Prof Nikolaj Lubecker

Nikolaj Lübecker, D.E.A. and Ph.D. (Université Paris 7 – Denis Diderot), M.A. (University of Copenhagen)
Professor of French and Film Studies, Fellow of St John's College


My research interests include avant-garde literature and culture, critical theory, and contemporary cinema. 

At the moment I am interested various aspects of what has been labeled ‘the non-human turn’ in the humanities: theoretical texts, fictions and artworks that seek to respond to recent technological and ecological developments in our society. In a number of articles and shorter projects, I am putting this corpus into dialogue with either (1) mid- to late 19th century French poets such as Baudelaire and Verlaine, or (2) contemporary avant-garde filmmakers such as Jean-Claude Rousseau and James Benning (on whom I am currently co-editing a volume with Daniele Rugo, Brunel University).

I have written three monographs. The first considered the relationship between literature and society in the work of Stéphane Mallarmé; a second book studied ideas of community in texts by André Breton, Georges Bataille, Jean-Paul Sartre and Roland Barthes. My most recent book examines a number of contemporary filmmakers — Bruno Dumont, Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Harmony Korine, Claire Denis, Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier among others — who have all made films that place the spectator in a position of intense discomfort: ‘feel-bad films’. I ask: What do the directors believe they can achieve via the ‘feel-bad’ experience? And (why) should we watch and study feel-bad films?


19th, 20th and 21st century French literature, film studies.

Graduate supervision

I welcome applications from students wishing to work in the fields of film studies (in particular experimental and art cinema), contemporary critical theory, avant-garde culture, and late 19th century French poetry.

Selected publications


The Feel-Bad Film. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. (2015)

Community, Myth and Recognition in 20th Century French Literature and Thought. London: Continuum. (2009)

Le Sacrifice de la sirène — « Un coup de dés » et la poétique de Stéphane Mallarmé. Copenhagen: Copenhagen University Press/Museum Tusculanum. (2003)

Translator: Georges Bataille: Manet. Et biografisk og kritisk studie. Transl. Per Aage Brandt & Lübecker. Copenhagen: Royal Academy of Arts (2014, in Danish)

Editor: Europe and it’s Others – Xenophobia in European Culture. Eds. Bogh, Bruhn, Madsen & Lübecker. Copenhagen: Tiderne Skifter. (2005, in Danish)

Some Recent Articles

‘The Politics of Images’. 392-407 in Paragraph 36.3. (2013)

‘The Poetry of Idiots: Siegrid Alnoy, Lars von Trier, and Bruno Dumont’. 438-54 in New Review of Film and Television Studies. (2013).

‘Camus, Bataille et la morale de la révolte’. 38-51 in Présence d’Albert Camus no. 3. (2012).

‘Bruno Dumont’s Twentynine Palms: The Avant-Garde as Tragedy?’. 235-47 in Studies in French Cinema 11:3. (2011)

‘Lars von Trier’s Dogville, A Contemporary Feel-Bad Film’. 157-68 in Kendall & Horeck (Eds.): The New Extremism in Cinema: From France to Europe. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. (2011)

‘The Politics of Desire in Paul Nizan’s La Conspiration’. 19-39 in Contemporary French Civilization 34:1. (2010)

‘Can I take you for a ride, Miss? — On the Titles of Wilhelm Freddie’. 173-83 in Aagesen (ed.): Wilhelm Freddie. Stick the Fork in your Eye! Copenhagen: The National Museum of Art. (2009)

‘Sartre’s Silence – The Limits of Recognition in Why Write?’. 42-57 in Sartre Studies International 14:1. (2008)

‘L’incarnation éclatée — André Breton entre deux siècles’, 125-38 in Joergensen & Ruth (eds.): Les Défis de l’œuvre. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press. (2007)

‘The Dedramatization of Violence in Claire Denis’s I Can’t Sleep’. 17-33 in Paragraph 30:2. (2007)

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