Professor Naomi Segal

Contact details

Professor Naomi Segal
BA Hons, PhD
Position/Fellowship type:
Professor Emerita
Fellowship term:
Institute of Languages Cultures and Societies
Home institution:
Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies School of Advanced Study, University of London Senate House, Malet St., London WC1E 7HU, UK
020 7272 6438
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Culture, Gender studies, Language and Literature (French), Language and Literature (German), Literatures in a modern language
Summary of research interests and expertise:

My research interests are in comparative literature, culture and theory, with a particular interest in psychoanalysis, the body, the senses, gender and sexuality. My current and most recent books are on replacement. A full CV can be supplied on request.

Under Publications in this profile I have listed my books (6 monographs, with a further one in preparation, 1 translation, 11 co/edited collections with two more in preparation ); in addition I have published 97 shorter pieces (journal articles, chapters & pamphlets). The most recent of these are:

  1. ‘Puppets and people, from Kleist to Stelarc’, to be published in Replacement and Replaceability: theoretical traditions and contemporary practices, edited by Sara Magno, Jad Khairallah & Ilios Willemars, in 2023

  2. ‘Touching and not touching: the indirections of desire’, in eds. Caterina Nirta, Danilo Mandic, Andrea Pavoni & Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, TOUCH (London: University of Westminster Press, 2020), pp. 29–87

  3. 'Gide se remémore: "Mettons que c'est par pénitence que je l'écris"' in a special issue of Psychiatrie française, vol XXXXVIII, 4/17 (décembre 2018) ed. by Yoann Loisel, pp. 51-62
  4. ‘“A petty form of suffering”: a brief cultural study of itching’, in a special issue of Body and Society: Skin Matters: Thinking through the body’s surfaces, edited by Marc Lafrance, June 2018, vol 24: 1-2, pp. 88–102

  5. ‘The principles, pleasures and realities of translating psychoanalysis’, in The Problems of Literary Genres/ Zagadnienia Rodzajów Literackich, vol 6, issue 2 (122) (2017), pp. 9–23

Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
07-Oct-2020 test



06-Oct-2018 On Replacement

Edited Book

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan. Coedited book based on preceding conference in 2016; my own contributions are the introduction & two other chapters.

This book is an interdisciplinary study of the human drama of replacement. Is one’s irreplaceability dependent on surrounding oneself by a replication of others? Is love intrinsically repetitious or, on the contrary, built on a fantasy of uniqueness? The sense that a person’s value is blotted out if someone else is now in the place where they once were can be found in the serial monogamy of our age or in the lives of replacement children in the recent past. Versions of replacement include AI and doubling, incest and bedtricks, imposters and revenants, human rights and ‘surrogacy’, intertextuality and adaptation; and follow the emotions of betrayal, jealousy and desire both within and across generations. These 24 essays are divided into seven sections – What is replacement?, Law & society, Wayward women, Lost children, Replacement films, The Holocaust and Psychoanalysis – and will appeal to anyone engaged in reading cultural and social representations. 

02-Mar-2018 Between motion and emotion: cultural literacy on the move

Edited Book

Publisher: De Gruyter. Coedited collection, special issue of Open Cultural Studies, based on the CLE Conference on (E)Motion held at Warsaw in 2017. Coedited with Maciej Maryl.

02-Feb-2016 The Skin-ego


Publisher: Karnac. Translation of Didier Anzieu, Le Moi-peau (Paris: Dunod 1995).

15-May-2015 Opera, Exoticism and Visual Culture

Edited Book

Publisher: Peter Lang. Coedited collection of articles based on IGRS conference of 2008. 

06-Oct-2014 From Literature to Cultural Literacy

Edited Book

Publisher: Palgrave. Coedited collection of essays introducing the conecpts of Cultural Litercy (see

06-Oct-2013 Vicissitudes: Histories and destinies of psychoanalysis

Edited Book

Publisher: igrs books. Coedited collection of essays based on an IGRS Core Programme on Psychoanalysis 2006-08.

06-Oct-2011 ‘When familiar meanings dissolve...’: Essays in French studies in memory of Malcolm Bowie (1943-2007)

Edited Book

Publisher: Peter Lang. Coedited book in memory of IRS founder Malcolm Bowie, based on IGRS conference of 2008.

06-Oct-2009 Consensuality: Didier Anzieu, gender and the sense of touch

Publisher: Rodopi. This monograph is a wide-ranging comparative study of cultural figures, texts and objects including André Gide’s skin, Princess Diana’s radiance, poetry on touching sculpture, Kafka and starvation, Rilke and dolls, and such films as Gattaca, The Talented Mr Ripley, Being John Malkovich, The Piano and The Truman Show. It also examines gender, desire and the caress, phantom limbs, replacement children and the experience of love and loss. Connecting all these is the skin, the sense of touch and the work of psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu (1923-99).

2009 Witnessing through the skin: the hysteric's body

Journal of Romance Studies: ‘The Witness and the Text’, vol 9, no 3, pp 73-85

20-Mar-2003 Indeterminate Bodies

Edited Book

Publisher: Palgrave. Coedited book based on the MA on The Body & Representation, which I created & ran at Reading University 1995-2004.

14-Jul-2001 Le Désir à l’œuvre : André Gide à Cambridge 1918, 1998

Publisher: Rodopi. Edited book (in French) based on conference on Gide held at St John's College Cambridge in 1998.

22-Nov-1998 André Gide: Pederasty and Pedagogy

Publisher: Oxford University Press. This monograph is a close study of André Gide (1869-1951). In his apologia for pederasty, whether directly polemical or as a covert motive of the fiction, he is arguing for an exclusively self-referring form of the masculine; yet in a number of ways, his argument relies on the feminine, whether in women or in men, as the negative from which this value proceeds, and it leads most often towards failure or retreat – undesire.The theoretical basis of the book’s analysis develops a critical use of the hydraulic theory of desire as a system of interconvertible body fluids within and between bodies. In the introductory chapter, I apply this to theories of pedagogy and pederasty from the ancient world to the present. The next, biographical chapter explores Gide’s life through his own and others’ representations of his body. The subsequent five chapters build up a comparative examination of Gide’s writings through a set of thematic issues: the woman’s voice, the chain-formation of male structures, the fascination of ‘the dangerous individual’, the desire of uncles and aunts, and the pedagogic-pederastic motive of Gide’s educational experimentation with animals and children. The final chapter returns to theories of desire, the failure of the hydraulic metaphor, and explores some common elements between Gide, Carroll and Barrie.

28-May-1998 Coming Out of Feminism?

Edited Book

Publisher: Blackwell. Coedited collection of essays on the relations of feminism & gay/queer studies.

16-Jun-1997 Scarlet Letters: Fictions of Adultery from Antiquity to the 1990s


Publisher: Macmillan. Coedited book based on conference at the IRS in 1993.

05-Jul-1992 The Adulteress’s Child: authorship and desire in the nineteenth-century novel


Publisher: Polity Press. A study of the relations of authorship and desire in 19c novels of adultery from France, Germany, Russia and America. The book examines seven novels by Stendhal, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Maupassant, Hawthorne and Fontane, seeking in key scenes and structures the politics of the implied author’s paternal relation to male and female characters and to the implied reader.

06-Oct-1988 Narcissus and Echo: women in the French récit


Publisher: Manchester University Press. This monograph compares short fictions by Prévost, Chateaubriand, Constant, Gautier, Mérimée, Musset, Nerval, Fromentin and Gide examined in these two books are confessional texts, tales told by a young man to an older man in which a woman is misloved and dies.

19-Aug-1988 Freud in Exile: Psychoanalysis and its Vicissitudes

Edited Book

Publisher: Yale University Press.Coedited colection on Freud, based on conference coorganised in 1986.

28-Feb-1986 The Unintended Reader: feminism and Manon Lescaut


Publisher: Cambridge University Press.This monograph is a close study of male-female relations in Prévost's Manon Lescaut.It was reissued in 2010.

21-Jun-1981 The Banal Object: theme and thematics in Proust, Rilke, Hofmannsthal and Sartre


This book was published by the IGS Bithell series of monographs; it is based on my PhD thesis, awarded in 1978 at the University of London.

Research Projects & Supervisions

Research projects:

Cultural Literacy Everywhere (formerly Cultural Literacy in Europe)

Founded in 2007 under the aegis of the Standing Committee of the Humanities of the European Science Foundation (on which I represented the UK 2005-2011), this organisation runs annual events - Conferences or Symposia, since 2015 - and a set of Special Interest Groups & has published several books. For all info see

Past PhD topics supervised:

Dates Details
From: 2007
Until: 2012
The Myrrha complex: daughter-father incest in literature and life-writings

Supervision of Jean Owen, Birkbeck College.

From: 2005
Until: 2007
The metamorphosis of philosophy: Kafka’s literary transformation of contemporary philosophical themes’

Ruth Martin, Birkbeck College

From: 2002
Until: 2008
Marguerite Yourcenar: in search of the mother

Catherine Guy-Murrell, Reading University

From: 2001
Until: 2005
André Gide and curiosity

Victoria Reid, Reading University

From: 2001
Until: 2009
The borders of the body

Lori Parks, Reading University

From: 2000
Until: 2005
Pierre Loti and the Theatricality of Desire

Peter Turberfield, Reading University

Available for doctoral supervision: Yes

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