Emma Wilson

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Emma Wilson
Born1967 (age 51–52)
EducationSurbiton High School, Cambridge University
OccupationAcademic and Writer

Emma Wilson (born 1967) is a British academic and writer, specialising in French literature and cinema. She is Professor of French Literature and the Visual Arts at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Corpus Christi College.[1]

Life and education[edit]

Emma Wilson is the daughter of novelist Jacqueline Wilson and her former husband, William Millar Wilson, a police officer.[2] She was a scholarship student at Surbiton High School[3] and then studied French and Latin as an undergraduate at Cambridge. She then stayed on to do a PhD in the French department. Her thesis was entitled The pain of the pleasure of the text: Tournier, reading and sexuality.[4] Wilson then got a post as a university lecturer in Cambridge.


As a researcher, Wilson is author of six books and over twenty articles published in scholarly journals in the field of modern languages and film. Her published work includes book studies of Alain Resnais and Krzysztof Kieslowski as well as specific work on writers such as Marcel Proust, Marguerite Duras, Hélène Cixous and Michel Tournier. As well as her contribution to these author fields, however, Wilson's writing has applications to critical theory. In her 1996 work, Sexuality and the Reading Encounter, Wilson makes a contribution to reader response theory in relation to feminism and queer theory. She argues for the potential for change in the reader's identity through reading. The encounter between reader and text, she says, depends "not on pre-constructed identities, but on the very performance of identity in the process of reading."[5] Wilson is particularly interested in the way that readers position themselves in relation to representations of desiring relations.[6]

Wilson's 2003 study of the cinematic treatment of missing children, Cinema’s Missing Children, was described as "a book rich in academic and cultural backstory".[7]

Contribution to the dissemination of French culture[edit]

On 6 May 2009, Wilson was awarded an Ordre des Palmes Académiques Chevalier (knight) medal by the UK French Ambassador. This prestigious award is awarded by the French government to academics and educators. It recognises Wilson's sustained contribution to the dissemination of French culture and to education.[8] As well as her active contribution to the teaching and research of her department, Wilson has set up a number of links between Cambridge University and French institutions such as the École Normale Supérieure-Lettres et Sciences humaines in Lyon with which Cambridge now has a very successful ERASMUS programme.

Published work[edit]

  • Love, Mortality, and the Moving Image (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) ISBN 978-0230308398
  • Atom Egoyan (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2009) ISBN 978-0-252-07620-6
  • Alain Resnais (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006) ISBN 978-0-7190-6406-7
  • Cinema's Missing Children (Wallflower, 2003)
  • Memory and Survival: The French Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski (Oxford: Legenda, 2000)
  • French Cinema since 1950: Personal Histories (Duckworth, 1999) ISBN 0-7156-2849-6
  • Sexuality and the Reading Encounter: Identity and Desire in Proust, Duras, Cixous and Tournier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) ISBN 0-19-815885-8
  • (editor) Sexuality and Masquerade: The Dedalus Book of Sexual Ambiguity (Dedalus, 1996)


  1. ^ "Staff profile – Professor Emma Wilson". Mml.cam.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 21 July 2006. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  2. ^ Claire Armitstead (14 February 2004). "Profile: Jacqueline Wilson". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
  3. ^ "A girls own story". The Times. London. 18 February 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Sexuality and the Reading Encounter: Identity and Desire in Proust, Duras, Cixous and Toumier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 28.
  6. ^ Adrian Stokes, 'Theories of Reading and Reception' in Kate McGowan (ed.) The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory 96 (Blackwell Publishing, 1999) p. 105.
  7. ^ [2] Archived 9 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Latest news | University of Cambridge". Admin.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 19 February 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kate Ince, Review of Sexuality and the Reading Encounter: Identity and Desire in Proust, Duras, Tournier and Cixous, The Modern Language Review Vol. 92, No. 3 (July 1997), pp. 741–742.
  • Michael Worton, Review of Sexuality and the Reading Encounter: Identity and Desire in Proust, Duras, Cixous and Toumier, French Studies 52, 1998; pp. 222–223.
  • Martha Noel Evans, Review of Sexuality and the Reading Encounter, Modern Philology 96 no.2 (1998), p. 284.
  • Review of Cinema's Missing Children by James Oliphant for PopMatters.
  • Review of Cinema's Missing Children by Antonio Pasolini for Kamera.co.uk.
  • 'Kinds of Blue': Review of Cinema's Missing Children by Richard Armstrong for Audience Magazine, 2005.
  • Phil Powrie 'Review: Memory and Survival: The French Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski', French Studies 56, Apr 2002; pp. 288–289.
  • Phil Powrie, 'Review of French Cinema Since 1950: Personal Histories', French Studies 54, 2000 pp. 550–551.

External links[edit]