I am a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Modern Languages at All Souls College working on modern literature and film across eight European languages and beyond, with a focus on material in German, English, and Polish.
My first book, Mann’s Magic Mountain: World Literature and Closer Reading, was published by Oxford University Press in 2022. It is the first study of Thomas Mann’s landmark German modernist novel Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain, 1924) that takes as its starting point the interest in Mann’s book shown by non-academic readers. It is also a case study in a cluster of issues central to the interrelated fields of transnational German studies, global modernism studies, comparative literature, and reception theory: it discusses the global circulation of German modernism, popular afterlives of a canonical work, access to cultural participation, relationship between so-called ‘high-brow’ and ‘low-brow’ culture, and the limitations of traditional academic reading practices.
The book aims to present at once a sharply focussed and widely applicable argument about how and why literary scholars can and should study non-academic reading practices. I am now expanding this approach in two directions. My new research project, World Literature in Weimar Germany: Texts, Authors, Institutions, takes a broader view of the German-language literary scene between the wars to bring to light its transcultural and transnational connections by reintroducing fascinating books, writers, and literary institutions which were widely known and often critically acclaimed in the 1920s and 1930s but are nearly forgotten now. I am also writing a literary non-fiction book, Metamorphoses: In Search of Franz Kafka, which will tell Kafka’s story from the perspective of his readers around the world and introduce this reader-oriented approach to a wider audience. It will be published by Profile Books in 2024.