St John's College Oxford
Dr Jenny Oliver

Dr Jenny Oliver

Supernumerary Teaching Fellow in French


I teach all early modern (c. 1500-1800) texts on the first-year course, and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century FHS papers (Papers VII and X). I also teach translation from French into English to all years, and have taught early modern translation and lectured on a range of sixteenth-century texts.

Before taking up the Supernumerary Teaching Fellowship at St John’s, I studied at the College for my undergraduate degree (on the French Sole course), followed by a Masters and doctorate on early modern French topics (the latter thanks to the Elizabeth Fallaize Scholarship). 

I have given classes and introductory talks on French grammar, Renaissance love poetry, and cinema for a range of access and outreach schemes at Oxford and beyond, including the UNIQ summer school.

Research Interests

My research is centred on sixteenth-century French literature, culture, and thought. My forthcoming book, The Direful Spectacle: Shipwreck in French Renaissance Writing, which is based on my doctoral thesis, examines the theme of shipwreck in the French Renaissance, reading fictional and allegorical shipwrecks alongside the eyewitness accounts of travel writers in order to explore the relationship between the material and the metaphorical.

My new research project is concerned with how French writers of the sixteenth century (including Rabelais, Ronsard, Montaigne, and Agrippa d’Aubigné) contemplated the connections and tensions between poetics, technology, and the natural environment. A first article on the subject, 'Rabelais’s Engins: War Machines, Analogy, and the Anxiety of Invention in the Quart Livre’, was published in Early Modern French Studies (December 2016).

Jennifer Oliver