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Benjamin Morgan, M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon)

Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Fellow of Worcester College, Modern Languages Coordinator for Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation


Benjamin Morgan's main research interests are in German intellectual history (medieval mysticism, Nietzsche, early psychoanalysis, Heidegger, the Frankfurt School); German film (Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, the 'Heimat' film) and comparative literature. He has also worked on contemporary writing (Jelinek, Trojanow, McEwan). His current book project engages critically with the work of the Frankfurt School during the 1930s and 1940s to elaborate a model of socially committed, reflexive interdisciplinarity for the 21st century.


German language and literature. Special interests in German intellectual history; German film; the cross-over between the cognitive sciences and phenomenology

I supervise graduate work on the cultural history of the German speaking world from the late 19th century to the present: literature, philosophy, film and other cultural institutions in a cultural context.

D.Phil topics supervised to date: German film 1930-1950; Heidegger and French post-structuralism; Heidegger and Nietzsche; the 'Neues Museum' as a new paradigm of cultural memory; the everyday in Berlin and Vienna circa 1900; Journal Culture in the Weimar Republic; Agency in the films of Petzold, Akın, Tykwer; Genre in contemporary German narrative film, esp. Dominik Graf; The poetry of Thomas Kling in the context of BRD in the 1970s and 1980s; a comparative approach to the work of Thomas Bernhard; the international high and pop cultural reception of Thomas Mann's 'Zauberberg'; Embodied cognition in German modernism; the metaphor of 'games' in Wittgenstein and Hermann Hesse; Gerda Walther's phenomenology in the context of German modernism; Walter Benjamin and Calderon; Wittgenstein, creativity and AI.


Monograph: On becoming God: late medieval mysticism and the modern Western self (New York: Fordham UP, 2013)

Edited book: Carolin Duttlinger, Ben Morgan, Anthony Phelan, eds., Walter Benjamins anthropologisches Denken (Freiburg iB: Rombach, 2012)

Edited Special Issue: Matthew Reynolds, Mohamed-Salah Omri, Ben Morgan and Céline Sabiron, eds., Comparative Criticism: Histories and Methods, Comparative Critical Studies, Vol. 12.2 (2015).

Edited Special Issue: Ben Morgan, Sowon Park, Ellen Spolsky, “Situated Cognition and the Study of Culture,” Poetics Today vol. 38.2 (2017) 


“I & We: Arendt, Plurality, and the Literary Scaffolding of Collective Intentionality” (BM first author, co-authored with Dan Zahavi, Felix Budelmann and Naomi Rokotnitz), Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, vol. 25, nr. 2 (2023): 235-64.


“Forgetting Virgil with Freud, Lear and James: A hermeneutics of concern and co-creation,” in: Kevin Hilliard, Carolin Duttlinger, Charlie Louth, eds. From the Enlightenment to Modernism: Three Centuries of German Literature — Essays for Ritchie Robertson (Cambridge: Legenda, 2021), pp. 104-119.


“Rediscovering The Undiscovered Self: Jung, situated first-person phenomenology, and WEIRD psychology,” Symbiosis: A Journal of Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations, vol. 25.2 (2021): 153-81.


“Embodying and Distributing World Literature: Goethe’s Novelle in the context of the 1820s,” in: German in the World, ed. Ben Schofield and James Hodkinson (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2020), pp. 34-57. 


“A 5th E: Distributed Cognition and the Question of Ethics in Benjamin and Vygotsky, and Horkheimer and Dewey,” in: Distributed Cognition in Victorian Culture and Modernism, ed. Miranda Anderson, Peter Garrett, Mark Sprevak (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2020), pp. 232-250. 


“How to Write a Phenomenology of Religious Life: Charles Taylor, William James, Martin Heidegger, Gerda Walther and a Practical Example from the Manuscript Transmission of the ‘Sister Catherine’ Treatise,” in: Religiöse Selbstbestimmung: Anfänge im Spätmittelalter, ed. Dietmar Mieth and Regina Schiewer (Frankfurt am Main: Kohlhammer, 2020), pp. 281-315. [Co-authored with Niamh Burns]


“Freedom in Theory and Practice: Heidegger, Eckhart and a first edition of Schelling’s 1809 Philosophical Investigations,” in: Mystik und Idealismus: Eine Lichtung des deutschen Waldes, ed. Andrés Quero-Sánchez (Leiden: Brill, 2020), pp. 241-300.


 “Walter Benjamin Re-Situated,” Paragraph, vol. 41.2 (2018): 218–232.


“Philosophy,” in: Franz Kafka in Context, ed. Carolin Duttlinger (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), pp. 191-99.


“Law in Action: Ian McEwan’s The Children Act and the Limits of Legal Practices in Menke’s ‘Law and Violence,” in: Christoph Menke, et al., Law and Violence: Christoph Menke in Dialogue (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2018), pp. 137-166.


“Relational Authenticity,” in: Neuroexistentialism: Meaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience, ed. Gregg D. Caruso and Owen Flanagan (New York: OUP, 2018), pp. 126-45. [Co-authored with Shaun Gallagher and Naomi Rokotnitz]


“Varieties of Freedom: Eckhart, Seuse, ›Sister Catherine‹ and the Embodied Cognition Research Programme,” Meister-Eckhart-Jahrbuch, vol. 12 (2018), pp. 275-91.


“Predigt 60: ‘In omnibus requiem quaesivi’,” in: Lectura Eckhardi: Predigten Meister Eckharts von Fachgelehrten gelesen und gedeutet IV, ed. Georg Steer and Loris Sturlese (Frankfurt am Main: Kohlhammer, 2017), pp. 70-94 [translated by Benjamin Schaper]


"Bodleian Library, MS. Laud Misc. 479. Love in Context: Meister Eckhart’s Sermon 60 in an Oxford and a Munich Manuscript." Oxford German Studies, 46.2 (2017): 236-240.


“Embodied Cognition and the Project of the Bildungsroman: Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship and Daniel Deronda,” Poetics Today, vol. 38.2 (2017): 341-62.


“Situated Cognition and the Study of Culture: An Introduction,” Poetics Today, vol. 38.2 (2017): 213-33.


“Individual Mysticism and Eckhart Today,” Meister-Eckhart-Jahrbuch, vol. 10 (2016), pp. 25-48.


 “Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Aspekte zur Geschichte des Individuums im 14. und 15. Jahrhundert,” in: Überlieferungsgeschichte transdisziplinär: Neue Perspektiven auf ein germanistisches Forschungsparadigma, ed. Dorothea Klein with Horst Brunner and Freimut Löser (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2016), pp. 153-62.


"Rhetorical Transformations: The Meaning of Scribal Errors in Munich Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Cgm 133", in: Coral Dietl and Dietmar Mieth, eds., Sprachbilder und Bildersprache bei Meister Eckhart und in seiner Zeit, Meister Eckhart Jahrbuch vol. 9 (2015), pp. 179-194.

"The Limits of Political Hope in 1988: Jelinek's 'Wolken.Heim.' in context", Austrian Studies, vol. 22 (2014), pp. 166-182.

"The pleasure of the text: what two manuscripts can tell us about becoming God", Medieval Mystical Theology, vol. 23., no. 1 (June 2014), pp. 52-64,

“Kierkegaard in the German-speaking world during the early 20th century,” in Manfred Engel and Ritchie Robertson, eds., Kafka und die Religion in der Moderne (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2014), pp. 71-92.

“How to read a mystical text: Eckhart Sermons 5a and 5b,” in Louise Nelstrop and Simon Podmore, eds., Christian Mysticism and Incarnational Theology - Between Transcendence and Immanence (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 93-106.

“Two Models of Spiritual Life and Narrative Sovereignty: Trojanow and Religion”, in Julian Preece, ed., Ilija Trojanow (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013), pp. 152-170.

Georg Trakl (1887-1914) in Context: Poetry and Experience in the Cultural Debates of the Brenner Circle,” Oxford German Studies, vol. 41.3 (2012), pp. 327-347

"Heidegger and the Anthropology of Everyday Life,” in Carolin Duttlinger, Ben Morgan and Anthony Phelan, eds., Walter Benjamins anthropologisches Denken (Freiburg iB: Rombach, 2012), pp. 95-124.

Relating to Ourselves without a Self: Eckhart and Neuroscience,” Medieval Mystical Theology, vol. 20 (2011), pp. 66-84.

Some problems with the very idea of otherness,” Literature and Theology, vol. 25, no. 4 (2011), pp. 436-55.

“The Cultural Impact of Popular Film,” in Rebecca Braun and Lyn Marven, eds., Cultural Impact in the German Context: Studies in Transmission, Reception and Influence (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010), pp. 58-77.

“The Limits of Human Togetherness,” Limbus: Australisches Jahrbuch für germanistische Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft Vol. 3 (2010), pp. 159-76.

“The Unfolding of Our Lives Together: Heidegger and Medieval Mysticism,” in Pamela Sue Anderson, ed., New Topics in Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Resistance and Spiritual Practices (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), pp. 235-48.

“Abandoning Selfhood with Medieval Mystics,” in Anna Holland and Richard Scholar, eds., Pre-Histories and Afterlives: Studies in Critical Method (London: Legenda, 2009), pp. 29-43.

“Technology and Ordinary Life in Thea von Harbou’s and Fritz Lang’s Die Frau im Mond,” Literatur für Leser Vol. 30 No. 4 (2007), pp. 195-211.

“Elfriede Jelinek,” in Hilary Brown, ed., Landmarks in German Women’s Writing (Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), pp. 193-210.

"Music in Nazi Film: How different is 'Triumph of the Will'", Studies in European Cinema, 3 (2006), 37-53

"Eckhart and the Incarnation: Some Practical Details", Eckhart Review, 13 (2004), 37-50

"Fear and Self Control in The Antichrist: Nietzsche's Prussian Past", in: Nietzsche and the German Tradition, ed. Nicholas Martin (Bern: Peter Lang, 2003), 139-53

“Masculinity in the Films of Leni Riefenstahl”, in Richie Robertson and Katrin Kohl, eds. Words, Texts, Images: Selected Papers from the CUTG (Bern: Peter Lang, 2002), pp. 175-97.

"Jelinek, 'Krankheit oder moderne Frauen'", in: Landmarks in German drama (Bern: Lang, 2002), 225-242

"The project of the Frankfurt School", Telos, Nr. 119 (2001), 75-98

"'Metropolis' - The archetypal version: sentimentality and self-control in the reception of the film", in: Fritz lang's 'Metropolis': Cinematic Visions of Technology and Fear (Camden House, 2000), 288-309

Developing the Modern Concept of the Self: The Trial of Meister Eckhart,” Telos, No. 116 (Summer 1999), 56-80.

“At One Remove: The Paradoxes of Jelinek's Narrative Voice,” in Christa Bürger, ed., Literatur und Leben: Stationen weiblichen Schreibens im 20. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart: M&P, 1996), pp. 132-51.