We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

School of Modern Languages & Cultures: Department of French

Staff in the Department of French

Go to the MLAC staff pages.

Professor Richard Maber, MA, DPhil (Oxon), FRHistS

Emeritus Professor / Chairman of the Centre for Seventeenth-Century Studies, in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43431
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 43421
Room number: 212, Elvet Riverside I

Contact Professor Richard Maber (email at


I read French and German at Wadham College, Oxford (1961-64), then after a brief spell as Junior Lecturer at Magdalen College (1965-66) I was offered a Lectureship in Durham in 1966 and have been here ever since, as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor.

My principal fields of research are: (a) 17th-century intellectual history, particularly the international scholarly interchanges of the République des Lettres: I am currently engaged in a major project on the extensive correspondence of the French scholar, poet, and man of letters Gilles Ménage (1613-1692); (b) more specifically French literature, especially poetry, drama, and prose fiction; and (c) interdisciplinary 17th-century studies. My principal publications in these fields are listed below, along with articles published since 2000.

I am the founder (1985), General Editor, and proprietor of the interdisciplinary journal The Seventeenth Century, now on Volume 27. The journal is currently published by Manchester University Press. See

I supervise postgraduate research on a very wide range of subject-areas within the 17th century. In the past ten years I have supervised eight PhD and two research MA students, on studies of French theatre and poetry, but also on topics as diverse as heraldic imagery in English poetry, women in Jacobean drama, Algernon Sidney’s political thought, English radical theology, ghost-beliefs in early-modern England, and the marketing of English portrait prints in the later 17th century.

As Director of the University’s interdisciplinary Centre for 17th-Century Studies 1989-2009, I supervised and directed the work of c.90 students on the interdisciplinary taught MA in 17c Studies; I have also organized and directed ten major international conferences in Durham Castle as well as all the other activities of the Centre: see Centre for Seventeenth-Century Studies [link below]

My other research interests include: i) the international diffusion of medieval travel literature: with my wife, Angela Tregoning, I have written a comparative study of the early Latin, Italian, French, German, and English versions of the voyage to China (c. 1316-1330) of Odoric of Pordenone; ii) the Diary of the Victorian curate Francis Kilvert (1840-1879), one of the most delightful and best-loved of all English diaries: I have published, also with Angela Tregoning, the first complete edition of one of only three surviving original notebooks, which is preserved in Durham University Library Special Collections; iii) Cornish language and literature, particularly of the Late Cornish period: I have published a study of the prosody and dating of a 17th-century englyn, and also a discovery of a 17th-century manuscript comparing versions of the Lord’s Prayer and Creed in Cornish, Welsh, and Breton.

Research Interests

  • 17th-century French literature and intellectual history
  • International learned correspondences in the 17th century
  • Interdisciplinary 17th-century studies
  • Medieval travel literature
  • Francis Kilvert's diary
  • Celtic languages and literatures (middle and late Cornish)

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2008: Committee Member: since 1985, of the Thomas Harriot Seminar (Oxford-Cambridge-Durham): early modern science and intellectual history.
  • 2008: General Editor of the journal The Seventeenth Century (MUP) since 1985:
  • 2007: Fellow of the Royal Historical Society:
  • 2007: Member of the Editorial Board of the North American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature (NASSCFL):
  • 2007: Visiting Professor at the University of Kansas, Lawrence:
  • 2006: Honorary Secretary of the Society for 17th-Century French Studies:
  • 1990: Founding Member: of the Conseil d'administration, and founding Vice-Président, Centre International de Rencontres sur le 17e Siècle. 2012: Director of the CIR 17 Colloque International, 'La France et l'Europe du nord au XVIIe siècle', Durham Castle

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

Essays in edited volumes

Journal papers: academic

Show all publications

Related Links

Selected Grants

  • 2008: Leverhulme Emeritus Research Fellowship
  • 2007: British Academy Overseas Conference Grant
  • 2005: AHRC Research Leave Award
  • 2005: British Academy Small Research Grant