Professor Michael Moriarty

Professorial Fellow

Telephone: 01223 338254

Michael Moriarty is Emeritus Professor of French in the University of Cambridge and an Emeritus Fellow of Peterhouse. He retired from the Drapers Professorship of French in September 2023. He supervises Peterhouse undergraduates for papers in French literature in all parts of the Modern and Medieval Languages Tripos.

He read Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Spanish) at St John’s College, Cambridge. He was a Research Fellow at Gonville and Caius College from 1982 to 1985, and then became a College Lecturer in French and Director of Studies in Modern Languages. He was appointed to a University Assistant Lectureship in the Department of French in 1986, and to a University Lectureship in 1990. In 1995 he became Professor of French Literature and Thought at Queen Mary, University of London, and was awarded a Centenary Chair there in 2006. In 2006 he was also elected Fellow of the British Academy. In 2010 he became a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques. He was elected to the Drapers Professorship and to a Fellowship at Peterhouse in 2011.

Michael Moriarty’s interests are especially in the early modern period of French literature, from the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth century, though he has also written on modern literary theory (Roland Barthes, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991). His interests are chiefly in the interface between philosophy, theology, and literature: he has worked on notions such as self-knowledge, self-love, and virtue and vice, in writers such as Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal, Malebranche, and La Rochefoucauld. He has published Taste and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, reprinted 2009); Early Modern French Thought: The Age of Suspicion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves: Early Modern French Thought II (OUP, 2006), Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French Thought (OUP, 2011), and Pascal: Reasoning and Belief (OUP, 2020).  He has also translated Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy (Oxford World’s Classics, 2008), and The Passions of the Soul and Other Late Philosophical Writings (Oxford World’s Classics, 2015). He is the co-editor, with Jeremy Jennings, of The Cambridge History of French Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2019).


Key Information

Fellow 2011-2023
Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques
College Phone:
2023 [2011]


Modern and Medieval Languages