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Professor Hugo Frey

Director of the Institute of Arts and Humanities

Hugo Frey


Hugo Frey, BA Hons (CNAA) MA (Surrey) PhD (Surrey)

Professor Hugo Frey is a cultural and political historian whose research work focuses on twentieth century France and Francophone Europe with special emphasis on the politics of visual culture. He has published over 40 substantial outputs in this field including Louis Malle (Manchester University Press 2004); Nationalism and the Cinema in France (Berghahn Books 2014) and The Graphic Novel: An Introduction [co-author] (Cambridge University Press, 2015), .

In addition he has published journal articles with Journal of European StudiesSouth Central ReviewModern and Contemporary France and Yale French Studies, among others.

His writings on Pierre Benoit have featured with Nebraska University Press and in turn were translated and published in France in the Cahiers des Amis de Pierre Benoit.

Key Publications

His recent book on French history is Nationalism and the Cinema in France  (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014). It explored why film is so central to the modern French understanding of nationhood: an interpretation that was described by Charles Drazin (University of London) as ‘fascinating’ and ‘convincing’.

Last year Hugo also published his third book, co-authored with Professor Jan Baetens, The Graphic Novel: An Introduction through the prestigious Cambridge University Press.

This title is a ‘highlight’ work in the 2015 Cambridge UP ‘Literature’ catalogue. It is described by Professor Jared Gardner (Ohio) as a ground-breaking work that will come to shape the field.

In addition, Hugo is ‘Editor in Chief’ for the Leuven University Press series on ‘European Comics and Graphic Novels’.

The press have now published four ground-breaking works that are also all available in the US via Cornell. Future research projects on North American, European and British graphic novels will play a part in the next four years of Hugo’s research commitments. These include his co-editorship of The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2018).


Hugo has delivered research papers to conferences and research groups around the world including in: the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Norway, Finland, Holland, Germany and Belgium, In 2013, he was also appointed a Visiting Guest Lecturer for the Prince’s Teaching Institute (London) where he offers lectures to newly qualified teachers of French to assist them in their knowledge of French cinema.

As Head of Academic Department, Hugo has also led the History Department to success in the last two Research Assessment Exercises (2008 and 2014). He also leads our contribution to the Graylingwell Heritage Project (2012-2015).

PhD Supervision

Professor Frey would be delighted to supervise students in history or politics who are working in my field

  • Graphic novels & Comics
  • American cultural history
  • French cultural history
  • Politics of Nationalism
  • French and Francophone Cinema

Recent graduates include Dr Ian Hague and Dr Laurike in’t Veld on comics and material culture and comics and depictions of genocide. See also Comics Forum.


Professor Frey’s current undergraduate teaching:

  • Rethinking History
  • War and Memory in Western Europe
  • History in the Graphic Novel

On the MA in Cultural History, he co-ordinates the module dedicated to French cultural history.

Research Output


Frey, H. (2022) Summertime France as Ethno-Sociological Experiment Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary in Jacques Rozier’s "Du côté d’Orouët" (1969). Imaginaires, 24. pp. 131-147. ISSN 2780-1896 10.34929/imaginaires.vi24.40

Frey, H. (2020) Pop Art and Nostalgia: The New Lessons of David Vandermeulen’s Ric Remix. Recherches sémiotiques, 38 (1-2). pp. 221-236. ISSN 1923-9920 10.7202/1070822ar

Frey, H. and Baetens, J. (2019) Comics Culture and Roy Lichtenstein. Art History, 42 (1). pp. 126-152. ISSN 0141-6790 10.1111/1467-8365.12416

Baetens, J. and Frey, H. (2017) ‘Layouting’ for the plot: Charles Burns and the clear line revisited. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 8 (2). pp. 193-202. ISSN 2150-4865 10.1080/21504857.2016.1270219

Frey, H. (2014) Pierre Benoit et les leçons de L’Atlantide. Le Cahiers des Amis de Pierre Benoit, XXIV. pp. 148-161. ISSN 0992-9835

Frey, H. (2008) Trafic d’Outre-Manche: réflexion sur Une trilogie anglaise de Floc’h et Rivière. Lendemains: Études comparées sur la France, 33 (129). pp. 43-60. ISSN 0170-3803

Frey, H. (2007) Paul Sérant and the extreme right's rhetoric of antithesis. Journal of European Studies, 37 (4). pp. 373-389. ISSN 0047-2441 10.1177/0047244107083225

Frey, H. (2006) Louis Malle and the 1950s: Ambiguities, Friendships and Legacies. South Central Review: Journal of the South Central MLA, 23 (2). pp. 22-35. ISSN 0743-6831

Frey, H. (2002) History and memory in Franco-Belgian Bande Dessinée (BD). Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice, 6 (3). pp. 293-304. ISSN 1364-2529 10.1080/13642520210164517

Book Sections

Frey, H. (2022) Polyphonies de la mémoire dans Le Souffle au cœur. In: Louis Malle dans tous ses etats. Les Impressions nouvelles, Brussels, pp. 225-236. ISBN 9782874499456

Frey, H. (2019) Graphic novels and Beat literature. In: The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel. Cambridge University Press, New York. (Submitted)

Frey, H. (2017) Historical Fiction. In: The Cambridge Companion to the Graphic Novel. Cambridge University Press, New York. ISBN 9781107108790

Frey, H. and Baetens, J. (2017) Graphic Novels and the First World War. In: Teaching Representations of the First World War. Options for Teaching . Modern Language Association, New York, pp. 277-284. ISBN 9781603293044

Frey, H. (2016) Tintin between Myth and Style. In: The Comics of Hergé. Great Comics Artists . University Press of Mississippi, Jackson. ISBN 9781496818492

Frey, H. (2015) The tactic of illusion in Grennan’s re-creation of Trollope. In: Transforming Anthony Trollope: Dispossession, Victorianism and 19th Century Word and Image. LUP/Cornell, Leuven. ISBN 9789462700413

Frey, H. (2010) Inside-out: questions of form in the work of Friedrich Meinecke and Robert Aron. In: Nationalizing the Past: Historians as Nation-Builders. Palgrave, pp. 282-297. ISBN 9780230237926

Frey, H. and Jordan, S. (2010) Inside-out: the purposes of form in Friedrich Meinecke's and Robert Aron's explanations of national disaster. In: Nationalizing the Past: Historians as Nation Builders in Modern Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke. ISBN 9780230237926

Frey, H. and Flood, C. (2010) Henry Rousso (1954- ). In: French Historians 1900-2000: New Historical Writing in Twentieth-Century France. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford. ISBN 9781405198677

Frey, H. (2009) Contradiction Without End: Renaud Camus and the Parti de l’In-nocence. In: Les Spirales du sens chez Renaud Camus. Rodopi Editions, Amsterda, Paris, pp. 207-231. ISBN 9789042026841

Frey, H. (2009) Contradiction without end: Renaud Camus and the parti de l’in-nocence. In: Les Spirales du sens chez Renaud Camus. Rodopi Editions, Amsterdam ; NY, pp. 207-231. ISBN 9789042026841

Frey, H. (2008) “For All to See": Yvan Alagbé’s 'Nègres jaunes' and the representation of the contemporary social crisis in the Banlieue. In: Writing and the Image Today. Yale French Studies, 114 . Yale University Press, New Haven, Conneticut ; London, pp. 116-129. ISBN 9780300118216

Frey, H. (2008) Cannes 1956/1979: Riviera reflections on nationalism and cinema. In: Narrating the Nation: Representations in History, Media and the Arts. Making Sense of History (11). Berghahn Books, Oxford ; New York, pp. 181-203. ISBN 9781845454241

Frey, H. (2008) Trapped in the Past: the Persistence of Anti-Semitism in Hergé’s Flight 714. In: History and Politics in French-Language Comics and Graphic Novels. University of Mississippi Press, Jackson, pp. 34-51. ISBN 9781604730043

Frey, H. (2008) Trapped in the past: The persistence of anti-semitism in Hergé’s 'Flight 714'. In: History and Politics in French-Language Comics and Graphic Novels. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, pp. 34-51. ISBN 9781604730043

Frey, H. (2007) Shutting out the city: reflections on the portrayal of London in 1960s Auteur Cinema. In: London Eyes: Reflections in Text and Image. Berghahn, Oxford, UK, pp. 135-147. ISBN 9781845454074


Frey, H. (2014) Cinema and Nationalism in France. Other. Berghahn Books. 9781782383659

Frey, H. (2014) Nationalism and the Cinema in France: Political Mythologies and Film Events, 1945-1995. . Berghahn, New York.


Baetens, J., Frey, H. and Tabachnick, S. E. (2018) The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel. Cambridge Histories - Literature . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. ISBN 9781107171411

Frey, H. and Baetens, J. (2015) The Graphic Novel: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, New York. ISBN 9781107655768

Frey, H. (2004) Louis Malle. French Film Directors . Manchester University Press, Manchester, UK. ISBN 9780719064562

Other department members

Dr Alison Green Chaplain
Alison Green
Associate Lecturer in Theology
Alison MacLeod
Visiting Professor in Creative Writing
Alwyn Turner
Alwyn W Turner
Senior Lecturer in History

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