Joanna Raisbeck


I am a D.Phil Candidate in German at Somerville College. I spent a year as a Hanseatic Scholar doing archival research for my doctorate at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main. My D.Phil thesis is concerned with the Early Romantic poet and philosopher Karoline von Günderrode (1780-1806), and the poetic strategies that Günderrode adopts throughout her literary work — poetry, prose, and plays — to (syncretically) instate a metaphysical understanding of how the individual relates to the world. This focus on metaphysics aligns Günderrode with a anti-materialist strand of thought in German philosophy and literature around 1800, and specifically with the reception of Spinozism following the Pantheismusstreit of the 1780s. One of the primary aims of my thesis is to establish Günderrode a significant intellectual and literary figure alongside the better known Jena circle of Frühromantiker (e.g. Novalis, Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel).

I’m broadly interested in the literature, philosophy, and intellectual history of the eighteenth century. I have also worked on Therese Huber’s responses to Poland and the ‘Polenfrage’ that emerged from the First and Second Partitions of Poland. One side interest I have developed is looking at lesser known figures who have escaped critical attention through the creation of the German literary canon (a predominantly nineteenth-century effort). This has, for example, drawn me to work on the popular poet and pastor, Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten, and specifically on his religiously inflected response to Moses Mendelssohn’s early Wolffian aesthetics. 


Alongside the D.Phil, I have also been a Lecturer in German at Wadham College for 2017/18, where I taught translation to all years, both into English and into German. I have experience in teaching on all aspects of the undergraduate course, from the literature of the Early Modern period to twentieth-century drama and poetry.

Publications/Working Papers

‘ “Und monarchie ist beßer als anarchie, und Aristokratie, und Kannaillearchie – den daß ists jezt”: Ein neu entdeckter Brief Therese Hubers und Georg Forsters aus der Wilna-Zeit’, Georg-Forster-Studien 21 (2018)

‘Performativity and “Poetic” Epistemology: Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten’s Response to Moses Mendelssohn’s Aesthetics’, Edinburgh German Yearbook 12: Re-Populating the Eighteenth Century: Second-Tier Writing in the German Enlightenment, Johannes Birgfeld, Michael Wood (eds.) (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2018) (to be published November 2018)




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