Fellow and Tutor for Graduates

Valerie Worth

MA DPhil Oxon
  • As Tutor for Graduates, I am responsible for academic oversight of the postgraduates and postdoctoral associates at Trinity College.

  • I am also Professor of French in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, with specialisations in early modern French and translation.

  • One area of my research involves the Knowledge Exchange project ‘Birth Through History’.

  • I studied at Oxford for my BA and my DPhil, and then held a number of academic posts in other universities in France and the UK before coming to Trinity as Senior Tutor in 2009. Since 2021 I am Tutor for Graduates.

Valerie Worth

Tutor for Graduates

As Tutor for Graduates, I  enjoy working with colleagues and graduate students from across the whole range of arts, social sciences and sciences. We have about 40 Masters students and 100 DPhil students at any time, and our MCR is a thriving community, which also welcomes as associate members postdocs working in the research groups of our Fellows. 

Teaching and Research

After obtaining my BA and DPhil in Modern Languages at Oxford, I took up my first academic post at the Université de Haute-Bretagne (Rennes), followed by the Kathleen Bourne Junior Research Fellowship (St Anne’s College, Oxford) and a three-year Lecturership in French at Trinity College. I went on to hold the posts of Senior Lecturer in French at King’s College London, Professor of French at Oxford Brookes, and Professor of French and Head of the Department of Modern Languages at Exeter University. I have enjoyed teaching extensively at undergraduate and graduate levels, and undertaking research, including holding major national and international research grants. I have also held senior management roles in arts and humanities departments at a time of rapid changes in Higher Education.

My main areas of research include: humanism and translation in Renaissance France; medicine in Early Modern Europe; Renaissance French poetry; seventeenth-century French theatre; and the contemporary French language. I am currently working on vernacular medical writings in early modern France, and recently completed a project on ‘Birthing Tales in French medical works 1500-1650’. My most recent book is a translation into English of Agrippa d’Aubigné’s epic poem, Les Tragiques (1616). It records the Huguenots’ perspective on the French Wars of Religion, movingly combining depictions of a devastated country, vivid tableaux of the worst atrocities of the Wars, and satirical attacks on leading political and religious figures. I undertook the translation to encourage dialogue between scholars and students of early modern political, social and religious history and of comparative literatures, as well as all readers looking to understand how literature seeks to mediate the pain of partisan struggles. You can find out more about my research here.

Over my academic career, I have taught courses on Early Modern French and European literature and cultural history (especially Rabelais, Montaigne, and sixteenth-century poetry), and French language courses at all levels, including final-year courses in contemporary Advanced French Translation and Translation from Early Modern French. My French grammar books have been regularly used by students of Modern Languages. I enjoy working with graduate students at both Masters and doctoral level on areas related to my research interests.

A print from 1690 depicting a baby being guided out of the birth canal.
Justina Siegemundin, a German midwife with particular expertise in difficult deliveries, illustrates the safe birth of a breech baby in her manual of 1690.

Selected Publications

Agrippa d’Aubigné’s Les Tragiques, translated, annotated and with an introduction by Valerie Worth-Stylianou (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2020)

‘Birthing tales and collective memory in recent French fiction’, in Motherhood in Literature and Culture. Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Europe ed. G. Rye, V. Browne, A. Giorgio, E. Jeremiah, A. Lee Six (Abingdon-New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 58-69

‘Florio’s French journey: What the French edition of the Essais in 1611 owed to the English translation of 1603’, Montaigne Studies, 29-1/2 (2017), 131-143

‘Exchanges between medical and literary discourses in the French Renaissance: comparing the fascination with “des amas et pieces de chair informes” in Montaigne’s Essais and Joubert’s Erreurs populaires’, Australian Journal of French Studies, 52-3 (2015)

Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern France. Treatises by caring physicians and surgeons (1581-1625), in the series The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe (Iter Press, University of Toronto 2013)

La théâtralisation de la naissance du dauphin (1601) chez Louise Bourgeois, sage-femme de Marie de Médicis’, in Le “Théâtral” de la France d’Ancien Régime, ed. S. Chaouche (Paris, Honoré Champion, 2010)

Les Traités d’obstétrique en langue française au seuil de la modernité. Des “Divers travaulx” d’Euchaire Rosslin” (1536) à l’ “Apologie” de Louyse Bourgeois sage-femme” (1627) (Geneva, Droz, 2007)

Marie de Gournay, Oeuvres complètes, 2 vol., critical edition, jointly with J-C. Arnould, E. Berriot, C. Blum, A. Franchetti, M-C. Thomine (Paris, Champion, 2002)

French: a handbook of grammar, current usage and word power (London, Cassell, & New York, Macmillan, 1992; London and New York, Cassell, 1993; new edition 2000)

Confidential Strategies: the evolving role of the “confident” in French tragic drama (1635-1677), Travaux du grand siècle XII (Geneva, Droz, 1999)

Practising Translation in Renaissance France: the example of Etienne Dolet (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1988)

Modern Languages and Linguistics
Professor Worth

The office of Tutor for Graduates allows me to be closely involved with the academic progress of all our postgraduate students at Trinity.