Dr. Benjamin Kohlmann


  • Currently (2011-): Assistant Professor, University of Freiburg
  • 2010-2011: Lecturer at the Department of English and American Studies, University of Regensburg



  • 2007-2011: PhD in English Literature, Lincoln College, University of Oxford
  • 2005-2007: M.A. degree in Philosophy and English Literature, University of Freiburg
  • 2004-2005: Graduate study at Yale University (Philosophy Department)
  • 2001-2004: Undergraduate studies, Philosophy and English Literature, University of Freiburg




Edited Volumes

  • Ed. (with M. Taunton) A History of 1930s British Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming.
  • Ed. (with M. Taunton) Literatures of Anti-Communism. Special issue of Literature and History (Spring 2015).
  • Ed. Edward Upward and Left-Wing Literary Culture in Britain. London: Ashgate, 2013. [Reviewed in Times Literary Supplement; Review of English Studies; Literature and History; Key Words: The Journal of the Raymond Williams Society, SHARP News]
  • Ed. (with M. Fludernik) Anglistentag 2011 - Proceedings. Trier: wvt, 2012.


Journal Articles

  • "The Victorian Crisis of Laissez-Faire: George Eliot, Political Economy, and the Common Good", History of Political Economy 48:4 (2016), 681-704.
  • "Toward a History and Theory of the Socialist Bildungsroman", NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, 48:2 (2015), 167-89.
  • "What Is It Like to Be a Rat? Early Cold War Glimpses of the Post-Human", Textual Practice 28/4 (2014), 655-75.
  • “Awkward Moments: Melodrama, Modernism, and the Politics of Affect”, PMLA 128/2 (2013), 337-52.
  • “An Honest Decade: William Empson and the Ambiguities of Writing in the 1930s”, English Literary History 80/1 (2013), 221-49
  • "Edward Upward, W. H. Auden, and the Rhetorical Victories of Communism", Modernism/Modernity 20/2 (2013), 287-306.
  • “‘Men of Sobriety and Buisnes’: Pepys, Privacy, and Public Duty”, Review of English Studies 61/251 (2010), 553-71 
  • “‘The Heritage of Symbolism: Henry Green, Maurice Bowra, and English Modernism in the 1920s”, Modern Language Notes 124/5 (2009), 1188-1210 
  • “‘Stand Still, True Poet That You Are!’ Remembering the Brownings, Imagining Memorabilia”, ZAA 57/2 (2009), 125-38


Book Chapters

  • "Muße, Work, and Free Time: Nineteenth-Century Visions of the Non-Alienated Life". How to Do Things With Narrative: Theory and Practice. Ed. Jan Alber and Greta Olson. Berlin: De Gruyter. Forthcoming 2017.
  • "Fashioning the 1930s". Cambridge Companion to British Literature in the 1930s. Ed. James Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Forthcoming 2017.
  • "'The End of Laissez-Faire': Literature, Economics, and the Idea of the Welfare State". Late Victorian into Modern, 1880-1920. Ed. Laura Marcus, Michèle Mendelssohn, and Kirsten Shepherd-Barr. Oxford: Oxford UP. Forthcoming 2016.
  • "Das Ich in der Revolte: Der Bildungsroman nach 1945 aus komparatistischer Perspektive". Vom 'unrettbaren' zum 'wiedergefundenen' Ich? Identitätsnarrative im 20. Jahrhundert. Ed. Heribert Tommek and Christian Steltz. Frankfurt: Lang. Forthcoming 2016.
  • "'Possible Failures': Doris Lessing and Individual Formation in a Tragic Key". Anglistentag 2014 - Proceedings. Trier: wvt, 2015. 353-63.
  • "Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward". The American Isherwood. Ed. Jim Berg and Christopher Freeman. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2015. 198-214.
  • "Versions of Working-Class Idleness: Non-Productivity and the Critique of Victorian Workaholism". Leisure, Idleness and Indolence in British Literature. Ed. Monika Fludernik and Miriam Nandi. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014. 195-214.
  • "Introduction". Edward Upward and Left-Wing Literary Culture in Britain. London: Ashgate, 2013. 1-18.
  • "Introduction". Utopian Spaces of Modernism: British Literature and Culture, 1885-1945. Ed. Rosalyn Gregory and Benjamin Kohlmann. London: Palgrave, 2012. 1-18.


Handbook and Dictionary Entries

  •  “Thomas Love Peacock”, “Thomas Lovell Beddoes”, “Edmund Burke”. Encyclopaedia of Literary Romanticism. Ed. Andrew Maunders. New York, 2010 
  • “Edward Upward”, Literary Encyclopedia,, 2010 [2500 words]



  • Review of Marius Hentea, TaTa Dada: The Real Life and Celestial Adventures of Tristan Tzara. Modernism/Modernity, 22/1 (2015), 206-8.
  • Review of Jock Macleod, Literature, Journalism, and the Vocabularies of Liberalism. ZAA, 61/1 (2014), 93-95.
  • Review of Jed Esty, Unseasonable Youth: Modernism, Colonialism, and the Fiction of Development. Modernist Cultures, 9/2 (2014), 310-14.
  • Review of Ina Habermann, Myth, Memory, and the Middlebrow: Priestley, du Maurier, and the Symbolic Form of Englishness. ZAA, 61/1 (2013), 93-95.
  • Review of Kristin Bluemel, ed., Intermodernism: Literary Culture in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain. Modernist Cultures, 6/1 (2011), 196-98
  • Review of Paul Crosthwaite, Trauma, Postmodernism, and the Aftermath of World War II, Modern Language Review, 105/2 (2010), 546-47



  • Poems by Silke Scheuermann. Inventory Journal (2014)


Scholarships and Prizes

  • Project funding, Elite Programme for Postdocs, Baden Württemberg Foundation (03/2015-03-2018)
  • Research Fellowship, German Research Foundation, English Department, University of East Anglia (10/2016-03/2017)
  • Visiting Fellow, Jesus College, University of Cambridge (10/2016-03/2017)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University (10/2012-09/2013)
  • Grant to organize conference 'Cultivating the Economy: Literature, Politics, Economics, 1870-1930' at Columbia University; Thyssen Foundation, 2013
  • Travel grant to attend "On Liberties: Victorian Liberals and Their Legacies", Gladstone's Library, Hawarden, UK; German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2013
  • Travel grant to attend "Space Between Conference", McGill University, Montreal; German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2011
  • Michael Foster Memorial Scholarship, awarded by the University of Oxford, 2008-2010 (waiving university and college fees)
  • PhD scholarship, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2008-2010
  • Various travel grants awarded by Lincoln College and the English Faculty at Oxford University, 2008-2010
  • Baden-Württemberg Scholarship (to study at Yale University), 2004-2005
  • Scholar of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), 2003-2010


Presentations and Panels:


Papers (Selected)

"The Socialist Bildungsroman and the Time of the Revolution", Anglistentag, Hanover, 2014

"Genealogies of Welfare: Ideas of the Common Good in E.M. Forster", Modernist Studies Association, Pittsburgh, 2014

"'A Romance about Capital': E.M. Forster and the Idea of the Welfare State", Modernist Communities, Paris, 2014

"Politics Without Footnotes", Modernist Studies Association, Brighton, 2013

"Spiral Descent: Communist Anti-Communism after World War II", Anti-Communism: Literature, Culture, Propaganda, Institute of English Studies, London, 2013

"Rethinking the 1930s: Literature, Politics, and the Communist Voice", Stanford University, 2013 (invited lecture)

"Forms of Preparedness: E.M. Forster, Risk, and Unemployment Insurance", Cultivating the Economy, Columbia University, 2013

"The Drama of Preparedness: Unemployment Insurance and E.M. Forster's (New) Liberal Aesthetic", On Liberties: Victorian Liberals and Their Legacies, Gladstone's Library, Hawarden (UK), 2013

"'Playing with Bright Images': The Making and Unmaking of Surrealist Black Humour", Space Between Conference, DePaul University, Chicago 2013

"Auden, Isherwood, and Post-Liberal Citizenship", Modernist Studies Association, Las Vegas, 2012

"'Higher Feelings' and the State: Literature, Economic Discourse, and the End of Laissez-Faire, 1870-1930", Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Centre for "History of the Emotions"), Berlin, 2012 (invited paper)

"A Lost Generation: The Literature of the 1930s and Writing after Modernism", Generation M: Resetting Modernist Time. UVA, Amsterdam, 2012

"'Brittle Ghosts': Surrealism, History, and Black Humour in the 1930s", History and Humour. Freiburg, 2012

The Poverty of Surrealism: Social Critique in Early Mass-Observation”, The ‘Space Between’ Conference, McGill University, Montreal, 2011

Awkward Moments: Melodrama, Modernism, and the Politics of Affect”, Intermodernism Seminar, Brunel University, London, 2011 [invited paper]

"What Is It Like To Be a Rat? Thomas Pynchon and Early Cold War Glimpses of the Post-Human", Research Seminar, Regensburg University, 2011

"A ‘Radical Aesthetic’? Social Facts and Poetic Authority in Mass-Observation”, Modernism and Utopia, University of Birmingham, 2010

“‘The Heart of Standing Is You Cannot Fly’: William Empson and Taking Sides”, Utopian Spaces of British Literature and Culture, 1890-1945, University of Oxford, 2009

“Henry Green, Maurice Bowra, and the ‘Heritage of Symbolism’”, Twentieth-Century Literature Research Seminar, University of Oxford, 2009

“The Uses of Poetry: From T. S. Eliot to William Empson”, MLA Convention, Poetry Division (chaired by Susan J. Wolfson and Alan Golding), San Francisco, 2008

“Poetical Remains: Robert Browning in the Marketplace”, Bodies and Things: Victorian Literature and the Matter of Culture Conference, University of Oxford, 2008


"The Long 1930s", MSA Seminar at the MSA Convention, Pittsburgh, 2014 (with Glyn Salton-Cox)

EUCOR PhD and MA Conference, University of Freiburg (two days; co-organized with W. Hochbruck and M. Fludernik), 2014

"Anti-Communism: Culture, Literature, Propaganda", Institute of English Studies, London, 28 August 2013 (symposium; with M. Taunton)

"Cultivating the Economy: Literature, Politics, Economics, 1870-1940", Columbia University, 23-24 May 2013 (conference)

"British Literature and the State, 1870-1940", panel at MLA 2013

"British Literature and the Interventionist State", panel at MSA 2012

“Utopian Spaces of British Literature, 1890-1945”, University of Oxford, 18 September 2009 (conference)


Teaching Experience:

At Freiburg, Oxford, and Regensburg I have taught introductory classes as well as advanced courses, mainly on nineteenth- and twentieth-century English literature. Topics have included: "Twentieth-Century British Drama", "History and Politics in Virginia Woolf's Novels", "Contexts of Modernism", "Victorian Poetry and Prose", "Victorian Literature in the Age of Extremes", "The Textual Worlds of Early Modern England". I have also taught a workshop for high school teachers at Regensburg University.

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