Professor Richard Scholar's main research interests lie in early modern French literature and thought, comparative and interdisciplinary early modern studies, and questions of critical method and theory. He is the author of two books: Montaigne and the Art of Free-Thinking (2010) and The Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi in Early Modern Europe: Encounters with a Certain Something (2005). His work is principally concerned with the keywords, linguistic structures, and literary forms that enabled early modern writers to test the limits of thought and expression in the period and that thus reveal fundamental features of early modern learning, culture, and society. He is currently working on a major reevaluation of Thomas More’s Utopia and its afterlives in European literature and thought. He was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2007 and held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2007-2008).
He values the intellectual possibilities offered by collective as well as individual endeavour. He is a member of the ANR-funded research collective Disputes, Controversies and Querelles (with Paris IV-Sorbonne) and a co-director of Early Modern Keywords, a research group that is compiling and exploring a European vocabulary of culture and society of the period 1450-1700, in the wake of Renaissance Keywords (2013). From 2008-2012, he led a four-year collaborative research project entitled 'Francophone Caribbean Writing in Context', which included a Leverhulme International Research Network on the topic of ‘Caribbean Globalizations’. Since 2004, he has been a Director of the Oxford Amnesty Lectures, an independent charity that invites speakers of international reputation to lecture in Oxford on a theme related to human rights.