Anglistik und Amerikanistik

    Nele Pollatschek

    Lehrstuhl für englische Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft

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    Curriculum Vitae


    Doctoral candidate in English literature and language at Somerville College, Oxford

    Thesis topic: Victorian Literature and the Problem of Theodicy

    Supervisor: Dr. Seamus Perry, Balliol College, Oxford

    Graduate Scholarship from Ernst-Ludwig-Ehrlich Studienwerk (ELES)


    Master of Studies in English 1800-1914 at Somerville College, Oxford

    Graduate Scholarship from Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)


    Bachelor of Arts with distinction in English literature, linguistics, culture studies and Philosophy


    English Tripos II at St. John's College, Cambridge

    Scholarship from the state of Baden-Württemberg

    Research Interests

    My research is situated in the intersection between Literature and Philosophy, focusing on Romantic and Victorian versions of German Idealism. Authors of interest include George Eliot, Thomas Carlyle, James Anthony Froude, Arthur Hugh Clough and Charles Dickens. Bibliography and the history of the book are connected research concerns. I am also interested in the modern history of criticism, especially the contributions of I.A. Richards and William Empson.

    I am currently writing my doctoral thesis "Victorian literature and the Problem of Theodicy," which focuses on how Victorian "reprobate" authors (primarily J.A Froude, A.H. Clough, and George Eliot) reject and enact theodicy. The work employs both historicist and narratological methodologies and thus situates literary structures and techniques in a historical and philosophical framework. I am looking at the role of such literary concerns as the "omniscient" narrator, the "happy ending", and the realist assumption of mimesis for the creation and assurance of "the best of all possible worlds".



    "David S. Sorensen and Brent E. Kinser, Eds.: Thomas Carlyle. on Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History." Dickens Quarterly 31.3 (2014): 265-267. Print.

     “‘Discard the Word Fancy Altogether!’: Charles Dickens’s Defence of Ambiguity in Hard Times.” Dickens Quarterly 30.4 (2013): 278–288. Print.


    Conference Papers:

    "Writing the Problem of Evil: Theodicy in Philosophy and Poetry", Evil: Interdisciplinary Explorations, University of Oxford, 27 June 2014.

    “As Much Intended as Another: Marginalia in Editions of Clough’s Dipsychus”, Oxford English Graduate Conference, University of Oxford, 6 June 2014.


    Shakespeare's Tragedies and the Critics

    Why does Hamlet delay? Who or what is responsible for the things that happen to Macbeth? Is Titus Andronicus "one of the stupidest and most uninspired plays ever written" (T.S. Eliot)? Why must Romeo die? Shakespeare's Tragedies raise various questions. In this class, we will explore some of the seminal answers, their critical contexts and how criticism can shape our own appreciation. We will examine ethical, formalist and contextual traditions of reading Shakespeare's Tragedies and their implications for our own understanding. The class will begin with a short introduction to fundamental concepts such as tragic flaws or virtues, humorism, Aristotelian unities, as well as a critique of their utility for reading Shakespeare. Focusing on our own attempts at making sense of Shakespeare, we will discuss four tragedies – Titus Andronicus, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth – and critical approaches from Dr. Johnson, Goethe, Lessing, Coleridge, T.S. Eliot, Freud and Ernest Jones, Northrop Frye, Stephen Greenblatt, Harold Bloom, Katharine Maus and Gabriel Egan among others.

    Victorian Literature and Culture

    Despite recent challenges to the notion, popular imagination still likes to think of the Victorians as entirely different from us; a corseted, sexually-repressed, religiously dogmatic and socially ruthless people, entirely lacking the ability to reflect upon their own bigotry. Yet many 20th and 21st century cultural practices and concepts were invented or popularized by the Victorians. From evolution to homosexuality, communism to banking bubbles, atheism to feminism, vibrators to serialized entertainment, in many ways the Victorians created the world we live in. Reading George Eliot’s Silas Marner, Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, and Poetry by the Brownings, Tennyson and Matthew Arnold (among others), we will examine Victorian cultural practices, focusing on Victorian religion (and atheism), science, and social and gender politics. We will also use these literary examples to discuss poetic forms, realism and the Condition-of-England novel.



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