Dr Ingo Cornils

Dr Ingo Cornils

Senior Lecturer in German;

Director of Joint Honours Programmes

+44 (0)113 343 3513

Summary: Zukunftsbewältigung: Utopian Thought, especially in Romanticism, the German Student Movement ('1968'), Science Fiction, and in the works of Kurd Lasswitz, Hermann Hesse and Uwe Timm.

Location: Michael Sadler Building R.215


A native of Schleswig-Holstein, Ingo Cornils was educated at the Theodor Mommsen Schule in Bad Oldesloe and Belmond High School, Iowa. After his Zivildienst he attended the University of Hamburg (First Staatsexamen/MA; PhD) and the University of California at Santa Barbara. Following teacher training (Second Staatsexamen/PGCE) and a stint in advertising, he came to England in 1987 as DAAD Lektor at the Leeds Polytechnic from 1987 until 1990. At the University of Leeds, he worked as Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of German and the Language Centre (as Director of Language Centre Modules) from 1990. He joined the Department of German full-time in August 1999, served as Head of Department 2002-2005, as Head of Department of the newly merged Department of German, Russian and Slavonic Studies (GRASS) from 2007-2010, as Director of Student Education for the School of Modern Languages and Cultures from 2011-2014, and as Director of Joint Honours Programmes in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies from 2015-2018. He is a member of the University Senate 2016-2019.

He is a member of:

and occasionally blogs at http://www.icornils.wordpress.com/


    A trained teacher, he has helped to set up the institution-wide language programme at Leeds which offers general and specialised language tuition from ab initio to advanced level. For many years he taught German Current Affairs in their Political Context, an innovative lecture course involving task-focused group work and extensive use of a custom-built German news archive. Committed to teaching in German, he has coordinated and developed numerous modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including Core German Language, Introduction to Modern Germany, Berlin Republic, German for Business, Applied Translation, German Student Movement, German Science Fiction, German Dissertation, Anglo-German Cultural Relations, and The novels of Hermann Hesse. He was awarded a grant to develop the German Dissertation so that students approach it as a research project in its own right (a forerunner of the Final Year Project) Finished projects were presented at a student-led conference and in an e-journal. His module German Utopian Thought in Fiction and Film achieved 100% student satisfaction and was praised by external examiners: "A new final year module, German Utopian Thought, covers an exciting variety of primary material. This module inspired students to some fine performances and written work in the target language was well supported as part of the module structure." He was shortlisted for the Leeds University Union Partnership Awards.

    In 2017/2018, he taught in the following modules:

    Level Subject
    Level 1 MODL 1150 Worlds of Literature
    Level 2 GERM 2310/2311 Berliner Republik
    Level 3 GERM 3170 German Utopian Thought in Fiction and Film
    Level 3 MODL 3030 Final Year Research Project

    Research Supervision

    Ingo Cornils is interested in supervising suitably qualified candidates who want to pursue research in the area of utopian thought, be it political, romantic or fantastic. His particular expertise is in the literary representation of the German Student Movement, the history of German Science Fiction from Kurd Laßwitz to Andreas Eschbach and Martin Burckhardt, and the works and influence of Hermann Hesse.

    Currently, he is working with the following PhD candidates:


    • Neale Cunningham (Hermann Hesse's Reception in Japan) - PhD 
    • Adam Roberts (Masks of Fiction. The Function of the Nietzschean Mask in the Works of Hermann Hesse)
       - PhD
    • Kevin Pike (Removing the Boot-Boys from German Politics. Unconstitutionality Proceedings pursuant to Article 21, Paragraph 2 of the German Constitution: The Case of the NPD) - MA


    His research focuses on the complex relationship between political, utopian and fantastic thought. He has a particular interest in Romanticism, the construction and representation of the German Student Movement, German Science Fiction, and in the works of Kurd Lasswitz, Hermann Hesse and Uwe Timm.

    He recently completed a monograph titled 'Writing the Revolution. The Construction of 1968 in Germany'. This book argues that writing about '1968', in its German context, is no longer about the historical events or the aims and objectives of a by-gone counter-cultural movement, but rather about a moral touchstone, a unique identifier of social groups, and an identity construct, to keep alive a utopian agenda that continues to fire the imagination. It demonstrates that the representation of 1968 as a ‘foundational myth’ suits a number of surprisingly heterogeneous groups, and that even the myth’s deconstruction strengthens it. Most importantly, it shows how for more almost five decades a small group of determined writers, intellectuals, journalists and academics have kept ‘1968’ in the foreground of public debate, thereby ensuring that the experience of this ‘utopian moment’ (Jay Winter) maintains its subversive potential.

    His new book project, 'Beyond Tomorrow. German Science Fiction and Utopian Thought in the 20th and 21st Century', explores the question of how humanity can match its technological progress with an appropriate social, ethical and moral progress. In an era in which scientific and technological advances have revolutionised our capabilities to radically alter ourselves and the physical world around us, literary responses have become increasingly dystopian in outlook. They reflect the fears and misgivings about: increasingly porous boundaries (global communication network, virtual realities, national identities, cosmetic surgery); conceptual paradigm shifts (artificial intelligence, quantum physics, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, gender reassignment); and persistent global challenges (climate change, food production and war/terrorism), all of which require a new form of consciousness (cf. Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus). Since the turn of the millennium, German writers have increasingly engaged with the moral and ethical dilemmas created by these challenges. Building on the rich tradition of German Science Fiction from Kurd Lasswitz (1848-1910) to Carl Amery (1922-2005), they explore in thoughtful and accessible mind-experiments the dangers and frontiers of our new capabilities, and also the opportunities should we succeed in harnessing the potential inherent in these paradigm changes. Beneath their dystopian guise, these writers attempt Zukunftsbewältigung: valuable strategies that may help us cope with an uncertain but also unwritten future.

    a) Books / Edited Books / Edited Journals

      b) Articles / Chapters in Books

      • "Seher und Propheten. Hermann Hesse als Vermittler der englischen Literatur", in: Hermann Hesse Jahrbuch 11 (ed. Michael Limberg / Mauro Ponzi), Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2019 (accepted)
      • "The Politics of Conscience. Hermann Hesse's Struggle with Pacifism", in: Ritchie Robertson / Andreas Kramer (eds.), Pacifist and Anti-Militarist Writing in German, 1889-1929: From Bertha von Suttner to Erich Maria Remarque, Munich: Iudicium 2019 (in print)
      • "The Memory of '1968' in Germany", in: Donatella della Porta (ed.), Memory in Movements: 1968 in 2018, Milan: Feltrinelli 2018 (also in Italian translation: Sessantotto: Passato e presente dell'anno ribelle)
      • "A model European? Hermann Hesse's influence on the Suhrkamp Verlag", in: German Life and Letters 68:1, January 2015, pp.54-65, ISSN:1468-0483
      • "Between Bauhaus and Bügeleisen. The Iconic Style of Raumpatrouille (1966), in: Ricarda Vidal / Ingo Cornils (eds.), Alternative Worlds. Blue-Sky Thinking since 1900, Oxford: Peter Lang 2015, pp.283-302, ISBN 978-3-0343-1787-0
      • "Hermann Hesse und die englische Romantik", in: Henriette Herwig / Florian Trabert (eds.), Der Grenzgänger Hermann Hesse. Neue Perspektiven der Forschung, Freiburg: Rombach Verlag 2013, pp.187-207, ISBN 978-3-7930-9699-3
      • "The Matrix Preloaded: Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Welt am Draht (1973)", in: Veronika Wieser et. al. (eds), Abendländische Apokalyptik. Kompendium zur Genealogie der Endzeit, Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2013, pp.285-298, ISBN 978-3-05-005797-2
      • "Zwischen Mythos und Utopie: Hermann Hesses Suche nach dem Endpunkt des Seins", in: German Life and Letters 66:2, April 2013, pp.156-172, ISSN 0016-8777 (print), 1468-0483 (online); translated into Italian as "Tra Mito E Utopia. Hermann Hesse: la ricerca di un punto finale dell' esistenza", in: Daniela Padularosa e Mauro Ponzi (a cura di), L'unità dietro la Molteplicità. Hermann Hesse: un autore per un mondo in crisi?, Roma: Lithos 2015, pp.119-144, ISBN 978-88-97414-83-4
      • "Hermann Hesse und die (neuen) Medien", in: Mauro Ponzi (ed.), Hermann Hesse Jahrbuch, Band 5, Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann 2012, pp.9-26, ISBN 978-3-8260-5035-0
      • "Utopian, Dystopian and Subversive Strategies in Recent German Alternate History Fictions", in: Lars Schmeink / Astrid Böger (eds), Collision of Realities. Establishing Research on the Fantastic in Europe, pp.325-338, Berlin: de Gruyter 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-027654-1
      • "Hermann Hesses orientalische Sinnlichkeit", in: Volker Wehdeking (ed.), Licht aus dem Osten? Hermann Hesses transkulturelle Orientbezüge, pp. 213-235, Marburg: Tectum Verlag 2011, ISBN 978-3-8288-2737-0
      • "Furchtbare Symmetrien. Romantische Verwandtschaften im Werk der Dichter-Maler Hermann Hesse und William Blake", in: Arcadia - International Journal for Literary Studies. Volume 46, Issue 1 (2011), pp. 149-166, ISSN (Online) 1613-0642, ISSN (Print) 0003-7982
      • "Denkmalsturz. The German Student Movement and German Colonialism", in: Michael Perraudin / Jürgen Zimmerer (eds.), German Colonialism and National Identity, pp. 197-212, New York: Routledge 2010, ISBN: 978-0-415-96477-7
      • "Utopian Moments: Memory Culture and Cultural Memory of the German Student Movement", in: Ingo Cornils / Sarah Waters (eds.), Memories of 1968. International Perspectives (Cultural History and Literary Imagination Vol.16), pp. 281-298, Bern, Peter Lang 2010, ISBN 978-3-03911-931-8
      • "From Outsider to Global Player - Hermann Hesse in the Twenty-First Century", in: Ingo Cornils (ed.), A Companion to the Works of Hermann Hesse, pp 1-16, Rochester, Camden House 2009, ISBN 978-1-57113-330-4
      • "Hermann Hesse und die Elite(n)", in: Michael Limberg (ed.), "Die gefährliche Lust, unerschrocken zu denken." Das Menschenbild bei Hermann Hesse, Stuttgart: Klett 2008, pp. 71-90
      • with Gerrit-Jan Berendse, "Introduction: The Long Shadow of Terrorism", in: Gerrit-Jan Berendse / Ingo Cornils (eds.), Baader-Meinhof Returns. History and Cultural Memory of German Left-Wing Terrorism (German Monitor), pp. 9-20, Amsterdam / New York: Rodopi 2008, ISBN 978-90-420-2391-8
      • "Joined at the hip? The representation of the German Student Movement and left-wing German terrorism in recent literature", in: Gerrit-Jan Berendse / Ingo Cornils (eds.), Baader-Meinhof Returns. History and Cultural Memory of German Left-Wing Terrorism (German Monitor), pp. 137-155, Amsterdam / New York: Rodopi 2008, ISBN 978-90-420-2391-8
      • "Literary Reflections on '68", in: Stuart Taberner (ed.), Contemporary German Fiction. Writing in the Berlin Republic, pp. 91-107, Cambridge: CUP 2007, ISBN-13: 9780521860789
      • "Reisen in Zeit und Raum. Die Renaissance der deutschen Science Fiction", in: Ingo Cornils (ed.), Utopie, Fantasy und Science Fiction in Deutschland, special edition of literatur für leser, 29.Jahrgang, Nr. 4/06, pp. 275-290, Frankfurt a.M., Peter Lang 2007, ISSN 0343-1657
      • "Uwe Timm, der heilige Georg und die Entsorgung der Theorie", in: Frank Finlay / Ingo Cornils (eds.), (Un-)erfüllte Wirklichkeit. Neue Studien zu Uwe Timms Werk, pp. 55-71, Würzburg, Königshausen & Neumann, 2006, ISBN 3-8260-3244-6
      • "The Martians are Coming! War, Peace, Love, and Reflection in H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds and Kurd Laßwitz's Auf zwei Planeten", in: Fred Bridgham (ed.), The First World War as a Clash of Cultures, pp. 137-154, Rochester: Camden House 2006, ISBN 1571133402
      • "Ein Glasperlenspiel im Internet. Hesse lesen im globalen Zeitalter", in: Andreas Solbach (Hg.), Hermann Hesse und die literarische Moderne, pp. 399-413, st 3609, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 2004, ISBN 3-518-45609-1
      • "Folgenschwere Schüsse. Die Kugeln auf Benno Ohnesorg und Rudi Dutschke im Spiegel der deutschen Literatur", in: Jahrbuch für Internationale Germanistik, Jahrgang XXXV - Heft 2, 2003, pp. 55-73, Bern: Peter Lang 2005, ISSN 0449-5233
      • "Writing the revolution: The Literary Representation of the German Student Movement as Counter-Culture", in: Steve Giles / Maike Oergel (eds.), Counter-Cultures in Germany and Central Europe. From Sturm und Drang to Baader-Meinhof, pp. 295-314, Bern: Peter Lang 2003, ISBN 3-03910-007-6
      • "The Martians are Coming! War, Peace, Love, and Scientific Progress in H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds and Kurd Laßwitz's Auf zwei Planeten", in: Comparative Literature, Vol.55, No.1, Winter 2003, pp. 24-41, University of Oregon 2003, ISSN 0010-4124
      • "Long Memories. The German Student Movement in Recent Fiction", in: German Life and Letters, Issue 56:1, January 2003, pp. 89-101, Blackwell, 2003, ISSN 0016-8777
      • "Successful failure? The impact of the German Student Movement on the Federal Republic of Germany", in: Stuart Taberner / Frank Finlay (eds.), Recasting German Identity. Culture, Politics and Literature in the Berlin Republic, pp. 105-122, Rochester: Camden House 2002, ISBN 1-57113-244-9
      • "Alles Kaputt? Visions of the End in West German and Austrian Science Fiction", in: Foundation (the international review of science fiction), Vol.30 / No.82, Summer 2001, pp. 57-74, Science Fiction Foundation, ISSN 0306-4964258; reprinted in: Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Vol.218, edited by Thomas L. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau, 67-77. Detroit: Gale, 2009, ISBN 978-1-4144-3413-1
      • "Romantic Relapse? The literary representation of the German Student Movement", in: Chris Hall / David Rock (eds.), German Studies Towards the Millenium. Selected papers from the Conference of University Teachers of German, University of Keele, September 1999, pp. 107-123, Bern/Frankfurt/New York: Peter Lang, 2000, ISBN 3-906765-65-2
      • "Looking back: Piwitt, Rothschilds and the German Student Movement", in: David Basker (ed.), Hermann Peter Piwitt, (Contemporary German Writers Series), pp. 47-64, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000, ISBN 0-7083-1665-4
      • "A Romantic in Ratzeburg: Coleridge's debt to North German Provinz", in: Richard Byrn (ed.), Cousins at One Remove, (Anglo-German Studies 2), pp. 27-41, Leeds: Northern Universities Press, 1998, ISBN 0-901286-98-2
      • "'The Struggle Continues'. Rudi Dutschke's Long March", in: Gerard J. DeGroot (ed.), Student Protest. The Sixties and After, pp 100-114, London and New York: Longman, 1998, ISBN 0-582-35619-9
      • "Problems of Visualisation. The Image of the Unknown in German Science Fiction", in: Jeff Morrison / Florian Krobb (eds.), Text into Image: Image into Text, pp.287-295, (Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft Vol.20), Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1997, ISBN 90-420-0152-6
      • "The German Student Movement. Legend and Legacy", in: Debatte (Review of Contemporary German Affairs), Vol.4 / No.2, pp. 36-62, 1996, ISSN 0965-156X
      • "Vergangenheitsbewältigung in den Tagesthemen", in: ALL German Teaching (The German Journal of the Association for Language Learning), No 14, December 1996, pp. 6-11, 1996, ISSN 0953-4822

      c) Conference Papers

      • "Seher und Propheten. Hermann Hesse als Vermittler der englischen Literatur", for the Silser Hermann Hesse Tage in Sils Maria, Switzerland (06/18)
      • "Romantic Relapse or Modern Myth? Reflections on the Construction of '1968' in Germany", for the symposium 1968 and all that at the Institute for German Studies in Birmingham (03/18)
      • "Coming to Terms with the Future. On Recent German Dystopias", for the seminar The Future is Now at the ACLA in Utrecht (07/17)
      • "'Where I am, is Germany.' German Family Sagas in the 20th and 21st Century," for the Family Sagas in World Literatures and Visual Culture conference in Leeds (06/17)
      • "Another Long March? Rudi Dutschke and '1968' in German Literature", for the symposium Rudi Dutschke in the UK - political activist, political refugee, political threat? in Cambridge (05/17)
      • "Memories of '68 today", for the Future of Memory in Germany conference at Georgetown University in Washington, DC (11/16)
      • "The Politics of Conscience. Hermann Hesses Struggle with Pacifism", for the Pacifist and Anti-Militarist Writing in German 1892-1928 conference at the Institute for Modern Language Research in London, (09/16)
      • "Hermann Hesse - a model European?", for the Suhrkamp and European Literature Conference at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach (03/14) 
      • "Not Dark Yet. The 68ers at 70", for the AGS Conference in Cardiff (04/13) 
      • "Zwischen Mythos und Utopie. Hermann Hesses Suche nach dem Endpunkt des Seins", for the symposium ATTUALITA’ DI HERMANN HESSE. Messaggio per un mondo in crisi? in Rome (9/12)
      • "Hermann Hesse und die englische Romantik", for the International Hesse Conference '...die Grenzen überfliegen' in Berne (03/12)
      • "Between Bauhaus and Bügeleisen. The iconic style of Raumpatrouille (1966)", for the Alternative Worlds seminar series at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies in London (04/11) 
      • "Der Schnee von gestern ist die Lawine von morgen. Utopian, dystopian and subversive strategies in recent German Alternate History fictions." Paper for the Association for Research in the Fantastic Conference Fremde Welten in Hamburg (10/10) - watch here
      • "The German Student Movement - Research Perspectives", for the Protest Movements after '1968' TRAMS research seminar in Copenhagen (09/10)

      d) Book Reviews

      • Maik Tändler, Das therapeutische Jahrzehnt. Der Psychoboom in den siebziger Jahren, Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag 2016, in: MLR 112.4, 2017
      • Silja Behre, Bewegte Erinnerung. Deutungskämpfe um “1968” in deutsch-französischer Perspektive, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2016 , in: MLR 112.4, 2017
      • Laurence Rickels, Germany: A Science Fiction, Fort Wayne: Anti-Oedipus 2015, in: Zeitschrift für Fantastikforschung, 2/2015, pp.138-140
      • Mary Cosgrove / Anna Richards (eds.), Sadness and Melancholy in German-Language Literature and Culture, Rochester/New York: Camden House 2012, in: MLR 109.3, 2014
      • Alan Corkhill, Spaces for Happiness in the Twentieth-Century German Novel. Mann, Kafka, Hesse, Jünger, Bern: Peter Lang 2012, in: MLR 109.2, 2014
      • Mauro Ponzi (ed.), Klassische Moderne. Ein Paradigma des 20. Jahrhunderts, Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann 2010, in: MLR 106.3, 2011
      • B. Davis / W. Mausbach / M. Klimke / C. MacDougall (eds.), Changing the World, Changing Oneself: Political Protest and Collective identities in West Germany and the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s, New York / Oxford 2010, in: MLR 106.3, 2011
      • 'Es ging am Anfang nicht leicht mit uns': Hermann Hesse und Jakob Schaffner im Briefwechsel 1905-1933. Ed. by Christof Wamister. Zurich: Chronos. 2009, in: MLR 106.2, 2011
      • Barry Stephenson, Veneration and Revolt. Hermann Hesse and Swabian Pietism, Wilfrid Laurier UP 2009, in: MLR 106.1, 2011
      • Jürgen Below, Hermann Hesse Bibliographie. Sekundärliteratur 1899-2007, Berlin / New York 2007, in: Colloquia Germanica 40 (3-4), 2007, pp. 343-346
      • Dina Brandt, Der deutsche Zukunftsroman 1918-1945, Tübingen 2007, in: MLR 104.1, 2009
      • Martin Klimke / Joachim Scharloth (eds.), 1968. Handbuch zur Kultur- und Mediengeschichte der Studentenbewegung, Stuttgart 2007, in: MLR 104.1, 2009
      • Marco Schickling, Hermann Hesse als Literaturkritiker, Heidelberg 2005, in: MLR 102.2, 2007

      e) Current Projects

      • Beyond Tomorrow. German Science Fiction and Utopian Thought in the 20th and 21st Century (monograph)
      • First Contact. Kurd Lasswitz' Sternentau (journal article)
      • Dunkle Spiegel: der dystopische ‚turn‘ in der Weltliteratur (journal article)
      • The Hyperion Connection (journal article)
      • Magister Mundi. Hermann Hesse's Global Impact (monograph)