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Staff Profile

Dr Caitríona Ní Dhúill, BA, PhD [Trinity College, Dublin]

Associate Professor / Director of Studies in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43456
Room number: A9, Elvet Riverside I

Contact Dr Caitríona Ní Dhúill (email at


My interests lie in nineteenth- and twentieth-century German and comparative literature, utopian fiction and theory, gender theory, and biography; I would be happy to supervise research students working in any of these areas.

My research aims to bring the collective fantasy of utopia into dialogue with the singular reality of biography, and to show that these two categories are not as far apart from each other as it might seem. My first book, Sex in Imagined Spaces: Gender and Utopia from More to Bloch (2010), examines the re-imagined sex-gender systems of past futures, in order to offer a critical account of the relationship between gender discourse and utopian thought. Reading utopia as a dialogue between history and possibility, the book examines alternative constructions of gender in the utopian tradition since More, in the classic dystopias of the twentieth century, and in little-known and unpublished texts of the fin de siècle. My recent and forthcoming publications include articles and essays on Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Ingeborg Bachmann, Frank Wedekind, Ilija Trojanow and Ernst Bloch.

My current major research project, Not On Your Life, seeks to account for the complex, dynamic relationships between lived and narrated life. It starts by confronting the limitations of biography as a hermeneutic framework for the reception of literature, and engages with current and historical debates about and against biography, bringing these into dialogue with perspectives from gender theory, literary theory and theories of subjectivity. Yet it is also committed to the view that biographical approaches are an integral part of any culture's engagement with the past, and particularly with its literary heritage.

Since completing my PhD at Trinity College Dublin in 2005, I have taught at the universities of St Andrews, Durham and Vienna. From 2005-2009, I held a postdoctoral research position at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography, Vienna. In 2013, I was a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham.

Research Interests

  • 19th- and 20th-century German literature
  • Critical Theory
  • Utopian fiction and thought
  • Gender theory
  • Biography, life writing, metabiography

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2010). Sex in Imagined Spaces. Gender and Utopia from More to Bloch. Oxford: Legenda.

Chapter in book

  • Ni Dhuill, Caitriona (2016). Indigestible Biographies: Limits to the Narrative Processing of Life. In Narrative im Bruch. Babka, Anna, Bidwell-Steiner, Marlen & Mueller-Funk, Wolfgang Göttingen: V&R unipress. 223-238.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2014). Wedekind in der Traumfabrik. In Wedekinds Welt: Theater - Eros - Provokation. Mittermayer, Manfred & Bengesser, Silvia Henschel. 158-167.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2013). The hero as language learner: biography and metabiography in Der Weltensammler/The Collector of Worlds . In Ilija Trojanow. Preece, Julian & Finlay, Frank. Peter Lang. 63-80.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2011). A Woman Proposes: Embattled Masculinity and Female Desire in Der Schwierige. In The Nameable and the Unnameable. Hofmannsthal’s Der Schwierige in context. Liebscher, Martin., Fricker, Christophe. & Dassanowsky, Robert. Munich: Iudicium/IGRS. 94-106.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2011). Rauchspiel: Zur Poetik des Rauchens bei Bachmann. In Mythos Bachmann: Zwischen Inszenierung und Selbstinszenierung. Hemecker, Wilhelm & Mittermayer, Manfred Vienna: Zsolnay. 154-169.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2009). Der Kanon des Heroischen: Ernst Bertrams Nietzsche. Versuch einer Mythologie. In Die Biographie. Beiträge zu ihrer Geschichte. Hemecker, Wilhelm. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. 123-154.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2009). Lebensbilder: Biographie und die Sprache der bildenden Künste. In Die Biographie. Zur Grundlegung ihrer Theorie. Fetz, Bernhard. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. 473-500.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2009). Von 'er' bis 'sie': Möglichkeiten und Grenzen relationaler Biographik. In Die Biographie. Zur Grundlegung ihrer Theorie. Fetz, Bernhard. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. 199-226.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2009). Widerstand gegen die Biographie: Sigrid Weigels Bachmann-Studie. In Die Biographie – Beiträge zu ihrer Geschichte. Hemecker, Wilhelm. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. 43-70.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2007). "One loves the girl for what she is, the boy for what he promises to be". Gender discourse in Ernst Bloch's Das Prinzip Hoffnung. In Exploring the Utopian Impulse: Essays on Utopian Thought and Practice. Griffin, Michael & Moylan, Tom Oxford: Peter Lang. 273-292.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2006). Am Beispiel der Brontës. Gender-Erzählungen im biographischen Kontext. In Spiegel und Maske. Konstruktionen biographischer Wahrheit. Fetz, Bernhard & Schweiger, Hannes Vienna: Zsolnay. 113-127.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2004). Netzwerk-Rhizom-Banyan-Baum. Komplikationen der Verwurzelung bei Kafka und Joyce. In Netzwerke. Eine Kulturtechnik der Moderne. Riou, Jeanne, Barkhoff, Jürgen & Böhme, Hartmut Cologne: Böhme. 279-296.

Journal Article

  • Ni Dhuill, Caitriona (2016). Negating the Family: Ritual and Dionysus in modernist utopia. Cultural Dynamics 28(1): 55-68.
  • Ni Dhuill, Caitriona (2016). Refusing the Child: Weininger, Edelman, Kertész. Poetics Today 37(3): 369-385.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2012). Towards an anti-biographical archive: mediations between life-writing and metabiography. Life Writing 9(3): 279-289.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2010). Geschwitz Bewitched: The Lesbian Gaze in and after Wedekind. Germanistik in Ireland 5(1): 69-87.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2008). Lesser-known Lulus: Wedekind and the economics of Eros. Wege und Bewegungen, Medieval and Modern Encounters [Germanistik in Ireland] 3: 131-144.
  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2006). 'Ein neues, mächtiges Volkstum'. Eugenic discourse and its impact on the work of Gerhart Hauptmann. German Life and Letters 59(3): 405-422.

Working Paper

  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona (2013). Engendering the future: Bloch's utopian philosophy in dialogue with gender theory. 144-163.

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