Professor Stuart Taberner

Professor of Contemporary German Literature, Culture and Society.

0113 343 3504 / Twitter: @stuarttaberner1

Summary: German writers and intellectuals after 1945. German literature after 1989. Literature and ageing. Transnationalism. Holocaust Studies. Confronting traumatic pasts in Germany and South Africa.

Location: Michael Sadler 2.03

Teaching Commitments: Introduction to Modern Germany. Approaching German Culture. Berlin Republic. Final-year modules on German literature, thought and history.

I am on partial sabbatical in 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.


I was educated at the University of Cambridge (BA and Ph.D.) and the University of Chicago (MA). I worked at the University of Bristol from 1996-2000. I joined the department in Leeds in August 2000. Since arriving in Leeds I have also completed an MA in Modern Jewish Studies.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the relationships between politics and writing, the role of the German intellectual in the period after 1945, and literature after 1989. I have written on the Holocaust, its impact on post-unification Germany, 'normalisation' and national identity, and relationships between Germans and Jews, as expressed in film, literature and intellectual debate. I have also written on 'ageing' in contemporary German-language literature in the course of a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship. My book Aging and Old-Age Style in Günter Grass, Ruth Klüger, Christa Wolf, and Martin Walser appeared in late 2013, and a monograph on Globalization, Transnationalism and Cosmopolitanism in German-language writing will appear in 2017. This book examines minority and non-minority writers as engaging with current debates on terrorism, migration, refugees, mobility and cosmopolitanism.

I am principal investigator on a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Project on German and South African writing after German unification in 1990 and the end of apartheid in 1994. The project title is 'Traumatic Pasts, Cosmopolitanism, and Nation-Building in Contemporary German and South African Literature', 2015-2018. I am also principal investigator on a related British Academy project on 'Contemporary Literature from Germany and South Africa: Critiquing the Narrativization of Trauma as Nation-Building'. This project is being done in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Cape Town.

You can find more information about these research projects - and about a wider network of research projects on the circulation of traumatic memories - on our Transnational Holocaust Memories website here.

Postgraduate Supervision

I would be delighted to offer postgraduate supervision in the following areas: German-language Literature since 1945; German-language Literature since Unification; German-language Literature and Transnationalism; Germany since 1990: literature, politics and society; Writing by 'minority' authors; questions of German 'normalisation', globalisation, nation and identity, particularly in relation to German-language literature; ageing, late style and old-age style in contemporary German writing; and transnationalism in recent German fiction.

I also supervise Ph.Ds on South African literature, particularly comparatively with German-language literature. 

I am particularly keen to supervise Ph.D students wishing to work in our new Centre for World Literatures, and specifically on the narrativisation of trauma in relation to nation-building - the way literature represents 'difficult pasts' to construct or critique post-conflict national identities. 

Current Ph.Ds

  • Rebecca Macklin (South African and Native American literature)
  • Jade Douglas (German minority writers)
  • Dominic O' Key (Coetzee and Sebald)
  • Ian Ellison (Sebald and Maurias)
  • Daniela Wegrostek (Holocaust centres in the UK and South Africa)
  • Adam Roberts - Hermann Hesse
  • Neale Cunningham - Hermann Hesse 

Completed Ph.Ds

  • Corinne Painter - The Life and Works of Clementine Krämer 1873-1942 (2015)
  • Elizabeth Ward - Jews and the Holocaust in GDR Cinema (2014)
  • Anja Henebury - Contemporary German Literature and Theories of Trauma (2013)
  • Richard Boffey - Cultural Memory and German Concentration Camps (2013)
  • Karina Berger - Literary Representations of German Wartime suffering (2011)
  • Kirsten Harder - The Reactionary Fiction of Martin Mosebach (2011)
  • Giles Harrington - Contemporary German Pop Literature (2010) 

Research Impact and Public Outreach

With Dorothea Heiser, I edited a book of translations of poems written by inmates of the concentration camp at Dachau. This book, My Shadow in Dachau, appeared in late 2014.

In 2013, I received 'follow-on' funding from Arts and Humanities Research Council to develop impact and public and engagement activities relating to my work on the transnational circulation of the memory of the Holocaust. The primary outcome was a travelling exhibition 'Germany's Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context'. The exhibition was displayed in the South African Holocaust and Genocide centres in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, the UK National Holocaust Centre, and schools, universities, museums, galleries and public libraries in the UK, South Africa, the USA, and Ireland. In early 2016, for example, the exhibition was displayed at Coventry Cathedral as part of its reconciliation mission. You can find more information about this project - and about a wider network of research projects on the circulation of traumatic memories - on our Transnational Holocaust Memories website here.

In 2014, I received further AHRC funding to work with RJC Dance, a Dance company working with young people in North Leeds, to develop a dance performance based on aspects of the Holocaust. You can read about this project here.

I have also given many talks in schools, universities, galleries, museums, and so on, on aspects of German culture, history and society, and especially on the implications of the Holocaust for contemporary debates on racism and discrimination, the right to asylum, and refugees. i have also written for the press in the UK and South Africa, and given TV and radio interviews in both countries. An example of my radio work in SA is here.


Teaching Publications

  • Edition of Bernhard Schlink's Der Vorleser for Schools and Universities, with a 25 page introduction, notes, vocabulary and 'Fragen zum Text' (London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd 2002)
  • 'The Morality of Loving a Concentration Camp Guard. Teaching Bernhard Schlink's Der Vorleser', Deutsch: Lehren und Lernen, 25 (Spring 2002), 3-8
  • 'Alice in den Städten (Alice in the Cities)', in Jill Forbes and Sarah Street (eds.), European Cinema ( London: Palgrave, 2000)
  • 'Das Versprechen (The Promise)', in Jill Forbes and Sarah Street (eds.), European Cinema ( London: Palgrave, 2000)
  • 'Playing with Fire: Teaching Max Frisch's Biedermann und die Brandstifter', Deutsch: Lehren und Lernen, September 1998


Edited Volumes

Special Editions of Journals

  • 'Emerging German Writers', German Life and Letters, with Frank Finlay, 55:2 (2002)
  • 'Transnational Cultural Capital', Comparative Critical Studies, with Frauke Matthes, forthcoming 2015

Journal Articles

  • 'The Possibilities and Pitfalls of a Jewish Cosmopolitanism. Reading Natan Sznaider through Russian-Jewish Writer Olga Grjasnowa’s German-language Novel Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt (All Russians Love Birch Trees)', European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire, 23:05-06 (2016), 912-30.
  • 'Some Reflections on The Passing of Günter Grass (1927-2015)', German Studies Review, 38:3 (2015), 483-9.
  • 'The Meaning of The Nazi Past in The Post-postwar: Recent Fiction by Günter Grass, Christa Wolf and Martin Walser', Seminar, 50:2 (2014), 161-77
  • 'Memory, Cosmopolitanism and Nation: Christa Wolf's Stadt der Engel and J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace', Comparative Critical Studies, 11:1 (2014), 49-67
  • ‘Was gesagt werden muss: Günter Grass's ‘Israel/Iran Poem of April 2012', 65:4 (2012), 518-31
  • 'Transnationalism in Contemporary German-language Writing by Non-Minority Writers', Seminar, 47:5 (2011), 624-46
  • 'Literature and Unification. Günter Grass's Im Krebsgang, Feridun Zaimoglu's German Amok, and Daniel Kehlmann's Die Vermessung der Welt', Literatur für Leser, 33:2 (2010), 23-38
  • '"Kann schon sein, daß in jedem Buch von ihm etwas Egomäßiges rauszufinden ist": "Political" Private Biography and "Private" Private Biography in Günter Grass's Die Box' (2008), German Quarterly, 82:4 (2009), 504-21.
  • 'From Luther to Hitler? 'Ordinary Germans', National Socialism and Germany's Cultural Heritage in F. C. Delius's Bildnis der Mutter als junge Frau', German Life and Letters, 61:3 (2008), 386-397
  • 'Private Failings and Public Virtues: Guenter Grass's Beim Haueten der Zwiebel and the Exemplary Use of Authorial Biography', Modern Language Review, 103:1 (2008), 144-154
  • 'Germans, Jews and Turks in Maxim Biller's Novel Esra', The German Quarterly, 79:2 (2006), 234-248
  • 'Philo-Semitism in Recent German Film: Aimee und Jaguar, Rosenstrasse and Das Wunder von Bern', German Life and Letters, 58:3 (2005), 357-372
  • 'German Nostalgia? Remembering German-Jewish Life in W. G. Sebald's Die Ausgewanderten and Austerlitz',The Germanic Review, 79:3 (2004), 181-202
  • 'Nichts läßt man uns, nicht einmal den Schmerz, und eines Tages wird alles vergessen sein': The Novels of Arnold Stadler from Ich war einmal to Ein hinreissender Schrotthändler', Neophilologus, 87:1 (2003), 119-132
  • 'Hans-Ulrich Treichel's Der Verlorene and the Problem of German Wartime Suffering', The Modern Language Review, 97:1 (2002), 123-134
  • 'A New Modernism of "Neue Lesbarkeit"? - Hybridity in Georg Klein's Libidissi', German Life and Letters, 55:2 (2002), 137-148
  • 'Introduction' to special edition of German Life and Letters on 'Emerging German Writers', with Frank Finlay, 55:2 (2002), 131-136
  • '"Normalization" and the New Consensus on the Nazi Past: Günter Grass's Im Krebsgang and the "Problem" of German Wartime Suffering', Oxford German Studies, 31 (2002), 161-186
  • 'The Final Taboo?: Philosemitism, the Meinungsindustrie, and the New Right in Martin Walser's Ohne Einander', Seminar, 37:2 (2001), 154-166
  • 'A Manifesto For Germany's 'New Right'? - Martin Walser, The Past, Transcendence, Aesthetics, And Ein Springender Brunnen', German Life and Letters, 53:1 (2000), 126-141
  • 'The Writer's Fascination with Power: Stefan Heym's Der König David Bericht', Neophilologus, 84 (2000), 271-283.
  • '"Die Uniformen kannte er nur aus Filmen": The influence of popular fiction and film on western images of the GDR in Uwe Johnson's Das Dritte Buch über Achim', Internationales Forum für Uwe Johnson-Studien, Band 8 (2000), 9-25.
  • '"sowas läuft nur im Dritten Programm": Winning Over the Audience for Political Engagement in Günter Grass's Kopfgeburten oder Die Deutschen sterben aus', Monatshefte, 91:1 (1999), 84-100.
  • '"Wie schön wäre Deutschland, wenn man sich noch als Deutscher fühlen und mit Stolz als Deutscher fühlen könnte": Martin Walser's Reception of Victor Klemperer's Tagebücher 1933-1945 in Das Prinzip Genauigkeit and Die Verteidigung der Kindheit', Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift, 73:4 (1999), 710-732
  • 'Martin Walser's Halbzeit: Stylizing Private History for Public Consumption', The Modern Language Review, 92:4 (1997), 912-923
  • 'Feigning the Anaesthetization of Literary Inventiveness: Günter Grass's örtlich betäubt and the Public Responsibility of the Politically Engaged Author', Forum for Modern Language Studies, 34:1 (1997), 69-81
  • 'Authenticity and Nostalgia: Edgar Reitz's Heimat as Tourism and Folk Museum', New German Studies (1997)
  • 'Martin Walser's Die Gallistl'sche Krankheit: Self-Reflexivity as Illness', German Life and Letters, 49:3 (1996), 358-372.

Chapters in Books

  • 'Arnold Stadler: Eine Poetik des Glaubens', in: Alo Allkemper, Norbert Otto Eke and Hartmut Steinecke, eds. Poetologische Intwerventionen, (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2012), 273-86
  • 'Performing Jewishness in the New Germany: Vladmir Vertlib's Das besondere Gedächtnis der Rosa Masur', in: Stuart Taberner and Lyn Marven, eds., Emerging German-language Novelists of the 21st Century (Rochester: Camden House, 2011), 32-45
  • 'Introduction', in: Stuart Taberner, ed., The Novel in German Since 1990 (Cambridge: CUP, August 2011), 1-18. 
  • 'Daniel Kehlmann's Die Vermessung der Welt', in: Stuart Taberner, ed., The Novel in German Since 1990 (Cambridge: CUP, August 2011), 201-220
  • 'The Art of Delay: Protest and Prose in F. C. Delius's Mein Jahr als Mörder', in: Brigid Haines, Stephen Parker, Colin Riordan (eds.), Aesthetics and Politics in Modern German Culture. Festschrift in Honour of Rhys W. Williams (Bern: Peter Lang, 2010)
  • 'Introduction', in: Stuart Taberner (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Günter Grass (Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 2009), 1-9.
  • 'Günter Grass's Peeling the Onion', in: Stuart Taberner (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Günter Grass (Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 2009), 139-50.
  • 'Introduction', in: Stuart Taberner and Karina Berger (eds.), Germans as Victims in the Literary Fiction of the Berlin Republic (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 1-14
  • 'Memory-Work in Recent German Novels: What (if Any) Limits Remain on Empathy with the "German Experience" of the Second World War?', in: Stuart Taberner and Karina Berger (eds.), Germans as Victims in the Literary Fiction of the Berlin Republic (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 205-18
  • 'Introduction', in: Stuart Taberner (ed.), Contemporary German Fiction: Writing in the Berlin Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), xi-xx
  • 'West German Writing', in: Stuart Taberner (ed.), Contemporary German Fiction: Writing in the Berlin Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 72-90
  • 'Narratives of Expulsion in Contemporary German Writing', in Helmut Schmitz (ed.), Discources of 'German Wartime Suffering', German Monitor (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007), 224-46
  • 'Representations of German Wartime Suffering in Recent Fiction', in: Bill Niven (ed.), German Wartime Suffering (London: Palgrave, 2006), 164-180
  • 'Introduction', with Paul Cooke, in: Paul Cooke and Stuart Taberner (eds.), German Culture, Politics and Literature into the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Normalization (Rochester: Camden House, 2006), 1-15
  • 'German Fiction in the Age of Globalisation', in: Paul Cooke and Stuart Taberner (eds.), German Culture, Politics and Literature into the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Normalization (Rochester: Camden House, 2006), 209-21
  • 'The Triumph of Subjectivity: Martin Walser's Novels of the 1990s and his Der Lebenslauf der Liebe (2001)', in: Stuart Taberner (ed.) Stuart Parkes and Fritz Wefelmeyer (eds.), Martin Walser, German Monitor, 60:1 (2005), 429-45
  • '"sehnsüchtig-traurig und unerlöst": Memory's Longing to Forget. Or Why Tristanakkord is Not Simply A Reprise of Martin Walser', in: David Basker, ed., Hans-Ulrich Treichel (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2004), 79-93
  • 'The German Province in the Age of Globalisation - Botho Strauss, Arnold Stadler and Hans-Ulrich Treichel', German Literature in the Age of Globalisation (Birmingham: Birmingham University Press, 2004), 89-110
  • 'Introduction', in: German Literature in the Age of Globalisation (Birmingham: Birmingham University Press, 2004), 1-24
  • '"Wie kannst du mich lieben?": "Normalising" the Relationship between Germans and Jews in the 1990s' Films Aimée und Jaguar and Meschugge', in: William Niven and James Jordan (eds.), Politics and Culture in Twentieth-Century Germany ( Rochester: Camden House, 2003), 227-44
  • 'Introduction', in: Stuart Taberner and Frank Finlay (eds.), Recasting German Identity (Rochester: Camden House, 2002), 1-15
  • 'A Matter of Perspective?: Martin Walser's Fiction in the 1990s', in: East and West German Responses to Unification, Martin Kane (ed.) (Bern: Peter Lang, 2002), 149-65
  • '"ob es sich bei diesem Experiment um eine gescheiterte Utopie oder um ein Verbrechen gehandelt hat": Enlightenment, Utopia, the GDR and National Socialism in Monika Maron's Work From Flugasche to Pawels Briefe', in: Carol Costabile-Heming, Rachel Halverson, Kristie Foell (eds.), Textual Responses to German Unification (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter Verlag, 2001), 35-57
  • '"Die Deutsche Geschichte darf auch einmal gutgehen": Martin Walser, Auschwitz, and the "German Question" from Ehen in Philippsburg to Ein Springender Brunnen', in: Helmut Schmitz (ed.), The Future of Vergangenheitsbewältigung (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 45-64
  • 'Preface', with Clare Flanagan, in: 1949/1989: Cultural Perspectives in East and West, German Monitor, Stuart Taberner and Clare Flanagan (eds.) (Amsterdam/Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2000), i-vi
  • 'Fictional Reflections on the Gruppe 47 in Martin Walser's Kristlein Trilogy', The Gruppe 47 Fifty Years on. A Reappraisal of its Literary and Political Significance, German Monitor, Stuart Parkes and J.J White (eds.) (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999), 139-57

Grants and Collaborative Work

  • AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund, 'Mobilising Multidirectional Memory to Build More Resilient Communities in South Africa', 2016-2018
  • AHRC Follow-on Funding for Impact, 'Working with RJC Dance on a Holocaust Performance', 2015-2016
  • Leverhulme Trust Major Research Grant, 'Traumatic Pasts, Cosmopolitanism, and Nation-Building in Contemporary German and South African Literature', 2015-2018
  • British Academy International Networks Award, 'Contemporary Literature from Germany and South Africa: Critiquing the Narrativization of Trauma as Nation-Building', 2015-2018
  • AHRC Follow-on Funding for Impact, 'Germany's Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context', 203-2014
  • AHRC Fellowship, Transnationalism in Contemporary German-language Literature, 2013-2014
  • Leverhulme Trust Fellowship, Aging and Old-Age Style in The Work of Günter Grass, Ruth Klüger, Christa Wolf and Martin Walser, 2011-12
  • Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence Award for Henry Tietzch-Tyler, November 2008-November 2009
  • MHRA award for The German Novel since 1990
  • British Academy Award for The Cambridge Companion to Günter Grass, August 2007
  • October 2005-October 2008 - Principal Investigator, Major AHRC award on 'Discourses on German Wartime Suffering'
  • July 2005-August 2006 - British Academy Grant for work on Contemporary German Fiction: Writing in the Berlin Republic
  • February 2004-August 2004 - AHRB research leave award, for German Literature of the 1990s and Beyond
  • July 2002-April 2003 - British Academy grant for German Literature in the Age of Globalisation
  • May 2002-May 2005 - British Academy Networks grant, for work on Politics and Literature into the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Normalization
  • June 2000-August 2001 - British Academy Grant for work on German Literature of the 1990s and Beyond
  • February 1998-January 1999 - Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Fellowship, with subsequent awards, for German Literature of the 1990s and Beyond