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Maike Oergel

Professor of German and Comparative Cultural Studies (Director of the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies), Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I hold an M.A. in English, German and Art History from the University of Hamburg in Germany and went a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of East Anglia. In 1994 I was appointed as Lecturer in German here at Nottingham in 1994, promoted to Associated Professor in 2003 and to Professor of German and Comparative Cultural Studies in March 2019. I am the Director of the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies. From 2010 to 2017, I co-edited Comparative Critical Studies, the journal of the British Comparative Literature Association. I work in the area of 18th and 19th-century cultural history in Germany and Britain. My research pioneers interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to cultural identity construction and the circulation of ideas. I am particularly interested in the relationships between language(s), ideas, cultural identity and cultural practice.

Expertise Summary

  • Enlightenment and Romanticism
  • Anglo-German cultural relations 1750-1900
  • constructions of national identities (German, English, British, the Germanic/Teutonic)
  • aesthetic and political radicalisms (Sturm & Drang, German nationalism/Befreiungskriege, Burschenschaften)
  • concepts of Zeitgeist
  • translation studies

My key area of expertise is 18th and early 19th-century English and German intellectual and cultural history, especially the construction of the concepts of modernity, national identity, and historicity in the context of the Enlightenment and Romanticism.

Comparative Studies/Literature

My first book The Return of King Arthur and the Nibelungen: National Myth in 19th-century English and German Literature (1998) was the first study to investigate the similarities between notions of the Germanic/Teutonic in 19th-century German and English thinking, and their importance for the construction of national identities in both national contexts, filling a gap in the understanding of Anglo-German intellectual relations. I have published widely on the concept of the Germanic as well as the importance of the mythic in 19th-century German and English literature, thought, and identity since.

Interdisciplinary Links between Ideas, Revolution and Identity

My interest in the idea of the national as revolutionary around 1800 produced a volume of essays entitled Counter-Cultures in Germany and Central Europe: From Sturm und Drang to Baader-Meinhof (2003), co-edited with Steve Giles. Studying the paradigm shift from Enlightenment to Romanticism I became interested in the idea of historicity as a defining category of modern thought, which, as I have argued in my second monograph, leads to the emergence of the modern Denkmodell of dialectics: Culture and Identity: Historicity in German Literature and Thought 1770-1815 (2006). This study explores how the emergence of modern historical awareness defines German thought on cultural and national identity and critically informs the work of one of the most significant German writers of that time, Johann Wolfgang Goethe. The research for this project was funded by the AHRB.

Cultural Transfer

My interest in the link between ideas, literature, and politics resulted in an edited volume of essays on the 'revolutionary' 1790s in Germany, Britain and France: Re-Writing the Radical. Enlightenment, Revolution and Cultural Transfer (2012), which looks at the ways in which radical ideas were dealt with following the French Revolution. I am currently completing a project on Zeitgeist, funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship, which investigates the origins and emergence of this concept around 1800 and formulates a conceptual definition of Zeitgeist which demonstrate its usefulness as a methodology for understanding international transfer processes by identifying the conditions under which ideas travel 'successfully' between disciplines and national contexts.

Translation Studies

As a comparatist, I am also interested in translation, in theory and practice. I have published a translation of Lou Andreas-Salome's Drei Briefe an einen Knaben (2016) and have contributed to the British Academy-funded project Frantz Fanon in and through Translation, the essay 'The Contexts of the German Translations of Frantz Fanon's Les Damnés de la terre' (2017).

Teaching Summary

My areas of teaching are Translation Studies, German Studies and Comparative Literature, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In the past I taught extensively in the area of Enlightenment… read more

Research Summary

My principal research area of research focuses, from comparative and interdisciplinary angles, on constructions of modern cultural identities (1750-1850), especially the idea of the Germanic, the… read more

Recent Publications

  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2020. ‘Incorrigible Jacobins’: Hazlitt’s Engagement with German Literature. The Hazlitt Review. 13, 35-49
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2019. Zeitgeist - How Ideas Travel: Politics, Culture and the Public in the Age of Revolution de Gruyter.
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2018. Constitutionalism and Cultural Identity as Revolutionary Concepts in German Political Radicalism 1806-1819: The Case of Karl Follen Comparative Critical Studies. 15.2, 183-205

My areas of teaching are Translation Studies, German Studies and Comparative Literature, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In the past I taught extensively in the area of Enlightenment studies and Romantic literature and thought. I supervise PhD projects in the areas of cultural transfer, translation studies and Romanticism.

I welcome enquiries about PhD supervision in the areas of comparative cultural and intellectual history (18th and 19th c, especially English and German), constructions of national histories and cultural identities, cultural transfer and literary translation. I am particularly interested in comparative projects, and interdisciplinary work on intellectual history, historiography and literature.

For many years I convened the Undergraduate Ambassadors for Modern Foreign Languages- module, which supports the School's community engagement activities by sending final year students into local schools to deliver a teaching project to stimulate interest in their language.

Current Research

My principal research area of research focuses, from comparative and interdisciplinary angles, on constructions of modern cultural identities (1750-1850), especially the idea of the Germanic, the concept of historicity, constructions of national identities, and modern political radicalisms. Within 18th and 19th-century English and German intellectual and cultural history, I am particularly interested in cultural contact and exchange between Britain and Germany and the impact of such contact on national and cultural self-definitions. I have recently completed a project on Zeitgeist, funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship, which investigates the origins and emergence of this concept in the 18th century, its redefinition in Germany in the wake of the French Revolution and its transfer to Britain in the 1820s. The study formulates a conceptual definition of Zeitgeist which demonstrate its usefulness as a methodology for understanding not just the triggers of historical change but equally the international transfer processes which accompany such change by identifying the conditions under which ideas travel 'successfully' between disciplines and national contexts. I am currently working on a co-authored monograph on interdisciplinary approaches to investigate the dynamics of cultural change. These approaches focus on analyzing the relationship between the emergence and transnational circulation of new ideas and the cultural practices they derive from or generate, and the agents in this process: Zeitgeist, Cultural Patterns, Elites and their Audiences: Interdisciplinary Approaches to investigate Circulation and Cultural Change.

I am also interested in the theory and practice of translation. In 2016 I published the first English translation of Lou Andreas Salomé' s Drei Briefe an einen Knaben (Sex and Religion. Two Texts of Early Feminist Psychoanalysis by Lou Andreas Salomé) and contributed to to the British Academy-funded research project 'Frantz Fanon in and through Translation' in 2017.

Past Research

I have worked extensively, from comparative and interdisciplinary angles, on constructions of modern cultural identities (1750-1850), especially the idea of the Germanic, the concept of historicity, constructions of national identities, and modern political radicalisms.

Comparative Studies/Literature and National Identity

My first book The Return of King Arthur and the Nibelungen: National Myth in 19th-century English and German Literature (1998) was the first study to investigate the similarities between notions of the Germanic/Teutonic in 19th-century German and English thinking, and their importance for the construction of national identities in both national contexts, filling a gap in the understanding of Anglo-German intellectual relations. I have published widely on the concept of the Germanic as well as the importance of the mythic in 19th-century German and English literature, thought, and identity since.

Interdisciplinary Links between Ideas, Revolution and Identity

My interest in the idea of the national as revolutionary around 1800 produced a volume of essays entitled Counter-Cultures in Germany and Central Europe: From Sturm und Drang to Baader-Meinhof (2003), co-edited with Steve Giles. Studying the paradigm shift from Enlightenment to Romanticism I became interested in the idea of historicity as a defining category of modern thought, which, as I have argued in my second monograph, leads to the emergence of the modern Denkmodell of dialectics: Culture and Identity: Historicity in German Literature and Thought 1770-1815 (2006). This study explores how the emergence of modern historical awareness defines German thought on cultural and national identity and critically informs the work of one of the most significant German writers of that time, Johann Wolfgang Goethe. The research for this project was funded by the AHRB.

Cultural Transfer

My interest in the link between ideas, literature, and politics resulted in an edited volume of essays on the 'revolutionary' 1790s in Germany, Britain and France: Re-Writing the Radical. Enlightenment, Revolution and Cultural Transfer (2012), which looks at the ways in which radical ideas were dealt with following the French Revolution. My most recent monograph, Zeitgeist. How Ideas Travel. Culture, Politics and the Public in the Age of Revolution (2019), which was funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship, investigates the origins and emergence of this concept around 1800 and its transfer to Britain. The study shows that the zeitgeist discussions around 1800 contributed to the formation of modern politics and capture key aspects of how ideas are disseminated within societies and across borders, providing a way of reading history horizontally.

Translation Studies

As a comparatist, I am also interested in translation, in theory and practice. I have published the first English translation of Lou Andreas-Salome's Drei Briefe an einen Knaben (2016) and contributed the essay 'The Contexts of the German Translations of Frantz Fanon's Les Damnés de la terre' ( 2017) to the British Academy-funded project Frantz Fanon in and through Translation.

Future Research

Anglo-German relations during the Napoleonic Wars

  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2020. ‘Incorrigible Jacobins’: Hazlitt’s Engagement with German Literature. The Hazlitt Review. 13, 35-49
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2019. Zeitgeist - How Ideas Travel: Politics, Culture and the Public in the Age of Revolution de Gruyter.
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2018. Constitutionalism and Cultural Identity as Revolutionary Concepts in German Political Radicalism 1806-1819: The Case of Karl Follen Comparative Critical Studies. 15.2, 183-205
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2018. Politics, Radicalism and Anglo-German Relations: The Reception of Ernst Moritz Arndt in early 19th-century Britain Angermion: Yearbook for Anglo-German Literary Criticism, Intellectual History and Cultural Transfers. 11, 31-59
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2017. Die Verurtümlichung Homers - ein Beispiel transnationaler Antiketransformation: Die Rezeption des Homerischen Barden in Großbritannien und Deutschland im 18. Jh.. In: ANNIKA HILDEBRANDT, CHARLOTTE KURBJUHN, STEFFEN MARTUS, ed., Topographien der Antike in der literarischen Aufklärung: Publikationen zur Zeitschrift für Germanistik NF 30 1. Peter Lang. 181-200
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2017. The Contexts of the German Translation of Frantz Fanon's Les Damnés de la Terre. In: KATHRYN BATCHELOR AND SUE-ANN HARDING and SUE-ANN HARDING, eds., Translating Frantz Fanon across Continents and Languages Routledge. 196-221
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2016. Three Letters to a Young Boy. In: MATTHEW DEL NEVO, ed., Sex and Religion.: Two texts of Early Feminist Psycholanalysis by Lou Andreas-Salome. Translated by Maike Oergel and Kristine Jennings; introduced by Matthew del Nevo and Gary Winship Transaction Publishers.
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2016. Jena 1789-1819: Ideas, Poetry and Politics. In: PAUL HAMILTON, ed., The Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism Oxford University Press. 219-239
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2016. 'The Grand Poem of our Time': Carlyle, Zeitgeist and his History of the French Revolution. In: DIRK GOETTSCHE, ed., Critical Time in Modern German Literature and Culture Peter Lang. 69-99
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2016. In: NORMAN KASPER, JOCHEN STROBEL, ed., Praxis und Diskurs der Romantik 1800-1900 Verlag Ferdinand Schoeningh. 99-116
  • JEROME CARROLL, STEVE GILES and MAIKE OERGEL, eds., 2012. Aesthetics and Modernity: From Schiller to the Frankfurt School Peter Lang.
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2012. The Aesthetics of Historicity: Friedrich Schiller's and Friedrich Schlegel's Concepts of the Art of Modernity. In: JEROME CARROLL, STEVE GILES and MAIKE OERGEL, eds., Aesthetics and Modenity: From Schiller to the Frankfurt School Peter Lang.
  • MAIKE OERGEL, ed., 2012. (Re-)Writing the Radical. Enlightenment, Revolution and Cultural Transfer in 1790s Germany, Britain and France 1st. Walter de Gruyter.
  • MAIKE, O., 2012. Changing authorities on HMS Bounty: the public images of William Bligh and Fletcher Christian in the context of late eighteenth-century political and intellectual conditions. In: MAIKE OERGEL, ed., (Re-)writing the radical: Enlightenment, revolution and cultural transfer in 1790s Germany, Britain and France Walter de Gruyter. 119-141
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2012. Germania in England. Functions of the Germanic in English Identity Construction and British Historical Thinking in the 19th Century. In: CHRISTINA LEE and NICOLA MCLELLAND, eds., Germania Remembered: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Arizona State University. 123-136
  • OERGEL, M., 2012. Germania and Great(er) Britain: German scholarship and the legitimization of the British Empire Angermion: Yearbook for Anglo-German Literary Criticism, Intellectual History and Cultural Transfer. 5(1), 91-118
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2010. “The Bard as Modern Ancient: The Dialectic of Modernisation around 1800”. In: RUEDIGER GOERNER and ANGUS NICHOLLS, eds., In the Embrace of the Swan: Anglo-German Intellectual Mythologies de Gruyter. 260-280
  • OERGEL, M., 2010. The Faustian 'Gretchen': overlooked aspects of a famous male fantasy German Life and Letters. 64(1), 45-55
  • OERGEL, M., 2007. Antiquity, Christianity and "die Germanen": Forging an Identity in the Modern World. In: PERKINS, M.A and LIEBSCHER, M., eds., Nationalism versus Cosmopolitanism in German Thought and Culture 1789-1914 1. 1. Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press. 49-69
  • OERGEL, M., 2006. The German identity, the German <i>Querelle</i>, and the ideal state: a fresh look at Schiller's fragment "Deutsche Größe". In: MARTIN, N., ed., Schiller: national poet - poet of nations : a Birmingham symposium Amsterdam: Rodopi. 241-256
  • OERGEL, M., 2006. Culture and identity: historicity in German literature and thought 1770-1815 1. Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • GILES, S. and OERGEL, M., eds., 2003. Counter-cultures in Germany and central Europe: from Sturm und Drang to Baader-Meinhof Oxford: Peter Lang.
  • MAIKE OERGEL, 2003. “Revolutionaries, Traditionalists, Terrorists? The Burschenschaften and the German. In: STEVE GILES and MAIKE OERGEL, eds., Counter-Cultures in Germany and Central Europe 1770-1980: From Sturm und Drang to Baader-Meinhof Peter Lang. 61-86
  • OERGEL, M., 2002. "Apocalypse Now or Never: 19th Century Visions of the End in Tennyson and Wagner" in New Comparison 30. Autumn 2000, 41-58
  • OERGEL, M., 2001. Klassische Romantik or Romantische Klassik? The influence of the Enlightenment and historicism on the intellectual conditions of the Goethezeit Publications of the English Goethe Society. new ser. 70, 74-86
  • OERGEL, M., 2001. Wie es wirklich wurde. The modern need for historical fiction.. In: DURRANI, O. and PREECE, J., eds., Travellers in Space and Time. Novel durch Zeit und Raum. Der deutschsprachige historische Roman. Amsterdam : Rodopi. 435-439
  • OERGEL, M., 2000. Klassische Romantik or Romantische Klassik? The Influence of the Enlightenment and Historicism on the Intellectual Conditions of the Goethezeit Publications of the English Goethe Society.
  • OERGEL, M., 2000. Ende der Querelle? Deutsche und britische Definitionen der modernen Identitaet im Kulturschatten der Antike 1750-1870. In: VON ESSEN, G. and TURK, H., eds., Unerledigte Geschichten. Der literarische Umgang mit Nationalit?t und Internationalität Göttingen : Wallstein. 72-99
  • OERGEL, M., 1999. Entry on Mythology. In: KONZETT, M., ed., Encyclopaedia of German Literature Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn. ?-?
  • OERGEL, M., 1999. Overshadowed by Antiquity? British and German Thoughts on the Formation of a Modern Identity 1750-1850.. In: GILES, S. and GRAVES, P., eds., From classical shades to Vickers victorious : shifting perspectives in British German studies: papers delivered at the Conference of University Teachers of German, University of Leicester, 6-8 April 1998 Bern : Peter Lang. 9-27
  • OERGEL, M., 1999. Entry on Romantic Irony. In: KONZETT, M., ed., Encyclopaedia of German Literature Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn. ?-?
  • OERGEL, M., 1998. Tennyson's Idylls and Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen: Myth in the 19th Century. In: BELL, M. and POELLNER, P., eds., Myth and the Making of Modernity: The Problem of Grounding in early 20th century literature 1. Amsterdam : Rodopi. 35-59
  • OERGEL, M., 1998. The Redeeming Teuton. 19th-Century Notions of the Germanic in England and Germany. In: CUBITT, G., ed., Imagining Nations Manchester : Manchester University Press. 75-91
  • OERGEL, M., 1998. The return of King Arthur and the Nibelungen : national myth in nineteenth century English and German literature Berlin : Walter de Gruyter.

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