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Prof. Dr. Benjamin Kohlmann

I am on sabbatical during WS 2022-23. 

Please email me to set up an appointment.



09/2011-06/2017    Habilitation, English Literature, University of Freiburg

10/2007-09/2010    PhD, English Literature, Lincoln College, University of Oxford

08/2004-09/2007    MA, Philosophy / English Literature, University of Freiburg and                                     Yale University

10/2001-07/2004    Undergraduate Studies, Philosophy / English Literature,                                                 University of Freiburg


2022                          Offer: Chair of English Literature and Culture, FAU Erlangen-                                        Nuremberg (declined)

11/2020-present       Full Professor (Heisenberg), University of Regensburg

04/2020-10/2020     Research Fellow (Heisenberg), University of Regensburg

04/2019-03/2020     Acting Professor of English Literature, University of Hamburg

09/2011-08/2019     Assistant / Associate Professor, University of Freiburg

10/2020-08/2011     Lecturer, University of Regensburg

Visiting Positions

  • Visiting Fellow, Department of Comparative Literature, Queen Mary University London (2019; one month)
  • Visiting Fellow, English Department, University of California, Davis (2018; three months)
  • Visiting Member, Jesus College, University of Cambridge (2016-2017; six months)
  • Visiting Fellow, English Department, University of East Anglia (2016-2017; six months)
  • Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University (2012-2013; twelve months)

Prizes and Fellowships

  • Heisenberg Programme, German Research Foundation (five-year research grant, 2020-2025)
  • Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), 2018
  • Project funding (three years), "Literature, Liberalism, and the Laissez-Faire Economy, 1776-1900", Elite Programme for Postdocs, Baden Württemberg Foundation (funding for PhD student and additional funding for conference organisation and travel)
  • Research Fellowship, German Research Foundation
  • Feodor Lynen Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Michael Foster Memorial Scholarship, awarded by the University of Oxford (waiving university and college fees during doctoral study)
  • PhD scholarship, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Baden-Württemberg Scholarship (to study at Yale University)
  • Scholar of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), 2003-2010
  • Grants for the organisation of international conferences from ZIF (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, Bielefeld University), Thyssen Foundation, DFG, and other institutions
  • Travel grants from DAAD, the University of Oxford, and other institutions

Professional Service

  • Editorial board member, Critical Quarterly
  • Member of the Board of Directors, English Department, University of Freiburg (2017-19)
  • Member of PhD Selection Committee, German Academic Exchange Service (2010-14)
  • Referee for Oxford University Press; Cambridge University Press; Bloomsbury; Literature and History; Modernism/Modernity; Victorian Network; Key Words: Journal of the Raymond Williams Society; Modern Philology; German Research Foundation; Research Foundation Flanders

Professional Memberships

  • Academia Europaea (elected member)
  • International Association of University Professors of English (elected member)
  • Young Academy of Europe (elected member, 2014-21)
  • Modern Language Association
  • American Comparative Literature Association
  • Modernist Studies Association
  • North American Victorian Studies Association
  • British Association of Modernist Studies
  • The William Hazlitt Society



Edited Volumes

  • Ed. (with M. Taunton) The People: Belonging, Exclusion, and Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in progress.
  • Ed. (with I. Perica) The Political Uses of Literature: Global Perspectives and Theoretical Approaches, 1920-2020. London: Bloomsbury, in progress
  • Ed. (with I. Perica), Peripheral Europes. Special issue of Critical Quarterly, forthcoming.
  • Ed. (with Katrin Becker and Felix Sprang). British Fictions of Class since 1945: Revitalising Class in the Twenty-First Century. Special issue of Anglistik, forthcoming.
  • (Ed.) George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Oxford World's Classics, 2021.
  • Ed. (with M. Taunton) A History of 1930s British Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. [Books of the Year, Times Literary Supplement. Reviewed in: The Modernist Review, Textual Practice]
  • Ed. (with M. Taunton) Literatures of Anti-Communism. Special issue of Literature and History (Spring 2015).
  • Ed. Edward Upward and Left-Wing Literary Culture in Britain. London: Ashgate, 2013. [Reviewed in Times Literary Supplement; Review of English Studies; Literature and History; Key Words: The Journal of the Raymond Williams Society, SHARP News]
  • Ed. (with R. Gregory) Utopian Spaces of Modernism: British Literature and Culture 1885-1945. London: Palgrave, 2012. [Reviewed in Victorian Studies; Modernism/Modernity; Year's Work in English Studies]
  • Ed. (with M. Fludernik) Anglistentag 2011 - Proceedings. Trier: wvt, 2012.

Journal Articles

  • "Liberal". Victorian Literature and Culture, forthcoming.
  • "Introduction" to Karl-August Varnhagen von Ense's "In the Sense of the Wanderers (1832)" [on the Left bildungsroman and Goethe's Wilhelm Meister novels], PMLA (2023), forthcoming.
  • "Reformist Reading: Reparative Critique, c.1900". Cusp: Late 19th-/Early 20th- Century Cultures 1.1, 8-17.
  • "Thatcherism's Ongoing Now." ASAP/Journal, forthcoming.
  • “Slow Politics: H.G. Wells, Reform, and the Idea of the Welfare State”. Modern Fiction Studies 67.2 (2021), 342-65.
  • “Revolutionary Words: Perfect Languages and the Republican Imaginary around the Mid-Seventeenth Century”. Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 258.2 (2021), 366-85.

  • "Sounding the Present: Crisis and Collective Voice in David Peace’s GB84". English Literary History 87 (2020), 829-54.

  • "Julien Green and the Murmur of the Sea: Literary Histories of Flotsam". Critical Quarterly 62.2 (2020), 54-68.
  • "Proletarian Modernism: Literature, Film, Theory". PMLA 134.5 (2019), 1056-75.
  • "'Plain and Positive Terms': The Idea of a Perfect Language in Early Modern Utopian Narratives". Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch 59 (2018), 155-81.
  • "The Victorian Crisis of Laissez-Faire: George Eliot, Political Economy, and the Common Good", History of Political Economy 48:4 (2016), 681-704.
  • "Toward a History and Theory of the Socialist Bildungsroman", NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, 48:2 (2015), 167-89.
  • "What Is It Like to Be a Rat? Early Cold War Glimpses of the Post-Human", Textual Practice 28/4 (2014), 655-75.
  • “Awkward Moments: Melodrama, Modernism, and the Politics of Affect”, PMLA 128/2 (2013), 337-52.
  • “An Honest Decade: William Empson and the Ambiguities of Writing in the 1930s”, English Literary History 80/1 (2013), 221-49
  • "Edward Upward, W. H. Auden, and the Rhetorical Victories of Communism", Modernism/Modernity 20/2 (2013), 287-306.
  • “‘Men of Sobriety and Buisnes’: Pepys, Privacy, and Public Duty”, Review of English Studies 61/251 (2010), 553-71
  • “‘The Heritage of Symbolism’: Henry Green, Maurice Bowra, and English Modernism in the 1920s”, Modern Language Notes 124/5 (2009), 1188-1210
  • “‘Stand Still, True Poet That You Are!’ Remembering the Brownings, Imagining Memorabilia”, ZAA 57/2 (2009), 125-38

Book Chapters

  • "Symptoms: Literature and Activism before the 'Political Unconscious'." In: The Routledge Companion to Literature and Politics. Ed. Matthew Stratton. London: Routledge, forthcoming
  • "In Real Time: Phenomenologies of Precarity in Ali Smith's Seasonal Quartet." In: Literary Representations of Precarious Work, 1840 to the Present. Ed. Bart Philippsen and Michiel Ries. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2021. 287-304.
  • “George Gissing: Idealism and Social Reform”. In: The Novel of Ideas. Ed. Rachel Potter and Matthew Taunton. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, forthcoming.
  • “George Orwell and the ‘Auden Generation’. In: The Oxford Handbook of George Orwell. Ed. Nathan Waddell. Oxford: Oxford UP, forthcoming.
  • "From Proletarianization to Precarization in New British Fiction". In: Precarity in British Literature and Culture. Ed. Emily J. Hogg and Peter Simonsen. London: Bloomsbury, 2021. 143-59
  • (with M. Taunton) "Introduction: The Long 1930s". A History of 1930s British Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2019. 1-14.
  • "Fashioning the 1930s". Cambridge Companion to British Literature in the 1930s. Ed. James Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2019. 224-38.
  • "Cognitive Sympathy and the Laissez-Faire Economy: Adam Smith and Harriet Martineau". Anglistentag 2017 - Proceedings. Trier: wvt, 2018. 135-44.
  • "Muße, Work, and Free Time: Nineteenth-Century Visions of the Non-Alienated Life". How to Do Things With Narrative: Theory and Practice. Ed. Jan Alber and Greta Olson. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017. 187-204.
  • "'The End of Laissez-Faire': Literature, Economics, and the Idea of the Welfare State". Late Victorian into Modern, 1880-1920. Ed. Laura Marcus, Michèle Mendelssohn, and Kirsten Shepherd-Barr. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2016. 448-62.
  • "Das Ich in der Revolte: Der Bildungsroman nach 1945 aus komparatistischer Perspektive". Vom 'unrettbaren' zum 'wiedergefundenen' Ich? Identitätsnarrative im 20. Jahrhundert. Ed. Heribert Tommek and Christian Steltz. Frankfurt: Lang, 2016. 145-63.
  • "'Possible Failures': Doris Lessing and Individual Formation in a Tragic Key". Anglistentag 2014 - Proceedings. Trier: wvt, 2015. 353-63.
  • "Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward". The American Isherwood. Ed. Jim Berg and Christopher Freeman. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2015. 198-214.
  • "Versions of Working-Class Idleness: Non-Productivity and the Critique of Victorian Workaholism". Leisure, Idleness and Indolence in British Literature. Ed. Monika Fludernik and Miriam Nandi. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014. 195-214.
  • "Introduction". Edward Upward and Left-Wing Literary Culture in Britain. London: Ashgate, 2013. 1-18.
  • "Introduction". Utopian Spaces of Modernism: British Literature and Culture, 1885-1945. Ed. Rosalyn Gregory and Benjamin Kohlmann. London: Palgrave, 2012. 1-18.

Handbook and Dictionary Entries

  • “Thomas Love Peacock”, “Thomas Lovell Beddoes”, “Edmund Burke”. Encyclopaedia of Literary Romanticism. Ed. Andrew Maunders. New York, 2010
  • “Edward Upward”, Literary Encyclopedia, www.litencyc.com, 2010 [2500 words]


  • Review of Peter Stansky, Edward Upward: Art and Life. Woolf Studies Annual, 23 (2017), 199-202.
  • Review of Marius Hentea, TaTa Dada: The Real Life and Celestial Adventures of Tristan Tzara. Modernism/Modernity, 22/1 (2015), 206-8.
  • Review of Jock Macleod, Literature, Journalism, and the Vocabularies of Liberalism. ZAA, 61/1 (2014), 93-95.
  • Review of Jed Esty, Unseasonable Youth: Modernism, Colonialism, and the Fiction of Development. Modernist Cultures, 9/2 (2014), 310-14.
  • Review of Ina Habermann, Myth, Memory, and the Middlebrow: Priestley, du Maurier, and the Symbolic Form of Englishness. ZAA, 61/1 (2013), 93-95.
  • Review of Kristin Bluemel, ed., Intermodernism: Literary Culture in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain. Modernist Cultures, 6/1 (2011), 196-98
  • Review of Paul Crosthwaite, Trauma, Postmodernism, and the Aftermath of World War II, Modern Language Review, 105/2 (2010), 546-47


  • Poems by Silke Scheuermann. Inventory Journal (2014)


Conferences organized

  • Conference, The Political Uses of Literature: Comparative Approaches, Theoretical Perspectives. LMU Munich, 2020 (with Ivana Perica); funded by the Graduate School “Globalization and Literature” and LMU Universitätsstiftung.
  • Conference, Radical Styles: Forms, Commitments, Traditions, University of Freiburg, 2019.
  • Conference, The Proletarian Moment: Interdisciplinary Approaches, Comparative Perspectives, ZIF (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research), University of Bielefeld, 2018 (with Sabine Hake); funded by ZIF
  • Conference, Post-, Neo-, Anti-: The Futures of Critique, University of Freiburg, 2018
  • Conference, Modern Literature, Organisations, and Institutions, University of East Anglia, 2017 (with Rachel Potter and Matthew Taunton)
  • Conference, Symmetry, Proportion, Seriality: Convergences in Science and the Arts, Academia Europaea Conference, University of Freiburg, 2015 (with Andreas Buchleitner, Monika Fludernik, Martin Middeke); funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Conference, EUCOR PhD and MA Conference, University of Freiburg, 2014 (two days; with Wolfgang Hochbruck and Monika Fludernik)
  • Conference, "Anti-Communism: Culture, Literature, Propaganda", Institute of English Studies, London, 2013 (with Matthew Taunton); funded by the Leverhulme Trust
  • Conference, "Cultivating the Economy: Literature, Politics, Economics, 1870-1940", Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University, 2013; funded by Thyssen Foundation
  • Conference, “Utopian Spaces of British Literature, 1890-1945”, English Faculty, University of Oxford, 2009 (with Rosalyn Gregory)


Invited and Keynote Lectures

  • Keynote, "Substanceless Subjectivity: Crisis and Collectivity in British Experimental Fiction", University of Leuven, 2020.
  • "Modernism and Revolution: Literary Politics before the 'Political Unconscious'", Harvard University, Mahindra Humanities Center, 2019.
  • "Julien Green and the Murmur of the Sea", University of Cambridge, 2019.
  • "Modernist Internationalism", Global Modernisms / Global Modernities Summer School, University of Hamburg, 2019.
  • "Auden, Rilke, and the Island-Mind", University of Cambridge, 2018.
  • "Realist Montage: Realism and Formal Experiment at the Mid-Century", Lewis and Clark College (Portland), 2018.
  • "Rethinking the Aesthetics of Classlessness", University of California (Santa Cruz), 2018.
  • "The Reformist Literary Mode and the Welfare State", University of Colorado (Boulder), 2018.
  • "Surface Reading", Centre for Uses of Literature, University of Southern Denmark, 2017.
  • "Speculative States: British Literature's Hegelian Moment", Center for Welfare State Research, University of Southern Denmark, 2017.
  • "Means and Ends: Anglistische Perspektiven auf das Verhältnis von Literatur und Politik", University of Erlangen, 2017.
  • "Towards a Literary Prehistory of the Welfare State", English Department, Durham University, 2017.
  • "Proletarian Modernism in the Long 1930s", English Department, University of Manchester, 2017.
  • "States of Welfare: Modernism and the Reformist Literary Mode", English Department, University of East Anglia, 2017.
  • "Democracy and Dictatorship: Literary Visions of Classlessness", English Department, Sheffield Hallam University, 2017.
  • Keynote, "Outside of the Frame of Theory: Literature and the Place of Politics", Outside the Frame of Theory Conference, University of Freiburg, 2017.
  • "Slow Politics: Modernism, Reform, and the Idea of the Welfare State", English Faculty, University of Oxford, 2016.
  • "Proletarian Modernism", English Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016.
  • "The State Beyond Governmentality: Literary Reformism and the Emergence of the Welfare State", English Department, University of Notre Dame, 2016.
  • "Modernism and the Idea of the Welfare State", English Department, University of California, Davis, 2016.
  • Keynote, "The State Beyond Governmentality", Welfare and Welfare Narratives Conference, Center for Welfare State Research, University of South Denmark, 2016.
  • "Automatic Subjects", Novel Marxisms Workshop, Center for the Study of the Novel, Stanford University, 2016.
  • "Government and the State: Late Victorian Literature and the Politics of Reform", School of English, University of Sussex, 2016.
  • "The Apolitical Unconscious of 1930s Literature", English Department, University of Gent, 2014.
  • "Rethinking the 1930s: Literature, Politics, and the Communist Voice", English Department, Stanford University, 2013.
  • "'Higher Feelings' and the State: Literature, Economic Discourse, and the End of Laissez-Faire, 1870-1930", Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Centre for "History of the Emotions"), Berlin, 2012.
  • "Awkward Moments: Modernism, Melodrama, and the Politics of Affect", English Department, Brunel University, 2011.

Conference Papers (Selected)

  • "Britain's Long Hegelian Moment", Modernist Studies Association, Toronto, 2019.
  • "Proletarian Modernism", American Comparative Literature Association Conference, Utrecht 2017.
  • "'Machinery with a Common Purpose': Reformism and the Ends of the State", Modernist Studies Association, Pasadena, 2016.
  • "Proletarianiziation and Its Discontents", Modernist Studies Association, Pasadena, 2016.
  • "True Ownership: Edward Carpenter and the Nationalization of Land", NAVSA, Phoenix, 2016.
  • "Edward Carpenter, Land Nationalisation, and Late Victorian Popular Politics", BritCult Conference, University of Erlangen, 2015.
  • "The Long 1930s", Writing Literary History, University of Leuven, 2015.
  • "The Socialist Bildungsroman and the Time of the Revolution", Anglistentag, Hanover, 2014.
  • "Genealogies of Welfare: Ideas of the Common Good in E.M. Forster", Modernist Studies Association, Pittsburgh, 2014.
  • "'A Romance about Capital': E.M. Forster and the Idea of the Welfare State", Modernist Communities, Paris, 2014.
  • "Politics Without Footnotes", Modernist Studies Association, Brighton, 2013.
  • "Spiral Descent: Communist Anti-Communism after World War II", Anti-Communism: Literature, Culture, Propaganda, Institute of English Studies, London, 2013.
  • "Forms of Preparedness: E.M. Forster, Risk, and Unemployment Insurance", Cultivating the Economy, Columbia University, 2013.
  • "The Drama of Preparedness: Unemployment Insurance and E.M. Forster's (New) Liberal Aesthetic", On Liberties: Victorian Liberals and Their Legacies, Gladstone's Library, Hawarden (UK), 2013.
  • "'Playing with Bright Images': The Making and Unmaking of Surrealist Black Humour", Space Between Conference, DePaul University, Chicago 2013.
  • "Auden, Isherwood, and Post-Liberal Citizenship", Modernist Studies Association, Las Vegas, 2012.
  • "A Lost Generation: The Literature of the 1930s and Writing after Modernism", Generation M: Resetting Modernist Time. UVA, Amsterdam, 2012.
  • "'Brittle Ghosts': Surrealism, History, and Black Humour in the 1930s", History and Humour. Freiburg, 2012.
  • “The Poverty of Surrealism: Social Critique in Early Mass-Observation”, The ‘Space Between’ Conference, McGill University, Montreal, 2011.
  • "What Is It Like To Be a Rat? Thomas Pynchon and Early Cold War Glimpses of the Post-Human", Research Seminar, Regensburg University, 2011.
  • "A ‘Radical Aesthetic’? Social Facts and Poetic Authority in Mass-Observation”, Modernism and Utopia, University of Birmingham, 2010.
  • “‘The Heart of Standing Is You Cannot Fly’: William Empson and Taking Sides”, Utopian Spaces of British Literature and Culture, 1890-1945, University of Oxford, 2009.
  • “Henry Green, Maurice Bowra, and the ‘Heritage of Symbolism’”, Twentieth-Century Literature Research Seminar, University of Oxford, 2009.
  • “The Uses of Poetry: From T. S. Eliot to William Empson”, MLA Convention, Poetry Division (chaired by Susan J. Wolfson and Alan Golding), San Francisco, 2008.
  • “Poetical Remains: Robert Browning in the Marketplace”, Bodies and Things: Victorian Literature and the Matter of Culture Conference, University of Oxford, 2008.


PhD Theses

  • Nikolina Hatton, “Decommodified Things in English Novels and Political Economy, 1790-1850“ (summa cum laude; 2018)
  • Mir Ali Hosseini, “Between Dissensus and Consensus: Democracy and the Essay Form at the Mid-Twentieth Century” (ongoing)
  • Evelin Stumberger, "Nineteenth-Century Extraction and the Great Emigration" (ongoing)

MA Theses

  • Andrea Claudia Geanta, “Love and Business in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield and Other Works” (2014)
  • Oleksandra Dragan, “Monsters from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Contemporary Cinema” (2015)
  • Nina Brunner, “Writing against the Cash Nexus: The Representation of Work in George Eliot’s Novels” (2015)
  • Teona Micevska, “Modernist Female Dandyism: Queerness of Form and Identity“ (2015)
  • Christian Lassen, “Peritextual Elements in Charles Dickens and Mark Twain” (2016)
  • Anirudh Sridhar, “Metaphorical Mathematics and the Symbolism of Shapes and Numbers in Modernist Poetry“ (2016)
  • Albina Okanovic, “Victorian Governess Rewritten: Representations of Femininity in the Victorian Sensation Novel“
  • Mir Ali Hosseini, “Writing against the Grain: Style in Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Derrida” (2017; diese Abschlussarbeit gewann den Fakultätspreis für die beste MA-Arbeit)
  • Kerrin Kluewer, “The Work of Mourning: The Poetry of Charlotte Mew and Mina Loy” (2017)
  • Hannah Rehm, “Alternative Ecologies: The New Nature Writing and Its Precursors” (2017)
  • Elissa Wittke, “Networks of Things: The Design Theory of Ray and Charles Eames” (2018)
  • Saina Tarverdy, “Fabulating Nomadic Subjects: The Figure of the Becomer in Modernist Literature” (2019)
  • Kalina Janeva, “Riffing on the Page: The Racial Politics of Blues and Jazz in Interwar Modernist Writing” (2020)

Since 2020: Numerous theses supervised at the University of Regensburg. 

BA Theses

  • Esther Gnandt, “‘There must be some secret at the bottom of all this’: Crime and Gender in Lady Audley’s Secret” (2015)
  • Caroline Böckling, “A Perfect Product of Society: Women and Social Power in Pride and Prejudice and The Age of Innocence” (2015)
  • Julia Ditter, “Mental Illness as a Symptom of Ideological Oppression: Social Criticism in Janice Galloway’s The Trick Is to Keep Breathing and Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon” (2016)
  • Laura Vartolomei, “Cuckoldry in English Renaissance Drama“ (2016)
  • Katharina Schantz, “Eighteenth-Century Grand Tour Narratives as Ethnographic Writing: Smollett’s and Sterne’s Accounts of Italy and France“ (2016)
  • Mathias Jacoby, “Gothic Short Fiction: A Comparative Analysis of Le Fanu and Hawthorne” (2016)
  • Jonas Scheid, “Victorian Detective Legacies: Charles Dickens and Terry Pritchard” (2018)
  • Alina Ruschen, “We Can Be Heroes: Illness in Young Adult Fiction” (2018)
  • Viktor Chlowka, “The Documentary Impulse: British Literature and Film in the 1940s” (2019)
  • Mareike Reinfandt, “Marginalized Voices in Troubled Times: The Northern Irish Novels A Son Called Gabriel by Damian McNicholl and Milkman by Anna Burns” (2019)
  • Sophia Wolf, “A Female Rendering of Space in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage” (2019)

Since 2020: Numerous theses supervised at the University of Regensburg. 

  1. Fakultät für Sprach-, Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaften
  2. Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik

Anglistik / British Studies


Prof. Dr. Benjamin Kohlmann

Room: PT 3.2.44

Phone: 943-3506