Francis, R(ichard) A.
FRANCIS, R(ichard) A.
PERSONAL: Male. Education: University of Oxford, B.Litt., M.A.; University of Nottingham, Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of French, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, England. Agent—c/o New York University Press, 838 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Author and educator. University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England, professor of eighteenth-century French literature.
(Editor) The Abbé Prévost: 1697-1763, University of Nottingham Press (Nottingham, England), 1990.
Abbé Prévost, Manon Lescaut (part of "Critical Guide to French Texts 100" series), Grant & Cutler (London, England), 1993.
The Abbé Prévost's First-Person Narrators, Voltaire Foundation (Oxford, England), 1993.
Romain Rolland, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1999.
(Editor, with J. Mainil) L'Abbé Prévost au tournant du siècle: Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Voltaire Foundation (Oxford, England), 2000.
Author of numerous academic articles for journals, including French Studies, Journal of European Studies, and Modern Language Review.
SIDELIGHTS: An expert in the field of the eighteenth-century novel, R. A. Francis has published or edited several books about prolific French novelist the Abbé Prévost. According to the University of Nottingham Web site, Francis is especially interested in the use of first-person narration, which has led him to study the theme of identity in eighteenth-century thought and literature. He is also involved with the field of early twentieth-century literature, and is the author of a biography of Romain Rolland, a French novelist, dramatist, essayist, mystic, and pacifist.
As editor of The Abbé Prévost: 1697-1763, Francis brings together a wide variety of essays on the eighteenth-century novelist who was known for such novels as Memoires and Manon Lescault. The collection also includes articles on the author's nonfiction works and bio-bibliographical articles focusing on the culture in which Prévost worked. Ronald C. Rosbottom, writing in the Modern Language Review, noted, "This is a good collection: informative, imaginative, and a significant source of new information on Prévost, one of France's most influential and important writers."
In his 1999 biography Romain Rolland, Francis provides a look at the life of Rolland, who lived from 1866 to 1944. The biography includes a critical review of his work. An acute observer of what was known as the French Third Republic, Rolland wrote widely in such areas as history, music, biography, politics, religion, and the East. He also wrote plays about the French Revolution and biographies of the classical music composers Beethoven and Handel. He was opposed to World War I and became enamored with the newly formed Soviet Union, although he recognized the pitfalls of Russia's leaders.
"Francis's aim is to trace the interrelationship between [Rolland's] works," noted Peter Fawcett in a review of Romain Rolland in the Times Literary Supplement. Fawcett went on to state that it is "not a definitive biography," for such a work will have to wait until more of Rolland's personal papers become available to the public. Fawcett also commented, "Francis is careful not to impose neat intellectual patterns where they are inappropriate, but he does bring out the underlying unity of Roland's thought." François Jaques wrote in the Journal of European Studies that the book "is a timely and welcome addition to criticism on R. Rolland at a time when interest appears to have focused away from him." Jaques also found Francis's analysis of Rolland's fascination with Russia to be particularly interesting. Francis delves into Rolland's perception of Russia's communistic government and philosophy as a healthy system compared to the growing decadence of Europe and the United States. Calling the book a "significant contribution to Rolland studies," Jaques concluded, "This is a balanced study, characterized by clarity and accessibility."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Journal of European Studies, December, 1999, François Jaques, review of Romain Rolland, p. 448.
Modern Language Review, January, 1994, Ronald C. Rosbottom, review of The Abbé Prévost: 1697-1763, pp. 215-216.
Times Literary Supplement (London, England), October 29, 1999, Peter Fawcett, review of Romain Rolland.
University of Nottingham Web site, http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ (May 8, 2003).*