Document Actions

You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Dr. Dorothee Birke

Dr. Dorothee Birke

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
English Literature
Junior Fellow
April 2008 - October 2014


April 2008-Present: Junior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies; November 2007: PhD in English Literature, Justus Liebig University Giessen (title of thesis: Memory’s Fragile Power: Crises of Memory, Identity and Narrative in Contemporary British Novels); 2005-2007: Manager at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Giessen; 2002-2006: Research assistant at the English Department, University of Giessen; 1995-2001: Studies in English and German (degree: M.A.),
University of Freiburg and Trinity College Dublin; 1975 born in Berlin

Detailed CV and complete list of publications


Selected Publications

Books and Editions

  • Memory’s Fragile Power: Crises of Memory, Identity and Narrative in Contemporary British Novels. Trier: WVT 2008.
  • (Ed.) Literaturwissenschaftliche Lehr-Stücke: Konzepte und Anwendungsbeispiele für die Hochschuldidaktik, 2010, Giessener Elektronische Bibliothek, (with Stella Butter and Monika Sproll). Online-Version
  • (Ed.) Counterfactual Thinking - Counterfactual Writing. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2011. (with Michael Butter and Tilmann Köppe)


  • “Mimesis der Erinnerung”. In Astrid Erll, Ansgar Nünning (eds.): Gedächtniskonzepte der Literaturwissenschaft: Theoretische Grundlegung und Anwendungsperspektiven. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 2005. 123-147. (with Michael Basseler)
  • “Fictions of Memory: Kazuo Ishiguro”. In Vera Nünning (ed.): Der zeitgenössische englische Roman: Genres – Entwicklungen – Modellinterpretationen, Trier: WVT 2007. 101-116.
  • “Nachwort”. In Thomas Hardy: Tess. [engl.: Tess of the d’Urbervilles]. Munich: dtv 2008. 573-581.
  • “‘Shattering the blood-spattered glass ceiling’: (De)Stabilisierungen der patriarchalischen Geschlechterordnung durch die Figur des weiblichen serial killer in Literatur und Film”. In Susanne Bach (ed.): Gewalt, Geschlecht, Fiktion: Gewaltdiskurse und Gender-Problematik in zeitgenössischen englischsprachigen Romanen, Dramen und Filmen. Trier: WVT 2010. 81-100. (with Stella Butter)
  • “Methoden psychoanalytischer Ansätze”. In Vera Nünning, Ansgar Nünning (eds.), Methoden der literatur- und kulturwissenschaftlichen Textanalyse: Ansätze – Grundlagen – Modellanalysen, Stuttgart: Metzler 2010, 51-70. (with Stella Butter)
  • “Geister sehen: Fotografie im Horrorfilm”. In Sabina Becker, Barbara Korte (eds.): Visuelle Evidenz? Fotografie im Reflex von Literatur und Film, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 2011, 212-230. (with Michael Butter)
  • “Zur Rezeption und Funktion von ‘Typen’: Figurenkonzeption bei Charles Dickens”. In Lilith Jappe, Olav Krämer, Fabian Lampart (eds.), Figurenwissen: Funktionen von Wissen bei der narrativen Figurendarstellung, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2012, 220-240.
  • “Direction and Diversion: Chapter Titles in Three Mid-Century English Novels by Sarah Fielding, Henry Fielding, and Charlotte Lennox”. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 2012.41, 211-232.
  • “Lesen als geistiger Alkoholismus. Kommentar zu Alfred Austin”. In Bernhard Kleeberg (ed.), Anthologie der schlechten Angewohnheiten, Berlin: Suhrkamp 2012, 284-290.
  • “The Politics of ‘Realism’: Analyzing Discourses on Contemporary Literature and TV”, in Monika Fludernik/Benjamin Kohlmann (eds.), Proceedings des Deutschen Anglistentages 2011, Trier: WVT 2012, 385-396 (with Stella Butter).
  • “Paratext and Digitized Narrative: Mapping the Field”. Narrative 21, no. 1 (2013): 65-87 (with Birte Christ).

Thematic Sections in Journals

  • Paratext and Digitized Narrative (ed. with Birte Christ, Narrative 21, no. 1 (2013))


  • Realisms in Contemporary Culture, ed. with Stella Butter, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter (Spring 2013)
  • “Challenging the Divide? Stephen King and the Problem of ‘Popular Culture’” (Autumn 2013, The Journal of Popular Culture)


Selected Presentations and Panels

  • 28.02.2010: “Das Lesen als schlechte Angewohnheit im englischen Roman des 19. Jahrhunderts”. Conference “Schlechte Angewohnheiten. Die zweite Natur zwischen Umwelt und Selbstkontrolle”, 02.-28.02.2010, University of Constance.
  • 05.03.2010: “Controlling Popular Fiction: Narrative Representations of Author-Reader Relations”. Conference “Improbable Plots? Making Sense of Contemporary Popular Fiction”, Department of Germanic and Romance Studies, 04.-06.03.2010, University of Delhi, India.
  • 20.03.2010: “Between Direction and Diversion: Chapter Titles in Mid-18th-Century Novels”. Annual Convention of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 18.-20.03.2010, Albuquerque, USA.
  • 06.01.2011: “New Thresholds of Interpretation? Paratexts in the Digital Age”. Panel for the International Society for the Study of Narrative at the Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association, 06.-09.01.2011, Los Angeles, USA. (with Birte Christ)
  • 05.03.2011: “The Legacy of ‘Modernist Reading’ in Ian McEwan’s Atonement”. Symposium “Modernism, Reading, and Interpretation”, 06.-06.03.2011, University of Maryland, USA. (invited speaker)
  • 21.09.2011: “The Politics of ‘Realism’: Analyzing Discourses on Contemporary Literature and TV”. Anglistentag 2011, 18.-21.09.2011, University of Freiburg. (with Stella Butter)
  • 15.03.2012: “Doris Lessing’s Alfred and Emily: A Counterfactual Autobiography?”. Annual Convention of the International Society for the Study of Narrative, 15.-17.03.2012, Las Vegas, USA.
  • 18.01.2013: “Authority and the ‚Authorial Narrator’ in the Eighteenth-Century English Novel”. International Colloquium “Narrative Concepts in the Study of Eighteenth-Century Literature”, 18.-19.01.2013, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Turku, Finland. (invited speaker)



FRIAS Research Project

Representations of Reading in the English Novel from the 18th to the 21st Centuries

Notions about the purpose and cultural status of the reading of fiction have undergone dramatic change since the early days of the novel. Once seen as a frivolous and even dangerous activity, novel reading is today predominantly regarded as a culturally valuable and itself endangered pastime.
This project analyses how novels from the 18th to the 21st centuries have self-reflexively participated in discourses about reading. It focuses on works which feature an obsessive reading character, in the tradition of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, in order to explore specific contemporary concerns about reading and their inter-relations with changing notions about education, gender, class and national identity. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which the shifting views on the purposes and effects of reading are reflected in the narrative strategies used in the individual works in order to address, instruct, move or baffle a projected readership.
Case studies include, among others, Charlotte Lennox’ The Female Quixote (1750), Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818), Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier (1915) and Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2001).