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Durham University

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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


As of 2017, I am director of the Centre for Cultural Ecologies. My interests lie in nineteenth- and twentieth-century German and comparative literature, utopian fiction and theory, gender theory, life writing, and environmental humanities; I am happy to supervise research students working in any of these areas. I have published articles and essays on Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Frank Wedekind, Rainer Maria Rilke, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ingeborg Bachmann, Ernst Bloch, Ingmar Bergman, Ilija Trojanow, and Imre Kertész.

My first book, Sex in Imagined Spaces: Gender and Utopia from More to Bloch (2010), examined 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 explores 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gender in the utopian tradition since More, in the classic dystopias of the twentieth century, and in little-known and unpublished texts of the fin de siècle.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 forthcoming monograph, Metabiography: Reflecting on Biography (under contract with Palgrave), seeks to account for the complex and 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. In 2016, I held the Käthe Leichter Visiting Professorship in Women’s and Gender Studies at the departments of German, English and Comparative Literature, University of Vienna.

Research Interests

  • Literature in the Anthropocene
  • 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

Edited Journal

  • Ní Dhúill, Caitríona & Renfrew, Alastair (2016). No Future. Poetics Today, 37 (2): Duke University Press.

Journal Article

Working Paper

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