Professor Frank Finlay

Professor Frank Finlay

Professor of German; Dean of the Faculty of Arts

+44 (0)113 343 2687

Summary: German literature in its social and historical context; the role of the writer-intellectual; contemporary Austrian drama and the stage; literature & National Socialism; post-1989 narrative fiction


A bi-lingual background allied to a love of literature, history and the arts more widely made studying German at University an easy decision. I have been fortunate, as with all of my colleagues in the Leeds Department, that my studies and work have taken me all over the the German-speaking area: to Schleswig-Holstein and Berlin as an undergraduate and postgraduate;  to Austria, where I taught English at University for four years; and then to Cologne where I held a research post. Throughout this time I was able to indulge my interest in a fascinating part of the world and to make a few life-long friends.

Before joining the University of Leeds as Professor and Head of German, I worked as a Lecturer and then a Senior Lecturer in Manchester and Bradford. I am a former Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures and am currently Dean of the Faculty of Arts. Externally, I am  Co-Chair of the national Heads of German Forum and have held a number of roles in the subject community, including being President of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland and a member of the German sub-panel for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.


Level Subject

Approaching German Culture

IIntroduction to Modern Germany

Politics, Society and Culture in the 'Berlin Republic'

Freedom and Control

The Shock of the New

Research Interests 

German literature in its social and historical context; the role of the writer-intellectural; Contemporary Austrian drama and the stage and screenplays of Peter Turrini; Literature and National Socialism; Post 1989 Narrative Fiction.

I am a member of the international team of editors working on the "Kölner Ausgabe" of Heinrich Böll's works. More information on "Kölner Ausgabe" of Heinrich Böll's international project can be found here.

Available to supervise PhD or Masters by research in any of the above areas. I am currently jointly supervising projects in German film and post-unification fiction.


  • 'The Rationality of Poetry'': Heinrich Böll's Aesthetic Thinking. Amsterdam & Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 284pp. (1996)
  • [with Ralf Jeutter (eds.)]: 'Centre Stage': Contemporary Drama in Austria. Amsterdam & Atlanta: Editions Rodopi,  252pp. (1999)
  • [with Stuart Taberner (eds.)]: Recasting German Identity, Culture, Literature and Politics in the Bonn Republic, Rochester: Camden House  (2002)
  • [with Stuart Taberner (eds.)]: special edition of German Life and Letters on 'Emerging German Writers' (April 2002)
  • [with Markus Schäfer (eds.)]: Heinrich Böll, Billard um halb zehn. Kölner Ausgabe Band XI, 458pp. (critical apparatus 250-458pp.) Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne (2002)
  • [with Jochen Schubert (eds.)]: Heinrich Böll, Erzählungen 1947-1948. Kölner Ausgabe Band III, Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2003, 832pp. (critical apparatus 551-832pp.)
  • [with Viktor Böll (eds.)] Heinrich Böll, Werke 1956-1959 Kölner Ausgabe Band X, Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2005
  • [with Ingo Cornils] "(Un)erfüllte Wirklichkeit": Neue Studien zu Uwe Timm. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2006.
  • Finlay FJ, Preece J, Owen: New German Literature: Life-Writing and Dialogue with the Arts  440p. 2007
  • Preece J, Finlay FJ, Crowe S, Religion and Identify in Germany Today. Doubters, Believers, Seekers in Literature and Film , 252pp. 2010.

Articles in Periodicals/Chapters in books

  • 'Surface is an illusion but so is depth': Identify and Nation in the novels of Christian Kracht (forthcoming 2012)
  • Thomas Weiss's 'Polyphonic Novel "Tod eines Trüffelschweins". In: Brigid Haines et. al. Aesthetics and Politics in Modern German Culture, Bern, 2010, pp. 117-130.
  • '"In the prison of the uniform" Heinrich Böll's Briefe aus dem Krieg 1939-1945 in the Context of Contemporary Debates'. In: Taberner, S; Berger, K eds. Germans as Victims in the Literary Fiction of the Berlin Republic, Rochester NY: Camden House, (NY) 2009, pp. 191-204.
  • 'Günter Grass's Political Rhetoric'. In: Taberner, S ed. The Cambridge companion to Günter Grass, Cambridge Univ Press,2009 pp. 24-38.
  • 'Jackboots and Jeans': The Private and the Political in Uwe Timm's Am Beispiel meines Bruders. In: Taberner, S; Berger, K eds. Germans as victims in the literary fiction of the Berlin Republic, Camden House (NY), pp. 191-204.
  • "Literary Debates and the Publishing Industry since Unification". In: Stuart Taberner (ed.) German Literature Since Unification. Cambridge, CUP: 2006.
  • "Zwischen Fischstäbchen, bosnischen Leichen und Tschibo-Kaffee". Peter Turrini and the Media" In: Janet Stewart and Simon Ward (eds.) Blueprints for No-Man's Land. Connections in contemporary Austrian Culture. Oxford/Bern: 2005, pp. 75-94.
  • 'Ein krampfhaftes Augenzumachen': Heinrich Böll and the Literaturbetrieb, of the early postwar years, Monatshefte für deutschsprachige Literatur und Kultur XCV, No. 1, pp.97-115
  • Dann wäre Deutschland wie das Wort Neckarauen.Surface, Superficiality and Glibalisation in Christian Kracht's Faserland. In: German Literature and Globalisation, ed. Stuart Taberner, Birmingham: BUP, 2004
  • Introduction to special edition of German Life and Letters on 'Emerging German Writers', with Stuart Taberner  55:2, 131-136 (2002)
  • With Sally Johnson: (Il)literacy and Immorality in Bernhard Schlink's The Reader. In: Written Language and Literacy, 4:2 (2001), pp. 195-214.
  • 'Solidarity among the Ruins'. The Times Literary Supplement (13.4.2001)
  • "Ein Schriftsteller, der funktionert, ist keiner mehr". Heinrich Böll and the Gruppe 47. In: Parkes, Stuart and John J. White, The Gruppe 47 Fifty years on. A Re-appraisal of its literary and political significance. The German Monitor (1999), 105-126.
  • Centre Stage: Contemporary Drama in Austria. In Finlay, F. and R. Jeutter (eds) 'Centre Stage': Contemporary Drama in Austria. Amsterdam & Atlanta. Editions Rodopi , 1-13. (1999)
  • "Das wirklich Ungeschminkte": Peter Turrini's Die Minderleister as a Critique of the Mass Media. In Finlay, F. and Jeutter R. (eds) 'Centre Stage': Contemporary Drama in Austria. Amsterdam & Atlanta. Editions Rodopi, 165-180. (1999)
  • Joseph Beuys' Eco-Aesthetics. In: Ecological Thought in German Culture. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Ed. C. Riordan. Cardiff: (University of Wales Press) 245-58. (1997)
  • Sprachwiderstand: Critical Language Analysis in Böll's Writings of the 1980s. In: Heinrich Böll on Page and Screen. The London Symposium. Eds. Huber, L. and Conard, R. C. Publications of the Institute of Germanic Studies, vol 71 [1997], 49-64. [Simultaneous publication in The University of Dayton Review. (Ohio), 24 (3), 49-64. 
  • With Sally Johnson: Do Men Gossip? An Analysis of Football Talk on Television. In Language and Masculinity. Eds. Johnson, S. and Meinhof, U-H. Oxford: (Basil Blackwell) 130-43, (1997)
  • Heinrich Böll and a "Logocentric" Theory of Language. In German Writers, their Aesthetics and their Language. Eds. S Parkes, S., Williams, A. and Preece, J. Zürich: (Peter Lang), 237-50 (1996)
  • Heinrich Böll und die "Vernunft der Poesie". In: Alte Welten - Neue Welten. Akten des IX. Kongresses der Internationalen Vereinigung für germanische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft. Ed. Batts, M. S. Tübingen. Niemeyer. (1996)
  • Geschichte und Melancholie: Über Heinrich Bölls Roman >Frauen vor Flußlandschaft<. Herausgegeben von Á. Bernád. In Jahrbuch der ungarischen Germanistik. Budapest/Bonn. (1996)
  • Years of Hope. "Die Hoffnung ist wie ein wildes Tier. Der Briefwechsel zwischen Heinrich Böll und Ernst-Adolf Kunz", edited by H. Hoven and "Heinrich Böll: Erzählungen". In: The University of Dayton Review (Ohio). 23 (2), 29-32. (1995)
  • Context and Culture in Language Teaching. By C. Kramsch. In British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Newsletter. Spring Issue. 49, 30-32. (1995)
  • The Narrative Fiction of Heinrich Böll.  The Times Literary Supplement. 21.4.1995.
  • 'Aspekte und Tendenzen der Böll-Forschung.' In: Bernd Balzer (ed.) Memoria. Heinrich Böll zum 75. Geburtstag. Zürich: (Peter Lang) 315-38. (1992)

Archive Databases

  • INTERVIEW.ASK [A bibliographical computer database of over two hundred interviews with Heinrich Böll, with keywords and critical commentary in German.] Heinrich-Böll-Archiv, Stadtbücherei, Cologne. Funded by the German Foreign Ministry and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. (1991)
  • HABSEK: Eine vorläufige Bestandsaufnahme der Sekundärliteratur zu Heinrich Böll. [A bibliographical computer database of international scholarship on Heinrich Böll with keywords and critical commentary in German.] Heinrich-Böll-Archiv, Stadtbücherei, Cologne. Updated on an annual basis. (1990)

As Named Translator

  • H. Briel. The Mediality of Language. In S. Parkes, A. Williams and J. Preece (eds) Whose Story? Continuitues in German-language Literature. Bern/Berlin (Peter Lang) 21-30. (1998)
  • [With S. Johnson] D. Stolz: Poetry and Photography in the works of Rolf-Dieter Brinkmann. In S. Parkes/A. Williams (eds) German Writers, their Language and Aesthetics. Zürich: (Peter Lang) 141-60. (1996)
  • K. Fliedl: Hilde Spiel's Linguistic Rights of Residence. Austrian Studies. 6. (1996)
  • L. Bauer/H. Matis: From the Moral to the Political Economy. History of European Ideas. 9 (2), 125-43. (1991)

Recent Conferences/Invited Papers

I have presented my work at a large number of conferences around the world, most recently at the German Studies Association of the USA in Lousiville Kentucky (On Swiss Novellist Christian Kracht). Other papers in 2011 were on Heinrich Böll and the Literary Field, in Manchester, and on the English translation of H.G. Adler at an AHRC-supported conference on Holocaust Writing at the IGRS in London.