Professor John West-Sooby


Professor John West-Sooby is currently Head of French Studies at the University of Adelaide, where he teaches French language and literature, in particular the literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the mediaeval period. He has a long-standing research interest in the nineteenth-century novel, including the works of Maupassant, Barbey d’Aurevilly and, in particular, Stendhal. He has also identified the existence of the picaresque tradition in twentieth-century writing and has applied this methodology to another of his great interests, French crime fiction. In collaboration with Jean Fornasiero, and as part of the Baudin Legacy team, he has worked extensively on the historiography of the Baudin expedition, co-writing the book Encountering Terra Australis. The Australian Voyages of Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders, 1800-1803. In July 2005, this book was awarded the Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize. He is particularly interested in the iconography of the Baudin expedition (maps, sketches), but also in the personalities of the captain and his fellow expeditioners. In 2003 he was awarded the Palmes académiques by the French government. He is Australian correspondent for the specialist review L’Année Stendhal and is on the Editorial Board of the scholarly monograph series Monash Romance Studies. A/Professor West-Sooby has presented papers on all his research interests at international conferences and research seminars. These include the Baudin conference in Le Havre in 2007, where he spoke on the topic of his forthcoming book (with Jean Fornasiero) on François Péron, the conference on Scientific Voyaging sponsored by the Greenwich Maritime Museum, the Royal Society of London and the University of Cambridge held in London in July 2008, and the 2009 conference on Baudin’s life and voyages held at the Royal Academy of Brussels. In 2011 (with Jean Fornasiero), he completed a book on François Péron and his ‘spy’ document on the colony of New South Wales.

Publications on the Baudin expedition


French Designs on New South Wales, a critical edition of the Memoir on the British Settlements in New Holland by François Péron (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), Adelaide, Friends of the State Library of South Australia, forthcoming.

Encountering Terra Australis: The Australian Voyages of Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders, 1800-1803, (co-authors: Peter Monteath & John West-Sooby), Kent Town, Wakefield Press, 2004 (411p.)
Revised edition 2010, 426p.
Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Prize 2005

Edited Volumes

Discovery and Empire. The French in the South Seas, Adelaide, University of Adelaide Press, in press.

Articles and Chapters

Naming and Shaming: The Baudin Expedition and the Nomenclature of Terra Australis (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), in A. Hiatt, C. McIlroy, A. Scott & C. Wortham (eds), European Perceptions of Terra Australis, London, Ashgate, in press.

The Acquisitive Eye? French Observations in the Pacific from Bougainville to Baudin (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), in J. West-Sooby (ed.), Discovery and Empire: the French in the South Seas, Adelaide, University of Adelaide Press, in press.

A Case of Peripheral Vision: Spanish and French Perceptions of the British Colony at Port Jackson, in J. West-Sooby (ed.), Discovery and Empire: the French in the South Seas, Adelaide, University of Adelaide Press, in press.

François Péron: un collectionneur hors normes, in G. Baglione & C. Crémière (eds), À la conquête des Terres australes: de la découverte à la collecte, Le Havre, forthcoming.

Une expédition sous haute surveillance: le voyage aux Terres Australes vu par les Anglais, in M. Jangoux (ed.), Portés par l’air du temps, les voyages de Nicolas Baudin, special number of Etudes sur le XVIIIe siècle, 38, 2010, pp. 187-201.

Doing it by the Book: Breaking the Reputation of Nicolas Baudi (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), in J. Fornasiero & C. Mrowa-Hopkins (eds), Explorations and Encounters in French, Adelaide, University of Adelaide Press, 2010, pp. 135-164.

Old Quarrels and New Approaches: Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin (co-authors Peter Monteath & Jean Fornasiero), South Australian Geographical Journal, 106, 2007, pp. 1-15.

Hydrographic Reputations: Matthew Flinders, Nicolas Baudin and South Australia’s Unknown Coast (co-authors: Jean Fornasiero & Peter Monteath), Hydrographic Journal, 121, 2006, pp. 17-23.

Baudin, Flinders and the Scientific Voyage, in M.S. Rivière & K. Issur (eds), Baudin et Flinders dans l’océan Indien: Voyages, Découvertes, Rencontre, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2006, pp. 179-194.

A Cordial Encounter? The Meeting of Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders (8-9 April 1802) (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), French History and Civilization: Papers from the George Rudé Seminar, 1, 2005, pp. 53-61.

An Appetite for Discovery. The Culinary Adventures of Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in Terra Australis (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), in A. L. Martin & B. Santich (eds), Gastronomic Encounters, Brompton, SA, East Street Publications, 2004, pp. 21-34.

Le Sourire grinçant du capitaine Baudin, Australian Journal of French Studies, 41, 2, 2004, pp. 79-97.

Notes in the Margin: Bougainville, Freycinet and the Baudin Expedition (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), Australian Journal of French Studies, 41, 2, 2004, pp. 186-193.

Baudin’s Books (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), Australian Journal of French Studies, 39, 2, 2002, pp. 215-249.

Taming the Unknown: The Representation of Terra Australis by the Baudin Expedition 1801-1803 (co-author: Jean Fornasiero), in A. Chittleborough, G.Dooley, B. Glover and R. Hosking (eds), Alas, for the Pelicans! Flinders, Baudin and Beyond. Essays and Poems, Kent Town, Wakefield Press, 2002, pp. 59-80.


Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, Painter and Naturalist: A Forgotten Treasure, (co-translator: Jean Fornasiero). English Translation of Cédric Crémière & Gabrielle Baglione, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, peintre et naturaliste, un trésor oublié, Paris Conti, 2009, forthcoming.

The Artists of the Baudin Expedition: Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit (co-translator: Jean Fornasiero). English translation of J. Bonnemains, Les Artistes de l’expédition Baudin: Charles-Alexandre Lesueur et Nicolas-Martin Petit), in Sarah Thomas (ed.), The Encounter 1802. Art of the Flinders and Baudin Voyages, Adelaide, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2002, pp. 126-138.