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 Winter 2015/16

Mo 18-19.00, Kolloquium

The Extra Slot: Selected Research Topics

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl


This informal colloquium is for all those whose interests, enthusiasms and ambitions go well beyond a compulsory syllabus of lectures and seminars. It also goes beyond the acquisition of Leistungsnachweise and credit points (of which there will be none whatsoever). Instead, it provides a space for discussing texts and images (and perhaps also music) as well as questions and issues you find particularly interesting / fascinating / baffling. It is also a forum for discussing projects – yours as well as mine (ranging from seminar papers to BA/MA theses, or perhaps your first conference paper or plans for a Ph.D. thesis, to all sorts of publications etc.). The Extra Slot is primarily aimed at students below Ph.D. level who have taken (or who are taking) one or several of my seminars and lectures.



Di 10-12.00 Seminar:

From Lilliput to Brobdingnag: Jonathan Swift

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room: R11 T04 C84

Many readers of today are acquainted – or think they are – with Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. What they really know are watered-down versions or film adaptations re-packaging the text as an example of children’s literature. However, Swift’s texts were most definitely written with adult readers in mind. They are witty, entertaining, provocative and full of biting satire. In them, we find a wide range of ideas - an obsession with the grosser aspects of the human body as well as a passionate interest in politics. As an Irishman, Swift addressed the colonial condition of Ireland in various ways, some of them extremely drastic, seeming to advocate cannibalism as a way of fighting poverty.

In this seminar, we are going to discuss Gulliver’s Travels, shorter satirical prose such as A Modest Proposal, and a selection of his poems. These will be connected with their cultural and historical contexts and various theoretical approaches (including post-colonial ones) that may enhance our understanding of these texts.

Please buy the following editions (and none other!): Swift, Jonathan, (ed. Rawson, Claude, with notes by Higgins, Ian), Gulliver’s Travels (Oxford World’s Classics) and Swift, Jonathan (edd.: Ross, Angus, and Woolley, David), Major Works including A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (Oxford World’s Classics).



Di 14-16.00, Seminar:

Glasgow Zen: New Scottish Poetry

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room:  R11 T05 C59

This seminar will offer an opportunity to discover Scottish poets of the present and their work.  Although the Scottish referendum of 2014 failed to re-establish Scotland as an independent country, the status of Scotland is still very much a matter of debate, and poetry often contributes to this debate. However, not all poetry is political, and we will read a wide variety of poems addressing a wide range of Topics.

A reader will be provided. The website of the Scottish Poetry Library can serve as an excellent introduction to what is currently happening in Scottish poetry; it can be found here:

Requirements: reading the assigned texts, thorough preparation, active participation, and written work according to your particular Studienordnung. As always: read, think, enjoy (!!), annotate (!) and look things up if necessary.



Mi 10-12.00, Seminar:

London in Maps: From sixteenth-century woodcuts to present-day digital resources

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room: R11 T04 C84

Maps are complex semantic systems combining visual and textual elements. They embody ways of looking at a city – they are about what is where, but they are also about the perception of space. Maps of London are sources of factual information, but they also stimulate the imagination, suggesting ideas of what London and London life is all about. They can be extraordinary works of art, such as the earliest maps of London which were populated by tiny Elizabethan Londoners doing everyday things. When, in the course of the eighteenth century, London became the biggest city in the world, maps became an essential means of navigating and making sense of a place that no Londoner could ever hope to know in its entirety.

From the nineteenth century on, maps have been used to find answers to new questions. In Victorian times Dr John Snow discovered the link between cholera and polluted water by mapping the deadly effect of the disease. Charles Booth began to map poverty and crime. Recent developments in information technology have brought about entirely new ways of mapping London, visualising things such as ethnic diversity and language use, the ways in which Londoners use the underground, the mental maps of cab drivers, the use of bicycles, the average sense of well-being in various parts of London, life expectancy and causes of death, crime, accidents, homelessness and the ways in which London communicates with the rest of the world through air traffic, twitter and photographs made available on the internet. Such maps may not look like conventional maps any more, using new ways of combining visual and textual elements.

Individual maps, their significance as cultural artefacts, textual/visual semantic systems and historical sources as well as various approaches to mapping will be studied in depth. A reader will be made available. The following website provides a good introduction to some current ways of mapping London:

Requirements: thorough preparation for each session, active participation, and written work according to your particular Studienordnung. As always: read, think, enjoy (!!), annotate (!) and look things up if necessary.



Mi 14-16.00, Seminar:

A Poet and his Pet Pig: Robert Harrick

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

Room: R11 T04 C59

Robert Herrick was a remarkable seventeenth-century author whose rediscovery has long been overdue. Born into a wealthy family of goldsmiths (the equivalent of modern bankers), he became a clergyman. Herrick spent much of his life in a remote Devonshire village. He enjoyed life (occasionally leaving his parish behind and going to London to spend time with his mistress) and had a somewhat eccentric sense of humour, keeping a pet pig that was taught to drink beer from its own tankard.

The revolutionary period brought the loss of his position as a clergyman; as he was a royalist, he was ejected from his living in 1647. The poems he wrote in these difficult times are particularly interesting: What do you do as a poet when you do not agree with the new, revolutionary political system that has just taken your job and livelihood away?

Herrick wrote highly polished, short poems that suggest an obsession with sex, death and the passing of time. The musical quality of work is extraordinary; he knew how to play not only with ideas but also with sounds and rhythms. However, we also find evidence of a royalist agenda in his poetry. Once the political system changed again with the Restoration (1660), Herrick was reinstated and returned to his village.

A reader will be made available. His poems are also available in EEBO (titles: Hesperides, 1648, and Noble Numbers, 1647) which gives you a chance to acquaint yourselves with his work right now. Requirements: thorough preparation for each session, active participation, and written work according to your particular Studienordnung. As always: read, think, enjoy (!!), annotate (!) and look things up if necessary.