I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick's School of Modern Languages and Cultures. I also contribute to programmes on BBC radio as part of the BBC New Generation Thinkers scheme.
At present I am writing my second book, provisionally entitled ‘A Different Orient? Iran in Nineteenth-Century French Literature’. In this project I explore the reception of Persian literature and representation of Iranian culture across the poetry, novels, essays, travelogues, and performances from the French nineteenth-century. I am interested in demonstrating that French writing on the Orient, and in particular Iran, was far from monolithic, varying due to factors such as authors' sources, education, nationality, gender, publicity aims, and political position.
Various publication projects (on entirely different topics) have recently come to fruition, so a quick recap with summaries and links is in order :
Reading Dante and Proust by Analogy, Legenda (Transcript series).
This is the “thesis book”. It reads Dante’s Divine Comedy and Proust’s In Search of Lost Time in dialogue, in order to offer a new perspective on these familiar faces of the Western canon. I focus in particular on: literary authority and the role of first-person narrative; the structuring effect of journey metaphors and the resistance to narrative teleology; the gendered representation of mentor figures; the redemption narrative.
'Hartley’s erudite, persuasive, and reader-friendly book is a powerful debut, an irresistible invitation to love literature. I confidently look forward to her future work.’ — Thomas Pavel, Modern Philology
‘Hartley’s book contributes significantly to the fields of Dante and Proust stu- dies. Moreover, it is persuasive in demonstrating the rich productive potential of this dynamic, interactive approach, setting an important example for literary comparisons to come.’ — Valentina Mele, Modern Language Review
'A stimulating methodological contribution to the field of comparative literature.’ — Alessandra Aloisi, H-France
‘The Medieval and the Modern in Baudelaire’s “À une passante”’, Nineteenth-Century French Studies’ Fall-Winter issue.
An article analysing Baudelaire’s poem “À une passante” in light of two medieval Italian sonnets, Dante Alighieri’s “Tanto gentile” and Guido Cavalcanti’s “Chi è questa che vèn”. It argues that although “À une passante” is frequently held up as a quintessentially modern poem, its form and subject matter are in fact deeply indebted to the medieval love lyric. I argue for an alternative understanding of the modernity of “À une passante”, one based on a modern sense of subjectivity and consequent treatment of the relationship to the beloved and temporality.
‘Sa’di at Large’, special issue section of Iranian Studies, September–November issue.
My first time as guest editor, the issue brings together essays on the dissemination of the medieval Persian poet Saʿdi’s writings in Asia and Europe. The issue’s primary focus is on translations of Saʿdi’s Golestān into European languages, but its articles also explore comparative readings between Saʿdi and Western texts, editorial practices between Ottoman Turkey and Iran, and creative appropriations and rewritings. The issue includes my own article on Marceline Desbordes-Valmore's poem 'Les Roses de Saadi' (1860) and Sa'di's Golestan has been published by Iranian Studies journal.
‘Identifying with the Orient: Exoticism and Similarity in Jean Lahor’s Quatrains d’Al-Ghazali’, MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities 2019 issue ‘Reframing European Exoticism’.
The shortest of these publications — 4000 words only! — this article gives you a quick taste of the postdoctoral project by looking at a Parnassian poet who claimed that the medieval Islamic theologian Al-Ghazali was his alter-ego.