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I teach modern German literature and translation at St John's College and St Catherine's College.  At Faculty level, I provide lecture courses on Franz Kafka and on Writing after Auschwitz. I especially enjoy teaching on modernism, contemporary fiction, and anything related to questions of identity or to the environmental humanities.

 

Research 

My research is comparative in scope and currently ecocritical in focus. My doctoral research analysed responses to the climate crisis in contemporary fiction, with a particular attention to literary form. It considered works from a range of cultural contexts – primarily from Austria, Poland and Australia, through focus authors Christoph Ransmayr, Olga Tokarczuk and Richard Flanagan – with a thematic and aesthetic rather than geographic emphasis. One key aim of this research was to explore the relationship between 20th-century modernism and the ecologically oriented fiction of today; an important link between the contemporary authors on my corpus, for instance, was their reception and re-working of Kafka. I also discovered similarities to, and in some cases direct influence from, the singular Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann.

The overarching theoretical question of my doctoral research was what it might mean for a literary text to be ‘ecological’. This led me to explore theories of reader reception and to offer a view of comparative reading as a quasi-ecological practice. I am currently revising this work for publication in book form, as well as testing out new lines of inquiry that arise from it, including the connections (and the crucial differences) between writing about ecological destruction and the Holocaust. I am interested in literary and philosophical treatments of vegetarianism, veganism and disordered eating; in issues of gender; and in theories of reading, emotion and affect. Authors I have not yet published on, but whose work has been important to me, include Ruth Klüger and Marlen Haushofer.

 

Education

My first degree was in English Literature and German at Trinity College Dublin, followed by an MSt in German at Oxford (Distinction) and a PhD in Comparative Literature at TCD, where I also taught courses on German literature and film and German-English translation. I grew up in Donegal in the northwest of Ireland, attending Irish-speaking state schools (Gaelscoileanna). I have spent various periods of time along the way researching and studying in Freiburg, Innsbruck and Vienna.  

 

Current teaching

  • Prelims Papers III and IV (modern German literature and textual analysis)
  • Final Honours School Papers II, VIII, and X (translation into English, German literature 1770-present, Special Authors Kafka; Rilke; Bernhard; Brecht; Bachmann)
  • Lecture courses: Franz Kafka, Writing after Auschwitz
  • Dissertation supervision for FHS and for MSt in German 

 

Publications

Fallmeister Franza: Journeys of Mastery in Ransmayr and Bachmann’, Austrian Studies 31 (2023)

‘An axe for the rising sea: Kafka’s Anthropocene afterlives’, Oxford German Studies 51 (2022)

‘In Echo’s Cave: Gendered Guilt and Anthropocene Repercussions in Texts by Christoph Ransmayr and Valerie Fritsch’, Austrian Studies 30 (2022) 

‘From Todesarten to Artensterben: Re-reading Bachmann through an ecocritical lens’, Austrian Studies 32 (forthcoming 2024)

‘Talking About Trees: The Paradox of the Environmental Humanities’, in Humanities Forward: Opportunity, Innovation, Policy in the 21st Century, ed. Stephan Nitu and Arlene Holmes-Henderson (Liverpool UP, in preparation for 2024)

 

Podcast episodes

What's the Point podcast, 'Why science alone can't solve the climate crisis' (guest)

Behind the Headlines series, 'Waste Lands: Imagining Climate Catastrophe' (panel discussion; video recording here)

Hublic Sphere podcast, 'Looking East, Looking West: Should we change how we talk about Eastern Europe?' (host) 

 

Awards and distinctions 

Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship, 2018-23

Ertegun Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities, 2017-18

TCD Foundation Scholarship, 2014-21

TCD Gold Medal, 2017

Carr-Jackson Dissertation Prize (German), 2017

Undergraduate Awards Global Winner in category Music, Film & Theatre, 2017

DAAD Jahresstipendium, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 2014-15

DAAD Sommerstipendium, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2013

Robert Wallace Henry Exhibition (English), 2013

Ernst Scheyer Prize I (German), 2013