Peter France taught in the School of European Studies at the new University of Sussex before moving to the University of Edinburgh where he was professor of French from 1980 to 2000; he also held visiting posts in Vancouver, Canberra, Princeton, Cape Town and Paris (Sorbonne). He now lives in Edinburgh and is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Most of his academic publications are concerned with French literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Racine, Rousseau, Diderot, and many studies on rhetoric and its history), but he is also the author of Poets of Modern Russia (1982). He has become increasingly interested in translation and has translated widely from French and Russian, in particular prose writings by Rousseau and Diderot and Russian poetry by Aleksandr Blok and Boris Pasternak (both with Jon Stallworthy), Joseph Brodsky, Gennady Aigi and many others. He is the editor of the New Oxford Companion to Literature in French (1995), the Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation (2000) and the co-editor (with Stuart Gillespie) of the five-volume Oxford History of Literary Translation in English (2005-).