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Professor Ingrid De Smet

Dr Ingrid De SmetProfessor of French and Neo-Latin Studies

Director, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance
Email: I dot de-Smet at warwick dot ac dot uk
Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


Ingrid De Smet is Professor of French and Neo-Latin Studies. She specializes in the intellectual culture of sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century France and the Low Countries (French; Neo-Latin; Republic of Letters). Her research activities have been supported, among others, by the British Academy, the AHRC, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the MHRA. She was the holder of a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2011–2014) and has recently been elected a Fellow of the British Academy (summer 2014).

Ingrid is closely involved with Warwick's interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, which she directed from 2007–2010. She returned to the Centre's Directorship in October 2014.

Find out more about Ingrid's research interests, teaching, areas of research supervision, administrative roles and publications.

Research interests

Ingrid De Smet's research mainly covers the period from ca. 1575 to about 1650; she takes a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, and is especially interested in the Latin writings of that time, as they often had a pan-European appeal. Her publications cover subjects of satire, the Classical tradition and humanism, and writers of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. For example, she has co-edited, with Philip Ford of Cambridge University, Eros et Priapus: érotisme et obscénité dans la littérature néo-latine (Geneva, 1997), whilst her book Menippean Satire in the Republic of Letters, 1581-1655 (Geneva, 1996) is considered seminal reading on the subject. Dr De Smet has also authored a monograph on the life and work of Jacques-Auguste de Thou (1553-1617), a French intellectual, magistrate and politician, who is especially known as the author of a bulky, Latin History of His Own Time, but who also left a large number of poems (many still in manuscript) on topics ranging from the erotic to the religious, over falconry and political lampoons. Other publications relating to this project also include «Montaigne et de Thou: une ancienne amitié mise au jour» and «Thuanus ille Philiater, ou Médecins, robins, et poètes aux temps des Guerres de Religion (le cas de Jacques-Auguste de Thou)». In March 2006 she was guest organiser of an international journée d'études on de Thou at the Centre V.-L. Saulnier, which led to the themed issue of the Cahiers Saulnier (vol. 24 [2007]), entitled Jacques-Auguste de Thou (1553-1617). Ecriture et condition robine.

Publications on other themes include investigations into the Counter Reformation preacher, poet and pamphleteer Adrien Du Hecquet; «Perspectives de l'oubli dans la poésie d'Agrippa d'Aubigné» (Revue des Sciences Humaines [1999]); and ‘Of Doctors, Dreamers and Soothsayers: Julius Caesar Scaliger and Auger Ferrier’ (Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance [2008]).

Recent research has seen Dr De Smet return to the notion of 'polemics'. Ingrid is also currently preparing a critical edition with French translation (the first modern translation ever) of Jacques-Auguste de Thou's Latin didactic poem on falconry (the Hieracosophion); the edition will include a substantive preliminary study of the socio-cultural significance of falconry in Renaissance France as well explanatory notes to the text. This edition of de Thou's major and multi-facetted poem will be of interest to students of historical hunting treatises and the history of veterinary medicine, to specialists of Neo-Latin literature and the Classical tradition, and to scholars working on the literature and politics of the French Wars of Religion. At the same time, she is working on a posthumous editorial project of a book manuscript by the late Ian McFarlane, on Neo-Latin Poetry in Renaissance France, in collaboration with the late Prof. Philip Ford (Cambridge), MHRA Research Associate Alexander Russell (Warwick), and Associate Fellow Dr Alexander Lee (Luxembourg).

In October 2011, thanks to the award of a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, Ingrid embarked on a new project centring on "Secrets and their Keepers in Renaissance France, ca. 1560-1620".

For a full list of publications, click here.

Ingrid is a member of the Editorial Board of Lias. Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and its Sources. She currently serves as First Vice-President (2013-2015) of the International Association for Neo-Latin Studies, and is Treasurer of the Society for Neo-Latin Studies (SNLS). Ingrid serves as Assistant Secretary on the board of the Fédération Internationale des Socitétés et Instituts pours l'Étude de la Renaissance (FISIER).


Ingrid De Smet teaches students throughout the course of the undergraduate degree programmes offered in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

In the final-year French language class (FR3011), she guides students through French essay and letter writing. On the literary and cultural side, most of Prof. De Smet's lectures and seminars concern the Early Modern Period, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.

First-year students explore plays by Molière and Racine with her, or may investigate such issues as gender relations and religious controversy in Rabelais, Mme de La Fayette and Diderot (“French Culture and Society before the Revolution”). With Second and Final-Year students Ingrid De Smet works on options relating to Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century France: Prof. De Smet’s choice of texts has a distinct bias towards the subversive and innovative, or the satirical and comical, to help students approach the literature and culture of the period.

At graduate level, Ingrid De Smet often teaches on the core module of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures’s taught MAs (the MA for Research in French and Francophone Studies and the interdepartmental MA in Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference), as well as on that of the MA in the Culture of the European Renaissance run by the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance. She offers an MA module entitled Books, Subversion and the Republic of Letters, Advanced Study Options, and participates in the skills training of doctoral students in the Warwick-Warburg Programme.

Research supervision

For the taught MA in French Culture and Thought, Ingrid De Smet has supervised MA dissertations on 'Subversion and radicalism in treatises of Early Modern French political thought (by Etienne de la Boëtie, Hotman and others)' and 'Masculinity in Brantôme's Vie des Capitaines illustres and Discours sur les colonels'.

She currently co-supervises

  • a PhD thesis on women playwrights in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France (with Dr K Astbury);
  • a PhD thesis on theories of climatic influence in the early colonial age (with Dr D Lines, in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance);
  • a PhD thesis on the Early Modern construct of La Rochelle in contemporary print culture (c. 1570-1630) (with Dr P Roberts, History).

A Renaissance Centre PhD thesis on Early Modern translations of navigational treatises, which Ingrid co-supervised (in lieu of Prof. P Mack) with Prof. B Hosington was successfully completed.

Ingrid has examined doctoral theses at the Universities of Cambridge, London and Paris-III, and is an external member of the comité d'accompagnement for a doctoral project on 'Mary Stuart in translation' at the UCL (Belgium).

She welcomes enquiries about the supervision of any research topic relating to her areas of expertise, for either the MA by Research or a MPhil/PhD in French Studies or Renaissance Studies. Such topics may broadly fall into one of the following categories (but are not necessarily restricted to them):

  • Early Modern intellectual culture
  • French Neo-Latin literature (including studies in the Classical Tradition and the History of Scholarship
  • Polemicists, pamphlets and print culture of the French Wars of Religion
  • Women and belief

Prospective research students may like to see:

Administrative roles

Ingrid De Smet has covered a variety of administrative roles related to French Studies, including that of Year Abroad officer and Director of Graduate Studies. In 2014–15 she is Acting Director of Graduate Studies (French) (term 1), Acting Exams Officer (French, second- and final-year) (term 2), and Director of Research (French).

From September 2007 to August 2010 she was also Director of Warwick's Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, a buoyant interdisciplinary research centre with a high international reputation. She returned to the Directorship in October 2014.


MA (Leuven), PhD (Cambridge), DLitt (Warwick)