Edinburgh in 1999.

Susie works part-time at the University and has a private practice as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. She trained with the Scottish Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists and is registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council.

Research Interests

  • 20th and 21st century French and Francophone Fiction
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Autobiography Studies
  • Francophone Belgian Literature and Culture
  • Psychoanalysis and/in Literature
  • Representations of the Therapeutic Encounter/Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma in Literature

Research activity

Dr Susie Bainbrigge began her research career by working on Simone de Beauvoir, in particular her autobiographies, on which she published a book (Writing Against Death: the Autobiographies of Simone de Beauvoir) and a number of articles. Scrutiny of the autobiographical enterprise extended this research to encompass comparative readings of Simone de Beauvoir with Suzanne Lilar, Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge Doubrovsky and an edited Special Issue on ‘Autothanatographies’ (FMLS). Later work on autobiography extended the research to Belgian authors Lydia Flem, Nicole Malinconi, Jean Muno and Amélie Nothomb, amongst others.

Francophone writers and writing – francophone Belgian writers in particular – were the focus of subsequent research. She published, with Jeanette den Toonder, an edited volume of essays on Amélie Nothomb (Amélie Nothomb: Authorship, Identity and Narrative Practice); with Joy Charnley and Caroline Verdier, Francographies: Identité et altérité dans les espaces francophones européens; an edited volume on Belgian author and psychoanalyst Jacqueline Harpman (L'Aventure littéraire), and edited a Special Issue of the Australian Journal for French Studies, entitled 'Crises belges'. Further research on cultural and literary identity in francophone Belgian literature resulted in publication of the book Culture and Identity in Belgian Francophone Writing: Dialogue, Diversity and Displacement

Susie’s teaching and research is underpinned by a curiosity about how, why, at what point, in what capacity, we tell stories about what makes us human. Research to date has explored how writers have grappled with existential questions about being, reality, development (and destruction), truth, fantasy, and mortality. The focus has been on narratives of the self, and especially writers who have engaged with questions of gender, identity, alterity and the dynamic relationship between internal and external worlds (whether Simone de Beauvoir, or Belgian francophone writers and psychoanalysts Jacqueline Harpman and Lydia Flem).

More recent research focuses on the depiction of transgenerational trauma in modern and contemporary writings in French on the Second World War (by the likes of Agnès Desarthe, Lydia Flem, Philippe Grimbert, Nancy Huston, Lydie Salvayre); and representations of therapeutic encounters and talking therapies as they appear in modern and contemporary writings (the focus of a current book in preparation, and related projects).

Current research increasingly draws upon readings in psychoanalytic theories and practice, and has informed the development of a new DELC course on ‘The Coming of Age Narrative’ whilst also refreshing thinking and approaches to existing 1st and 4th year undergraduate teaching, and the MSc Option ‘Fantastic Fiction’.

Susie works part-time at the University and has a private practice as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. She trained with the Scottish Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists and is registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council.

Teaching

  • Simone de Beauvoir: Intellectual of the 20th Century (Final-Year Option)
  • Écriture féminine and Feminist Theory (Final-Year Option)
  • Exploring Belgian Identities in Literature and Film (Final-Year Option)
  • Fantastic Fiction (MSc; General and Comparative Literature)
  • The Coming of Age Narrative (DELC 2nd year Option)

Research outputs

  1. Introduction

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  2. Therapeutic encounters in Francophone Belgian writings: On chaos and creativity

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

View all (24) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Visit to Lasswade Secondary School

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Schools engagement

  2. Résilience et Modernité dans les Littératures francophones, Bruxelles, novembre 2018.

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  3. Lublin Studies in Modern Languages and Literature (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

View all (27) »

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