Jerome Brillaud

Jerome Brillaud


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Personal profile



I was educated in France and in the USA. After passing the Agrégation, I left France to do a PhD in French Studies at Harvard University. My first academic job as Assistant Professor of French was at Indiana University where I taught until 2009 before moving to Vanderbilt University. In 2012, I joined the department of French Studies at The University of Manchester. 

I have received teaching awards: The Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching and The Board of Trustees Teaching Award at Indiana University. In 2013, I was nominated as Best Lecturer in the Humanities at Manchester.

From September 2014 till September 2017, I was Head of the Graduate School in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures as well as Director of Research Training in the Arts. I was also in charge of Teaching Assistant training and HEA associate fellowship accreditations. For these roles, I have received a Rewarding Exceptional Performance Award in 2016. I have occupied other administrative roles at my previous institutions. 

I am also a certified permaculturist and an avid pomologist. 

Research interests

My current research focuses on early modern productive gardens in France and England. For this project, I have been awarded a Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. I am particularly interested in horticultural exchanges across the Channel and the organisation of space in fruit and vegetable gardens before the 1750's. Two books will come out of this research:

Dynamic Spaces in French Fruit and Vegetable Gardens (c.1650-c.1750) is under contract with a UP, and the second book, which is under contract with another UP, is entitled Cultivating Knowledge: Translation and Fruticulture in Early Modern France and England (1650-1720).

My first book, Sombres Lumières: essai sur le retour à l’antique et la tragédie grecque au dix-huitième siècle, was published in 2011.

I have done research on the history and philosophy of simple living. My book A Philosophy of Simple Living charts the ideas, motivations and practices of simplicity from antiquity to the present day. A German translation was published in 2020 and a Romanian translation recently came out with Humanitas as Filozofia unei vieți simple. The book was also translated in Turkish as Basit Yaşama Felsefesi. A Korean edition will be released later.


I recently co-edited a volume on the idea of encounter which was published by Bloomsbury in April 2021: Encounters in the Arts, Literature, and Philosophy: Chance and Choice.

Encounters in the Arts, Literature, and Philosophy cover

I co-edited a special issue of Cahiers du dix-septième on the concept of life in the seventeenth century. This volume came out in 2014. All the articles and the introduction are available in Open Access.

I have published articles on garden history, early modern theatre, tragedy, theatre architecture and philosophy. My article on Rousseau and simplicity is available here: "Émile et la simplicité". I have recently published two other articles on Rousseau: one on the idea of home and nature in the Reveries and another on vegetable gardening in Emile (read it here)

I have been invited to present my work at Harvard University, The Radcliffe Institute, Oxford University, Ohio State University, The University of Illinois, The University of Southern California and the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio.

In January 2014, I gave the Haydn Mason Plenary Lecture at the annual conference of the British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies. 


Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome enquiries from students interested in any aspect of early modern gardening, French theatre and philosophy (1600-1800).

Past PhD Students:

Amélie Mons, on contemporary French theatre. Main supervisor

Lucy Neat, on animal studies and ethics of care. Main supervisor

Kate Goodson-Walker, on love in court ballets. Main supervisor 

Fabienne Cheung, on Pérec, Bénabou and Leiris. Co-supervisor

Oscar Seip, on Camillo and 16th century theatre. Co-supervisor

Thomas Froh:Towards a Theory of Libertine Temporarily. Co-supervisor

April Stevens: Staging the Americas in 18th century France and its Colonies. (2014, Vanderbilt University) Co-supervisor

Lisa Olivia Grenvicz: Redefining the 'Supplement' in 18th century French Travel Literature: 1750-1789. (2012, Vanderbilt University) Main supervisor

Christopher Semk: Performing Martyrdom: The Poetics of Suffering on the French Stage 1600-1663. (2010, Indiana University) Co-supervisor

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures
  • John Rylands Research Institute and Library
  • Creative Manchester


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