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School of Modern Languages and Cultures: German Studies

Staff in the Department of German

Go to the MLAC staff pages.

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

Associate Professor (Reader) 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gender in the utopian tradition since More, in the classic dystopias of the twentieth century, and in little-known and unpublished texts of the fin de siècle.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

Chapter in book

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