Dr Katrin Wehling-Giorgi, BA, MSt, DPhil Oxon
Before coming to Durham University, I taught courses at the Universities of Oxford and Warwick, where I spent three years as an IAS and then as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Previously, I studied Philosophy and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, where I also completed an M.St. and a D.Phil in Comparative Literature. At Durham, I teach on various courses, including the second-year module ‘Narratives of Fascist and Post-war Italy’, my research-led final-year module 'Writing the Modern Self' and the MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures.
My research interests include comparative approaches to twentieth-century and contemporary narrative, with a particular focus on European modernism, the theoretical intersections between psychoanalysis and literature, gender studies, feminist theory, trauma studies and discourses surrounding subjectivity and space. In recent years my research has mainly focused on post-WWII and contemporary women’s writing, including Elsa Morante, Goliarda Sapienza, Elena Ferrante and Alice Sebold.
Together with Tiziana de Rogatis (Università per Stranieri di Siena) and Stiliana Milkova (Oberlin College), I am currently guest editing the Special Journal Issue Elena Ferrante in a Global Context for Modern Language Notes (forthcoming 2021). I have also co-edited the first volume of critical essays in English on the Sicilian author Goliarda Sapienza (Goliarda Sapienza in Context: Intertextual Relationships with Italian and European Literature, co-edited by Alberica Bazzoni, Emma Bond and Katrin Wehling-Giorgi; Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2016).
My first book, Gadda and Beckett: Storytelling, Subjectivity and Fracture (winner of the Gadda First Prize), was published with Legenda's Italian Perspectives Series (2014). It provides an in-depth comparative reading of the two authors’ prose writings, shedding new light on the central notions of textual and linguistic fragmentation and the fractured sense of selfhood. Whilst situating Gadda and Beckett at the heart of the debate of these fundamental aspects of the late modernist European literary context, the study also rethinks some of the plurilingual and macaronic features associated with a particular tendency in the Italian literary tradition.
My current research project (provisionally entitled Subversive Mothers and Forms of Selfhood in Post-1960s Cultural Production) involves an interdisciplinary examination of the portrayal of the maternal figure in a selection of texts and films by post-WWII authors and filmmakers (including Elsa Morante, Goliarda Sapienza, Elena Ferrante, Alice Sebold and Alina Marazzi). The study looks at the surprisingly frequent phenomenon of maternal figures who fail to correspond to the culturally and socially constructed archetype-stereotype of the nurturing, self-abnegating and asexual mother (particularly relevant in the Italian Catholic context), which has long dominated male-centred discourses of motherhood. My project proposes to analyse a radical shift in this long-standing cultural discourse by investigating female-authored narratives of 'subversive' mothers and the disruptive power they exert. I will examine how these narratives employ subversion as a potent discursive device to question femininity and motherhood as normative, transparent categories - for example by fictionalising mothers affected by disability, illness, trauma, crippling, insanity, violence, aphasia or nymphomania - to underscore a new awareness of the complex constitution of the maternal subject. The overarching aim of my research is to establish how the 'subversive' mother functions as a key site of contestation through which female subjectivity is negotiated in post-war cultural production.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2014). Gadda and Beckett: Storytelling, Subjectivity and Fracture. Routledge.
- Bazzoni, Alberica, Bond, Emma & Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2016). Goliarda Sapienza in Context: Intertextual Relationships with Italian and European Culture. Italian Studies. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
- de Rogatis, Tiziana, Milkova, Stiliana & Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2021). Elena Ferrante in a Global Context. Modern Language Notes, 136 (1): Johns Hopkins University Press.
Chapter in book
- Wehling-Giorgi, K (2020). Rethinking Constructs of Maternity in the Novels of Elena Ferrante and Alice Sebold. In Imagining Motherhood in the Twenty-First Century. Heffernan, Valerie & Wilgus, Gay Routledge.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2020). Ripensare gli spazi femminili: una lettura dell’Università di Rebibbia di Goliarda Sapienza. In La pratica del commento 3. Il canone: Esclusioni e inclusioni. Brogi, Daniela, Cataldi, Pietro, de Rogatis, Tiziana & Marrani, Giuseppe Pacini Editore.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2017). ‘Dislocazioni materne: memoria, linguaggio e identità femminile nelle opere di Goliarda Sapienza’. In Nel nome della madre. Ripensare le figure della maternità. Brogi, D., de Rogatis, Tiziana, Franco, Cristiana & Spera, Lucinda Rome: Del Vecchio Editore. 143-156.
- Wehling-Giorgi, K. (2017). Violence, Language and the Maternal Body: Negotiating Resistance in Goliarda Sapienza’s and Elena Ferrante’s Works. In Women and the Public Sphere in Modern and Contemporary Italy. Essays for Sharon Wood. Spunta, M. & Storchi, S. Leicester: Troubadour.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2016). '"Ero separata da me": Memory, Selfhood and Mother-Tongue in Goliarda Sapienza and Elena Ferrante'. In Goliarda Sapienza in Context: Intertextual Relationships with Italian and European Culture. Bazzoni, Alberica, Bond, Emma & Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. 215-230.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2014). "Il mondo delle madri": Pre-Oedipal Desire and the Decentred Self in Elsa Morante's La Storia and Aracoeli. In The Fire Within: Desire in Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature. Borelli, Elena Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 190-210.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2014). "Tuo scandalo tuo splendore": The Split Mother in Morante's Works from Diario 1938 to Aracoeli. In Elsa Morante’s Politics of Writing: Rethinking Subjectivity, History and the Power of Art. Lucamante, Stefania Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. 193-203.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin & de Rogatis, Tiziana (2021). Traumatic Realism and the Poetics of Trauma in Elsa Morante's Works. Allegoria 83.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2021). Unclaimed Stories: Narrating Sexual Violence and the Traumatized Self in Elena Ferrante and Alice Sebold’s Writings. Modern Language Notes 136(1).
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2019). Rethinking Constructs of Maternity in the Novels of Elena Ferrante and Alice Sebold. Women: A Cultural Review 30(1): 66-83.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2017). 'Playing with the Maternal Body: Violence, Mutilation,and the Emergence of the Female Subject in Ferrante’s Novels'. California Italian Studies 7(1): 1-15.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2016). ‘Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels: Writing Liminality’. Allegoria (73).
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2013). ‘Totetaco’ the Mother–Child Dyad and the Pre-Conceptual Self in Elsa Morante's La Storia and Aracoeli. Forum for Modern Languages Studies 49(2): 192-200.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2011). Abjection and the Fear of Alterity: Matricide and the Element of the Maternal in the Works of Carlo Emilio Gadda and Samuel Beckett. Italian Studies 66(1): 76-92.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2011). Defilement, War and the Corpse: On Abjection in Gadda and Céline. Edinburgh Journal of Gadda Studies 7.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2010). "Splendid little pictures": Leibnizian Terminology in the Works of Samuel Beckett and Carlo Emilio Gadda. Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd'hui [Samuel Beckett: Debts and Legacies] 22: 341-354.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2007). The Leibnizian Monad and the Self through the Lens of Carlo Emilio Gadda's and Samuel Beckett's Writings. MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities 2: 57-68.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2011). "Enciclopedie aperte": Self and World in Joyce’s and Gadda’s Modernist Novels. Edinburgh Journal of Gadda Studies 7.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2007). Federica G. Pedriali, La farmacia degli incurabili: Da Collodi a Calvino. Italian Studies
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2007). Gadda e il moderno. Il vortice delle concause e le forme del riso. Edinburgh Journal of Gadda Studies 5.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2021). 'Forging the Female Voice Out of the Ruins of History: Reading Natalia Ginzburg'. Reading in Translation
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (2013). Naples into Words. Public Books
Translated Chapter in Book
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (trans.) (2012). Deuber-Mankowsky, Astrid, 'Bingo! The Spiritual Automaton in Lars von Trier's Dogville '. In Dekalog 05. On Dogville. Fortuna, Sara & Scuriatti, Laura (ed.). London/New York: Wallflower Press. 51-67
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (trans.) (2012). Deuber-Mankowsky, Astrid, 'Cinematographic Aesthetics as Subversion of Moral Reason in Pasolini's Medea '. In The Scandal of Self-Contradiction: Pasolini's Multistable Subjectivities, Traditions, Geographies. Di Blasi, Luca, Gragnolati, Manuele & Holzhey, Christoph E. H. (ed.). Berlin: Turia + Kant.
- Wehling-Giorgi, Katrin (trans.) (2009). 'Baubo - Another and Additional Name for Aracoeli: Morante's Queer Feminism '. In The Power of Disturbance: Elsa Morante’s Aracoeli. Fortuna, Sara & Gragnolati, Manuele (ed.). Oxford: Legenda.
- 2019: Elena Ferrante in a Global Context (MHRA Conference Grant, £1,500.00)
- 2019: Elena Ferrante in a Global Context (Society of Italian Studies Conference Grant, £400)
- 2013: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, University of Warwick
- 2011: Institute of Advanced Study Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Warwick
- 2005: AHRC Doctoral Fellowship
- 2004: AHRC Master's Scholarship