Welcome to the Section of British Literature and Culture

Chair of British Literature and Culture

Prof. Dr. Christoph Heyl

FRHistS, FSA Scot

Room:       R12 R05 A26
Tel.:          +49 201 183-4711
Fax:          +49 201 183-4713
e-mail:      christoph.heyl@uni-due.de

Office hours:

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

Curriculum Vitae


July 2015: Received the 2015 Lehrpreis der Universität Duisburg-Essen (the university´s award for excellence in academic teaching).


October 2012 - September 2014: Head of Department

2011 – present

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

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:

Mieg, Harald A. and Heyl, Christoph (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).



A Passion For Privacy 


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.



Books: Work in Progress:

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

Proceedings: Rieuwerts, Sigrid, Heyl, Christoph and Allan, Shona (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:


“Digitalisierung. Wie werden wir morgen lesen?” in: Kaube, Jürgen and Laakmann, Jörn (eds.), Das Lexikon der offenen Fragen (Stuttgart: Metzler, forthcoming), pp. 54-55.

“Oriental Objects in 17th Century English Cabinets of Curiosities: The Tradescant Collection” in: Ibata, Hélène (ed.), Geographies of Contact: Contexts of Encounter between Britain and the Middle East (Strasbourg: Les presses universitaires de Strasbourg, forthcoming), 16 pp.

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

“Handel’s Oratorios and the Taste of Eighteenth-Century London Audiences: Solomon as a Box Office Disaster” in: Ogée, Frédéric and Wagner, Peter (eds.), Taste and the Senses in the Eighteenth Century IV (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming), 17 pp.

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

“A Miserable Sight: The Great Fire of London, 1666” in: Brakensiek, Stefan and Claridge, Claudia (eds.), Fiasko. Scheitern in der Frühen Neuzeit. Beiträge zu einer Kulturgeschichte des Misserfolgs (Bielefeld,: Transcript Verlag, 2015) pp. 111-133.

“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.

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

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

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

„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.

“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.

„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. www.wvttrier.de/top/proceedings_2010_wvt.pdf

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

„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.

„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.

„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.

"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.

„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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

„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.




c) Reviews: 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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: http://www.sehepunkte.de/2007/10/pdf/12085.pdf

Snook, Edith, Women, Reading and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England (Aldershot, 2005) in: Sehepunkte 7 (2007, Nr. 10) (ISSN 1618-6168), URL: http://www.sehepunkte.de/2007/10/pdf/12084.pdf

Biagoli, Mario, Galileo’s Instruments of Credit. Telescopes, Instruments, Secrecy (Chicago, 2006) in: Sehepunkte 7 (2007, Nr. 10) (ISSN 1618-6168), URL: http://www.sehepunkte.de/2007/10/pdf/9938.pdf


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.

Keynotes, Invited Papers, Papers

July 2015: Essen, international conference Translated Memories: Trans­generational Perspectives in Literature on the Holocaust (Steinheim-Institut für Deutsch-Jüdische Geschichte): invited paper (with Richard Aronowitz, Oxford/London): “Translating Memory: Where Parallel Lines of Fact and Fiction Meet”.

March 2015: New Delhi (Jawaharlal Nehru University, School of Media Studies), invited paper: “A New Rome? The Ruins of London as a Tourist Attraction of the Future”.

March 2015: New Delhi (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Centre of English Studies), invited paper: “Bizarre Animals and British Literature”.

January 2015: Essen, Lebenslanges Lernen e.V. (Universität Duisburg-Essen). Invited paper: „Was heißt hier ‚gebildet‘?“

November 2014: Essen (Universität Duisburg-Essen). Series of lectures on Understanding and Mastering the Complex City (Ringvorlesung, Profilschwerpunkts „Urbane Systeme“): “From Pre-Modern to Modern Urban Complexity: The Case of London”.


July 2014: London, „Literary London 2014: Ages of London“ (Literary London Society/Institute of English Studies, University of London): “Finer as a Ruin than in its Present State? Exploring the Future Ruins of London”

June 2014: Bremen (Universität Bremen). Invited paper (Konrektorin für Lehre und Studium / Konrektorin für Interkulturalität und Internationalität): „Was heißt hier ‚gebildet‘?“

June 2014: Strasbourg, interdisciplinary conference “Géographies des contacts. Contextes des rencontres entre les îles Britanniques et le Moyen-Orient“ (Université de Strasbourg). Invited paper: „Oriental Artefacts in English 17th Century Cabinets of Curiosities: The Tradescant Collection.”

June 2014: Geneva, Conference on „The Senses of Modernity“ (Université de Genève). Keynote: „The Arts and Urban Modernity in the 18th Century: The Case of William Hogarth.”


May 2014: Sopot/Gdańsk, Literary festival “Between/Pomiędzy“ and conference „New Beginnings in Scottish Literature“ (Uniwersytet Gdański). Keynote: „O’er Scotia’s parches lands the Naiads flew: Beginnings in Robert Fergusson’s The Rivers of Scotland (1773)” plus musical entertainment: Scottish music of the eighteenth century.

March 2014: Essen, „Universität im Spannungsfeld zwischen Wissen­schaftsfreiheit, religiöser Vielfalt und medialer Darstellung“ (Universität Duisburg-Essen): „Die Gegenstände der Geisteswissenschaften als Provokation. Konzept der Ringvorlesung Was heißt hier „gebildet“?

June 2013: Jena (Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität). Invited paper: „Scottish Literature in the Romantic Era.“

April 2013: Essen, interdisciplinary series of lectures on Pleiten, Pech und Pannen: Zur Logik des Scheiterns in der Frühen Neuzeit. „A Miserable Sight: Der Großbrand von London (1666).“


April 2013: Essen (Mittwochsgesellschaft Ruhr). Invited paper: „London als Ruinenstadt der Zukunft.“

December 2012: Essen (Deutsch-Englische Gesellschaft Ruhr). Invited paper: „Barometz, Dodo, Jubjub, Heffalump! Bizarre Animals and British Literature: A Special Relationship.“

October 2012: Warsaw/Kasimierz Dolny, interdisciplinary conference Scotland in Europe (Uniwersytet Warszawski): „Scotland in Europe?“

June 2012: Frankfurt (Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft and Presse-Club Frankfurt). Invited paper: „Barometz, Dodo, Jubjub, Heffalump! Bizarre Animals and British Literature: A Special Relationship.”

April 2012: Los Angeles, interdisciplinary conference on Taste and the Senses in the Eighteenth Century (Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies, University of California at Los Angeles). Invited paper: „Handel’s Oratorios and the Taste of Eighteenth-Century London Audiences: Solomon as a Box Office Disaster.”

November 2011: Bamberg, interdisciplinary series of lectures: Animalia in Fabula (Universität Bamberg). Invited paper: „Tatu Arepa, Barometz, Jubjub, Heffalump: Vom Heimischwerden bizarrer Tiere in der Englischen Literatur.“

May 2011: Vancouver, interdisciplinary conference on The Elements: Air. (Humboldt Association of Canada, University of British Columbia.)  Keynote: “Grappling with the Intangible: A (Very) Short Cultural History of the Air.”

September 2010: Burg Schönburg, Celebrating Scot(t)s Voices (Universität Mainz), “The Decline and Fall of the Border Pipes: Material Culture, Cultural Practice and Notions of National Identity”.

September 2010: Saarbrücken, Anglistentag 2010, keynote: “The changes that have come over me: The Scottish Government Initiative Homecoming Scotland and Post-Devolution Perceptions of Scottish Literature, Culture and Identity.”

July 2010: Ober-Ramstadt, Jahrestagung der Lichtenberg-Gesellschaft: „Wenn die Menschen plötzlich tugendhaft würden, so müßten viele Tausende verhungern. Kriminaltiät in Hogarths London.“

January 2010: Berlin, Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft, Landesgruppe Berlin. Invited paper: “Almost insufferable to our Ears: Primitivism, Early Romanticism and the Perception of the Highland Bagpipes.

December 2009: Regensburg. Gender and Creation in Early Modern England (Universität Regensburg). Invited paper: „Dame Nature’s Imagination. Creation, Creativity and Gender.“

November 2009: Göttingen, interdisciplinary conference: Darwin among the Disciplines (Georg August-Universität). Invited paper: “The Posthumous Evolution of the Dodo: From Charles Darwin to Lewis Carroll and Beyond.” This paper also requested as an invited paper at the following conference:


November 2009: Siegen, interdisciplinary conference: Darwin our Contemporary: Re-Imaginations and Medializations of Darwin and Cultures of Neo-Darwinian Ideas (Universität Siegen). Invited paper: “The Posthumous Evolution of the Dodo: From Charles Darwin to Lewis Carroll and Beyond.”

October 2009: Landau, 7th LAPASEC Symposium on the Eighteenth Century (Universität Landau / Université Paris VI-Diderot): “Excursions into the Dubious Realms of Trivia and Cloacina.”

September 2009: Berlin, interdisciplinary conference: Discovering the Human: Life Sciences and the Arts in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Invited paper: “Willia Hogarth and Science”.

May 2009: Ottawa, interdisciplinary conference: The Elements: Fire (Humboldt Association of Canada / University of Ottawa). Keynote: “Perceptions of the Great Fire of London, 1666: Religious and Secular Constructions of a Disaster.”

May 2009: Geneva, Université de Genève. Invited paper: “Exotism, Primitivism and Eighteenth-Century Perceptions of Scottish Music.”

March 2009: London, Centre for Metropolitan History (School of Advanced Study, University of London). Invited paper: “German- and Yiddish-Speaking Immigrants in London: Experience and Literary Transformation.”

January 2009: Jena, Friedrich Schiller-Universität. Invited paper: „Romanticism, Post-Romanticism and English Travel Writing“.

November 2008: Darmstadt, Technische Universität Darmstadt. Invited paper: „Sherlock’s Home: London und die Entstehung des englischen Kriminalromans.“

October 2008: Paris, 6th LAPASEC Symposium on the Eighteenth Century (Université Paris-Diderot), “Horrid Howling or Sublime Sensation? Reactions to the Scottish Bagpipes and Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Theory”.

October 2008: Edinburgh, workshop on Transnational Histories of the Book (British Academy and Centre for the History of the Book, University of Edinburgh): “Early Nineteenth-Century Travel Literature and its Impact on Early Tourism: A Case Study.”

September 2008: Berlin, interdisciplinary conference Urbs Incensa – ästhetische Transformationen der brennende Stadt (Max Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Florenz, and Historisches Seminar der Universität Luzern). Invited paper: „God´s Terrible Voice in the City: Anmerkungen zur literarischen Rezeption des Great Fire of London, 1666.“

September 2008: Berlin, International Summer School on Metropolitan Studies (Georg Simmel-Zentrum für Metropolenforschung, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Invited contribution: one-day workshop on „London as the Prototype of the Western Metropolis.“

September 2008: Frankfurt, Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft Rhein-Main and Presse-Club Frankfurt. Invited paper: „London’s Tourist Attractions of the Future“.

August 2008: Bamberg, conference: Mediating Identities in Eighteenth-Century England (Otto-Friedrich-Universität), invited paper (response): “Space and Identity in Eighteenth-Century England”.

July 2008: Berlin, August Boekh Antike-Zentrum and Georg Simmel-Zentrum für Metropolenforschung (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Invited paper: „London – die Stadt und ihr antikes Erbe.“



In preparation:


November 2015: Essen (Bund Deutscher Architekten, Forum Kunst & Architektur). Invited paper: „Die Genese der modernen großstädtischen Identität: Architektur und Privatsphäre in London, ca. 1660-1800).“


November 2015: Frankfurt (Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft Rhein-Main / Presseclub Frankfurt). Paper on eighteenth-century musical aesthetics (with practical demonstrations).

February 2016: Munich (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften), workshop Present Pasts: Historical Consciousness and the Experience of Modernity, invited paper.





Current Lectures and Seminars

Winter Semester 2016/17 



The Scottish Play:

Shakespeare, Macbeth

Di 10-12.00

Murder, madness and marching trees, encounters with witches and narrow escapes, dark prophecies, a ghost, madness, death in various shapes and forms, a battle and a coronation –  Macbeth has it all. This course will give you an opportunity to engage in a close reading of this play. We shall consider historical and cultural contexts as well as questions relating to the staging of the play, both in Shakespeare’s time and today. We shall also look at works of art (mainly paintings) inspired by Macbeth and cinematic adaptations, including a Japanese and a Bollywood version.

            Please buy a good current critical edition of Macbeth (i.e. in either in the Arden Shakespeare series or the Oxford World’s Classics series) and read the play before the beginning of the semester. No other editions please – do not waste your money on texts without substantial annotations as these would be useless for the purposes of this course.

            Requirements: thorough preparation for each session, active participation, and written work according to your particular Studienordnung. You should have read the whole of the play by the beginning of the semester. As always: think, enjoy (!!), annotate (!) and look things up if necessary.



By day serpent, by night vampire:

London in Verse

Di 14-16

London, the prototype of the Western Metropolis, it has been experienced as frustrating and exhilarating in equal measure, as a place that can be both intimately familiar and unknowable in its vast entirety. Poetry has always provided ways of reacting to the grand challenge that is London. To look at poems on London through the centuries is to look at the development of a great city as well as the development of its perception in an important genre in urban literature.

We shall do close readings of selected poems (from the Middle Ages to the present day). This course will help to develop both your understanding of poetry and your knowledge of London and its rich cultural history.

A reader will be made available (to be obtained from the usual place, Reckhammerweg 4, in late September). 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.



Vorlesung: English Literature

in the Eighteenth Century

Mi 10-12

The eighteenth century was a particularly interesting and exciting period in the history of English literature. This was when the modern world – i.e. our world – began to take shape. This was when many phenomena such as the journalism as we know it and the novel came into being and immediately found a mass readership. Due to special historical, cultural and social conditions, English literature could develop in ways that would have been unthinkable on the continent.

            This lecture course covers a wide range of texts and topics such as the rise of the novel (and its various shapes and forms: epistolary, erotic, experimental, Gothic etc.), other prose texts (travel literature, diaries and autobiographies such as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s description of her experiences in Turkey, James Boswell’s outrageously honest diaries and the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, an ex-slave), poetry (for instance Alexander Pope’s elegant and polished pieces on topics such stupid books by stupid people an­d poems by female authors addressing the issue of gender roles and the position of women in society) and drama (including musical drama).

            English literature is more than Literature produced in England; this is why particular attention will be paid to important authors from Scotland and their texts – you will get acquainted with, for instance, Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns who both highlighted the Scottishness of their texts by using elements of Scots rather than standard English. We shall also consider the very close links between literature and the visual arts as well as literature and music. This means that there will also be lots to see and quite a bit to hear in this introduction to eighteenth-century English literature.

All texts to be discussed in this lecture course are available in ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online). You should familiarize yourselves with this digital resource before the beginning of the semester.


Changed beyond recognition:

Industrialisation and Deindustrialisation

in Cultural and Literary History

Mi 14-16

From the late eighteenth century onwards, life in Britain was shaken up by the Industrial Revolution. It changed the way people lived and worked, bringing wealth to some and destitution to others. It deeply affected daily routines material culture and the fabric of society at large. It also created an almost instant nostalgia for the pre-industrial world with its (supposedly) simple life and unspoiled nature. Therefore, the Industrial Revolution was one of the key impulses contributing to the advent of Romanticism.

Two centuries later, life and work in Britain once again began to go through a process of profound change – this time caused by the process of de-industrialisation, the breakdown of economic, material and social structures depending on industrial production. All of this must sound more than familiar to people living in the Ruhr valley which still faces the key problem of de-industrialisation: How can a region that has lost its former economic purpose find an economic future, and also a future in terms of identity?

This seminar will offer a survey not only of actual developments in the fields of economic and social history. It will look in equal measure at how literature bas been engaging with industrialisation and de-industrialisation, trying to make sense of the past, to digest the present and to explore possible futures. Because of the obvious local relevance of all of these topics, this course will also incorporate a hands-on comparative approach, looking not only at selected German texts, but also at post-industrial sites such as Zeche Zollverein.

A reader will be made available (to be obtained from the usual place, Reckhammerweg 4, in late September). 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.



The Extra Slot

Mo 18-19.00

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.