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Steering Committee

The project is organised by a Steering Committee drawn from the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, King’s College London and Birkbeck College, London. For the duration of the grant, each of the five members of the Steering Committee is undertaking individual interdisciplinary research on specific literary, artistic or media representations relating to the theme of women and death. Each committee member will produce a monograph, together covering a wide chronological spread from 1500 to the present day.

Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly

Lead Researcher: Professor Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly, Oxford

Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly is Professor of German Literature at the University of Oxford. Her main research focuses on the literature and culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Her first book was Melancholie und die melancholische Landschaft. Ein Beitrag zur Geistesgeschichte des 17. Jahrhunderts (1978) . In recent years she has been working on court culture, especially court festivals, not just at German speaking courts but throughout Europe. Her main publications in this field are Triumphal Shews. Tournaments at German-Speaking Courts in their European Context 1560-1730 (1992), (with Anne Simon) Festivals and Ceremonies. A Bibliography of Works relating to Court, Civic and Religious Festivals in Europe 1500-1800 (2000) and (with Pierre Béhar) Spectaculum Europaeum. Theatre and Spectacle in Europe, Histoire du Spectacle en Europe (1580-1750) (1999). Court Culture in Dresden from Renaissance to Baroque appeared with Palgrave in 2002 and Europa Triumphans. Court and Civic Festivals of Early Modern Europe (with J R Malryne and Margaret Stewring) appeared with Ashgate in 2004.


Sarah Colvin

Second Researcher: Professor Sarah Colvin, Edinburgh

Sarah Colvin is Mason Chair of German at the University of Edinburgh. Her current book project, Ulrike Meinhof: Writing Politics, looks among other things at the cultural reception of violent women, and at their own self-presentation in language, using the example of Ulrike Meinhof and the Red Army Fraction in Germany. She is author of Women and German Drama: Playwrights and Their Texts (Camden House 2003), and of The Rhetorical Feminine: Gender and Orient on the German Stage (Clarendon 1999). Her current primary research interest is in women and crime, women and violence, women as revolutionaries, criminology and gender, and prison writing. Other research interests include early modern German theatre and opera; and drama, especially by women.


Anna Richards

Dr. Anna Richards, Birkbeck College London

Anna Richards is Lecturer in German at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research interests include women's writing from the eighteenth century to the present day and Empfindsamkeit in the late eighteenth century. She is particularly concerned with the relationship between psychological and medical history and the novel. She has published a number of articles and a monograph entitled The Wasting Heroine in German Fiction by Women 1770-1914 (Oxford University Press, 2004). From 2006, she will take over as eighteenth-century German editor of The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies. Her current research project, which she began as a Research Fellow of the Humboldt Foundation in Berlin in 2004-5, is an interdisciplinary investigation of mourning, consolation and the novel in the age of Enlightenment and sensibility.


Anna Linton

Dr. Anna Linton, King's College London

Anna Linton took her B.A. and M.St. in German at Exeter College Oxford and her D.Phil. at Jesus College and St John’s, where she was a Senior Scholar.  In 2002 she moved to Christ Church, Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow, and in 2004 she took up a Lectureship in German at King’s College London, where she teaches a wide range of courses covering German language and literature from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. She has published a number of articles, and her book, Poetry and parental bereavement in early modern Lutheran Germany is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. She is currently co-editing a volume of essays which have resulted from this project, which will appear with Camden House in October 2008.


Helen Fronius

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Dr. Helen Fronius, Oxford

Helen Fronius is the Postdoctoral Research Fellow on this AHRC project, and College Lecturer in German at Exeter College, University of Oxford. Her doctoral research project focused on German women writers in the Goethe era. A monograph based on the thesis, entitled Women and German Literature in the age of Goethe, 1770-1820. Determined Dilettantes, was published by Oxford University Press in 2007. Recently, „Nur eine Frau wie ich konnte so ein Werk schreiben“. Reassessing German Women Writers and the Literary Market 1770-1820 appeared in Caroline Bland and Elisa Müller-Adam (eds), Frauen in der literarischen Öffentlichkeit 1780-1918. Her postdoctoral project is a study of infanticide in German society and literature in the later eighteenth century. She is currently co-editing a volume of essays which have resulted from this project, which will appear with Camden House in October 2008.


Aine McMurtry

Áine McMurtry, Oxford

Áine McMurtry completed a BA in French and German and an M.St. in Austrian literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford before moving to Hamburg in 2003 to begin doctoral research on the late work of Ingeborg Bachmann. On her return to Oxford in September 2005, she took up the post of Project Assistant. Since taking up her post as Laming Junior Fellow at Queen's College, Oxford in October 2007, she has become a Steering Committee member. Madeleine Brook has replaced her as project assistant.


Clare Bielby

Doctoral Student: Clare Bielby, Edinburgh

After completing her B.A. in Modern and Medieval Languages (German and French) at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Clare Bielby gained a Master’s degree with distinction in Gender and Media Studies at the University of Sussex. In October 2005, she moved to the University of Edinburgh to commence her doctoral thesis on ‘Public discourses of violent women in 1960’s and 1970’s Germany’ under the supervision of Professor Sarah Colvin.


Abigail Dunn

Doctoral Student: Abigail Dunn, Oxford

Abigail Dunn is in her first year of a D.Phil. at the University of Oxford. Her current research focuses on the depiction of the widow in nineteenth-century German literature. She is interested in how authors build on classical and operatic myths and models in their representation of the widow. She obtained her B.A. in French and German at the University of Exeter in 2003 and a Masters in Germanic Studies at the University of Sheffield in 2005. Her Masters thesis examined Hesse's affinities with Kierkegaard and Sartre, with particular emphasis on the concepts of Angst, despair and authenticity.

Madeleine Brook is the Project's new research assistant. She is responsible for day to day administrative tasks, including processing travel claim forms and arranging project meetings. Practical queries ought to be addressed to her in the first place, via the project's email address: