Chair of British Literature and Culture

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

FRHistS, FSA Scot

Room:       R11 T04 C08
Tel.:          +49 201 183-4711
Fax:          +49 201 183-4713

Office hours:

Semester:                       Semester break:
Tuesday 4 to 5 pm.        by appointment

Curriculum Vitae

2011 – present

Full professor at the university of Duisburg-Essen
(Chair of British Literature and Culture).

October 2012 - September 2014: Head of Department

2006 – 2011

Temporary appointments at several German universities: stand-in for Ratsstellen at Otto Friedrich-Universität, Bamberg and Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz; visiting professor at the University of Regensburg and Humboldt-Universität, Berlin (twice).


Habilitation: Worlds of Wonders: Sammelndes Schreiben und schreibendes Sammeln im England des 17. Jahrhunderts (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main). Post-doctoral thesis about connections between the culture of collecting (cabinets of curiosities), literature and the visual arts in the seventeenth century.

From 2001

Lecturer (C1) at Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main.


Ph. D.: A Passion for Privacy: Untersuchungen zur Genese der bürgerlichen Privatsphäre in London, ca. 1660-1800 (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main). Thesis on the rise of the private sphere in eighteenth-century London and the impact of emerging concepts of privacy on literature and art of the period.

Teaching post (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at the University of Frankfurt. Extended stays in London on a regular basis to do research for Ph. D. and Habilitation (all in all several years), attached to the German Historical Institute and the School of Advanced Study, University College London. Research grants awarded by German Historical Institute, German Academic Exchange Service and other funding bodies.


Staatsexamen in English and History (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main).

From 1986

Studied English and History at Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main and the University of Reading


Non-military national service

Membership in Learned Societies and Other Associations

Royal Historical Society, London: Fellow

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh: Fellow

Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft Frankfurt am Main e.V.: Member of the Board

Dagmar Westberg-Universitätsfonds der Deutsch-Britischen Gesellschaft Frankfurt am Main e.V. (a funding body supporting British Studies at the University of Frankfurt): Member of the Board

Georg Simmel Centre for Metropolitan Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Associate Member

Deutscher Anglistenverband

British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Society for Scottish Studies in Europe

ADEF / German Association for the Study of British History and Politics

Research Interests

(NB: I would be happy to supervise theses related to topics listed below.)

British Literature and Culture, mostly from the Early Modern period to the present. Major research projects – both completed and active – in 17th, 18th and 19th/20th literature and culture. More specifically:

Earliest Beginnings to Middle Ages

  • London’s cultural and literary history.

The 16th and 17th Century

  • The culture of collecting (cabinets of curiosities) and related phenomena in English literature. Texts as collections, collections as texts. Interactions between collecting, early global exploration and early scientific research. Transformations of obsolete knowledge. (Specific collectors: the Tradescants, Sir Thomas Browne, the Royal Society).
  • London in the seventeenth century. The Great Plague and the Great Fire; pre- and post-Fire architecture.
  • Literary and early scientific prose (Robert Burton, Sir Thomas Browne).
  • Diaries (Samuel Pepys, John Evelyn, Celia Fiennes etc.) .
  • Early journalism (John Dunton).
  • Poetry (the Elizabethan sonnet; the Metaphysical poets, especially John Donne and Andrew Marvell; Rochester); epic poetry (John Milton).
  • Drama (Shakespeare; Congreve, Vanbrugh, Wycherley).
  • The visual arts (especially: Wenceslas Hollar).

The 18th Century

  • The rise of the private sphere in eighteenth-century London: material culture and middle-class mentalities. The private sphere and literature: the novel (Defoe, Fielding, Richardson, Cleland), the diary (Boswell), journalism (Addison and Steele; The Gentleman’s Magazine, The London Magazine), conduct books. The private sphere and the visual arts: conversation pieces; Hogarth’s Modern Moral Subjects.
  • Gender roles, writing and publishing in eighteenth-century England (Montagu, Seward, Leapor / Pope, Gay, Swift, Smart).
  • Eighteenth-century Edinburgh, its literary and cultural history. Robert Fergusson, Robert Burns, John Kay. Edinburgh as the Athens of the North. Scotland after 1746.
  • Neo-classicism.
  • Taste and the senses in the eighteenth century.
  • The pre-history of English crime fiction: textual and visual narratives of crime
  • Eighteenth-century music and musical aesthetics. Intermediality: text and music. George Frederic Handel’s oratorios. Ballad operas and cantatas. Exoticism, primitivism and the perception of Scottish music.
  • Intermediality: text and image. Hogarth and Lichtenberg.

The 19th Century

  • Romanticism, tourism and travel literature.
  • Romantic poetry: Byron, Heine, Pushkin.
  • Anglo-German literary and cultural relations.
  • History and literature: the historical novel. Scott.
  • Crime fiction; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • Science and literature: Charles Darwin and Lewis Carroll.
  • Journalism and social criticism: Mayhew.
  • Intermediality: authors and illustrators in the nineteenth century (Dickens / Cruickshank)
  • Intermediality: text and music. Gilbert & Sullivan. Music hall and pantomime.

The 20th and the 20th Century

  • German- and Yiddish-speaking emigrants and refugees in London, 1848-1945. Literatures of migration and exile. (Mayhew, Fontane, Zangwill, Kerr etc.) Identity and perceptions / depictions of urban space. Mental mapping and social topographies. Assimilation and cultural memory. Orientalism / urban exoticism: London as an oriental city.
  • James Joyce. Modernism.
  • Scottish crime fiction (Ian Rankin and others).
  • Literature, culture and identity in post-devolution Scotland. The construction of a Scottish diaspora.

Publications and Work in Progress

a) Books:

Ph.D. thesis: A Passion for Privacy. Untersuchungen zur Genese der bürgerlichen Privatsphäre in London, 1660-1800. Veröffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts London, Bd. 56 (München: Oldenbourg, 2004)
574 pp. Large sections of this book are available on Google Books.

Just published:
Harald A. Mieg and Christoph Heyl (eds.), Stadt. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (Stuttgart: Verlag J. B. Metzler),             ISBN: 978-3-476-02385-8
For further details, see: Metzler Verlag

Habilitationsschrift: Worlds of Wonders: Schreibendes Sammeln und sammelndes Schreiben in England, ca. 1600-1700. Veröffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts London, 589 pp. (Munich: Oldenbourg, forthcoming).


 Books: Work in Progress:

Monograph: German- and Yiddish-speaking emigrants and refugees in London, 1848-1945.

Proceedings: Sigrid Rieuwerts, Christoph Heyl and Shona Allan (Eds.): Scotland-Scot(t)land. Proceedings of the First Conference of the Society for Scottish Studies in Europe (2011).

Monograph: London – eine kleine literarische Kulturgeschichte von den Anfängen bis in die Gegenwart


 b) Articles:

„עונש בכפר – אופנה בעיר ” („Punishment in the Country – Fashion in the City”). In: משקפײמ (Mishkafayim Art Quarterly), No. 33, 3/1998 (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem), pp. 28-31.

When they are veyl’d to be seene: The Metamorphosis of the Mask in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century London” in: Tseelon, E. (Hrsg.), Masquerade and Identities (London: Routledge, 2001), pp. 114-134.

When they are veyl’d to be seene” erschien gleichfalls in: Entwistle, J., Wilson, E. (Hrsg.), Body Dressing. Dress, Body, Culture (Oxford: Berg, 2001), pp. 121-143.

We are not at Home: Protecting Middle-Class Domestic Privacy in Post-Fire London” in: The London Journal, Vol. 27, No. 2 (2002), pp. 12-33.

Deformity’s Filthy Fingers: Cosmetics and the Plague in: (Anon.), Artificiall Embellishments, or Art’s best Directions how to preserve Beauty, or procure it (Oxford, 1665)” in: Glaisyer, N.; Pennell, S. (Hrsg.), Didactic Literature in England 1500-1800: Experience Constructed (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), pp. 137-151.

„Einhorn und Indianermantel” in: Spektrum der Wissenschaft 4/2004, Sonderheft Forschung und Technik der Renaissance, pp. 12-15.

Whodunnit und who are we? Das Thema der schottischen Identität in Ian Rankins neuem Roman Fleshmarket Close“ in: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, LIII, Jahrgang 2005, Heft 4, pp. 369-383.

Meyney, Maummenark, Billingbing, Banana: Textualität, exotische Klangmagie und Imagination im Kuriositätenkabinett der Tradescants” in: Lozar, A. and Felfe, R. (Eds.),  Frühneuzeitliche Sammelpraxis und Literatur (Berlin: Lukas, 2006), pp. 194-215.

Lusus Naturae und Lusus Scientiae im ältesten öffentlich zugänglichen  Kuriositäten­kabinett Englands“ in: Cardanus. Jahrbuch für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Nr. 6, 2006, pp. 25-44.

„Gentleman“ in: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit, Vol.. 4: FriedeGutsherrschaft (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2006), 2 pp, q.v.

„Dame Nature’s Imagination: Creation, Creativity and Gender” in: Zwierlein, Anne-Julia (Ed.), Gender and Creation. Surveying Gendered Myths of Creativity, Authority and Authorship (Heidelberg: Winter, 2010), pp. 65-84.

"London as a Latter-Day Rome? From Neo-Classicist to Post-Colonial Urban Imagination and Beyond, 1666-1941" in: Kinzel, Ulrich (Hrsg.), London. Urban Space and Cultural Experience. Literatur in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, Special Issue, XLII, 2/3, 2010, pp. 103-126.

 „God’s terrible Voice in the City: Anmerkungen zur Rezeption des Great Fire of London (1666) in: Rößler, Hole and Koppenleitner, Vera (Eds.), Urbs Incensa – Ästhetische Transformationen der brennenden Stadt. Schriftenreihe des kunsthistorischen Max Planck-Instituts in Florenz, Bd. 10 (München: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2011), pp. 23-44.

„Horrid Howling or Sublime Sensation? Reactions to the Scottish Bagpipes and Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Theory” in: Wagner, Peter and Ogée, Frédéric (Eds.), Taste and the Senses in the Eighteenth Century (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2011), pp. 145-163.

„Ungrateful Odours, Sullying Toch: Excursions into the Dubious Realms of Trivia and Cloacina” in: Wagner, Peter and Ogée, Frédéric (Eds.), Taste and the Senses in the Eighteenth Century (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2011), pp. 269-282.

„Horticultural, Panoramic and Peripatetic Modes of Identity Construction in Eighteenth-Century England” in: Anja Müller and Isabel Karremann (Eds.), Mediating Identities in Eighteenth-Century England, 20 S. (Ashgate, 2011), pp. 205-209.

„Staging Scottishness: The Homecoming Scotland 2009 Initiative and Post-Devolution Perceptions of Scottish Culture, Literature and Identity” in: Frenk, Joachim and Steveker, Lena (Edd.), Anglistentag 2010 Saarbrücken: Proceedings (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2011), pp. 39-56.

“Wenn die Menschen plötzlich tugendhaft wären, so müßten viele Tausende verhungern: Kriminalität in London zur Zeit Lichtenbergs” in: Joost, Ulrich (Ed.), Lichtenberg-Jahrbuch 2011 (Heidelberg: Winter, 2012), pp. 101-116.

„William Hogarth, Science and Human Nature” in: Haekel, Ralf and Blackmore, Sabine (Ed.), Discovering the Human: Life Sciences and the Arts in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century (Göttingen: V&R, 2013), pp. 29-52.

"Die Stadt als kultureller Raum" in: Harald Mieg and Christoph Heyl, Stadt. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2013), pp. 199-201.

„Stadt und Literatur“ in: Harald Mieg and Christoph Heyl, Stadt. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2013), pp. 222-243.

„Privatsphäre, Öffentlichkeit und urbane Modernität. London als historischer Präzedenzfall“ in: ” in: Harald Mieg and Christoph Heyl, Stadt. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2013), pp. 271-282.

“Barometz, Dodo, Jubjub, Heffalump: Vom Heimischwerden bizarrer Tiere in der englischen Literatur“ in: M. Ulrich und D. de Rentiis (edd.), Animalia in Fabula (Bamberg, 2014), pp. 29-49.

“Handel’s Oratorios and the Taste of Eighteenth-Century London Audiences: Solomon as a Box Office Disaster” in: Frédéric Ogée and Peter Wagner (edd.), Taste and the Senses in the Eighteenth Cebtury IV (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2014 / forthcoming), 17 pp.

„Between Closet and Tea-Table: Domesticity, Leisure and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Eighteenth-Century London“ in: Hill-Zenk, Anja and Sprang, Felix (Eds.), Leisure and the Making of Knowledge in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 25 S. (Ashgate: forthcoming).

 “Private Narratives Beyond the Core Canon: William Hogarth’s Conversation Pieces” in: Bernd W. Krysmanski (ed.), 250 Years On: New Light on William Hogarth (Hildesheim,Zurich andNew York: Olms, 214 / forthcoming), 16 pp.


c) Reviews:


Biagoli, Mario, Galileo’s Instruments of Credit. Telescopes, Instruments, Secrecy (Chicago, 2006) in: Sehepunkte 7 (2007, Nr. 10) (ISSN 1618-6168), URL:

Snook, Edith, Women, Reading and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England (Aldershot, 2005) in: Sehepunkte 7 (2007, Nr. 10) (ISSN 1618-6168), URL:

Edwards, Clive, Turning Homes into Houses. A History of the Retailing and Consumption of Domestic Furnishings (Aldershot, 2005) in: Sehepunkte 7 (2007, Nr. 10) (ISSN 1618-6168), URL:

Prein, Philipp, Bürgerliches Reisen im 19. Jahrhundert (Münster, 2005) in: Historische Zeitschrift No. 286 (2008), pp. 221-222.

Sutherland, Gill, Faith, Duty and the Power of Mind. The Cloughs and their Circle, 1820-1960 (Cambridge, 2006) in: Historische Zeitschrift Nr. 286 (2008), pp. 522-524.

Schwalm, Helga, Das Eigene und das Fremde. Biographische Identitätsentwürfe in der englischen Literatur des 18. Jahrhunderts (Würzburg, 2007) in: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, LVI, 2008, Heft 4, pp. 403-404.

Manz, Stefan, Schulte-Beerbühl, Margrit und Davis, John R., Migration and Transfer from Germany to Britain, 1660-1914 (München, 2007) in: Angermion, Vol. I (2008), pp. 183-187.

Chalcraft, Anna und Viscardi, Judith, Strawberry Hill: Horace Walpole’s Gothic Castle (London, 2007) in: Journal for the Study of British Cultures, Vol. 15/2 (2008), pp. 192-194.

Cowen Orlin, Lena, Locating Privacy in Tudor London (Oxford, 2007) in: Journal for the Study of British Cultures, Vol. 16/1 (2009), pp. 98-99.

Huck, Christian, Fashioning Society, or, The Mode of Modernity. Observing Fashion in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Würzburg, 2010) in: Journal for the Study of British Cultures, forthcoming


d) Miscellaneous

„Die Playfords und ihre Zeit”. Essay on amateur music-making in early modern London, sleeve notes, CD Oranges and Lemons. John Playford’s English Dancing Master (Coviello Classics COV20709, 2007), pp. 3-5 and 29-31.

Theodora und das Londoner Publikum: Versuch einer Rekonstruktion“ Sleeve notes, CD Georg Friedrich Händel, Theodora. An Oratorio. HWV 68. Junge Kantorei / Frankfurter Barockorchester (Naxos MB 10024, 2010), pp. 11-15.

Current Lectures and Seminars Sommer 2015

Mo 16-17.00, Lecture:

Introduction to Literary Studies (einstündige Einführung)

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room: S07 S00 D07

The "Introduction to Literary Studies" consists of this lecture and the accompanying "Grundkurse", each one hour per week.

The lecture will cover the following areas: (1) What is "literature"? Why study literature? (2) Overview of British and American literary history and the history of New Literatures in English (3) Introduction to the major genres of literature (poetry, drama, narrative) (4) Introduction to Literary Theory (5) How to write a "Hausarbeit".

This course will be a helpful introduction for all further courses in literary and cultural studies throughout your further studies at our university. The obligatory written test ("Klausur") required for completion of the "Introduction to Literary Studies" will cover both the lecture and the accompanying "Grundkurse". A Reader will be available from the copy-shop Reckhammerweg well in advance of the semester. You also need to buy (and read) in the following editions (and none other):

William Shakespeare (Hrsg: Stephen Orgel), The Tempest. The Arden Shakespeare. Oxford World’s Classics. ISBN 978-0-19-953590-3
John Steinbeck (Hrsg: Susan Shillinglaw), Cannery Row. Penguin Modern Classics. ISBN-13: 987-0-141-18508-8
Michael Meyer, English and American Literatures. 4. Auflage Basics. ISBN-13: 798-3825-235505

Besondere Hinweise: Dies ist die Vorlesung zum Grundkurs Literaturwissenschaft "Introduction to Literary Studies". Teilnahme ist Pflicht. Eine Anmeldung zur Vorlesung ist nicht nötig; für die Grundkursgruppen ist eine Anmeldung verpflichtend. 

Requirements: regular attendance, reading the assigned texts, active participation in the “Grundkursgruppen”, and a final exam.


Di 10-12.00 Advanced Seminar:

Elizabethans in Love: William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room: R11 T04 C84

In this course, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be studied in depth. This is one of Shakespeare’s best-loved pieces. It brings together several love plots, quite a bit of magic, supernatural creatures, intriguing meta-textual elements, down-to-earth slapstick and much else besides – the sort of thing one can get seriously hooked on. A close reading of this play will give us ample opportunity to discuss both the text and its cultural, literary and historical contexts as well as its later reception. This seminar should make you more familiar not only with Shakespeare but also with the Elizabethan world of ideas.
You should have read at least the first three acts by the beginning of the semester – so think, annotate, look things up if necessary and, above all, enjoy! Please use well-annotated critical editions only (i.e. either the edition done by Peter Holland in the Oxford World’s Classics/The Oxford Shakespeare series or an edition in the Arden Shakespeare series).


Di 14-16.00, Advanced Seminar:

Music in a Snowy Street: Thomas Hardy’s Poetry

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room:  R11 T04 C75

Although Thomas Hardy is best known for his novels, he in fact regarded novels as inferior to poetry, and in later life he gave up writing novels altogether. This seminar will give you a chance to get to know Hardy as a poet. It is not only for poetry buffs. As Hardy’s language is fairly accessible, this seminar would also be ideal for those who think they could do with more practice when it comes to reading and discussing poetry.
Please buy: Samuel Hynes (ed.), Thomas Hardy. Selected Poetry (Oxford World’s Classics).


Mi 10-12.00, Advanced Seminar:

The Godfather of the Graphic Novel: William Hogarth

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room: R11 T04 C84

William Hogarth (1697-1765) was a remarkable painter and engraver whose works continue to have a profound influence on our ideas of eighteenth-century England in general and eighteenth-century London in particular. He created a new genre of pictorial narrative which were in fact early graphic novels. These pictorial narratives were a near-equivalent of the novels that established themselves as the new leading literary genre in the course of the eighteenth century. Both the novel and Hogarth’s Modern Moral Subjects were very much about a world their readers could relate to, telling stories about people that could conceivably have been one’s neighbours, or at any rate the sort of people one could have come across in the streets of London: apprentices and aristocrats, rakes and prostitutes, criminals and homeless children.
In this seminar, we shall do close readings of Hogarth’s most important works. This will give us an opportunity to discuss what happens when we read such images (including specific difficulties we might face), and to consider various ways of reading them. We shall also look into reactions to and adaptations of Hogarth’s works from the eighteenth century to the present day.

Good high-resolution reproductions of many of Hogarth’s engravings can be found on the British Museum website
Major paintings my Hogarth (such as the Marriage-a-la-Mode sequence) can be found on the website of the National Gallery, London.
You may also find a copy of a printed edition of his major works useful, such as:
Sean Shesgreen (ed.) Engravings by Hogarth (Dover Publications).
Please acquaint yourselves with A Harlot’s Progress and A Rake’s Progress – two of his most famous pictorial narratives – before the first session.


Mi 14-16.00, Advanced Seminar:

Spooky! Ghosts and the Supernatural in English Literature
(From the Seventeenth Century to the Present)

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room: R11 T05 C59

Ghosts and the supernatural are a curious topic. The less people believed in them, the more they enjoyed reading stories about them. The ghost story was not killed off by the Enlightenment, and it was much loved by the Victorians.
In this seminar, we shall look into the literary and cultural history of all things spooky, covering various literary genres as well as interactions between texts and images / texts and music and discussing phenomena such as the stubborn survival and lasting appeal of the Gothic imagination under the conditions of modernity.
A substantial Reader will be available from the copy-shop Reckhammerweg in good time.