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Dr. Roman Barton

R 02 005c | FRIAS


Roman Alexander Barton studied Cultural Studies, German, English and European Literatures at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and King's College London. From 2013-2016 he worked as a research associate at the SFB 644 "Transformationen der Antike" where he carried out a PhD project on the Making of the Sympathetic Imagination in the British eighteenth century. Currently he investigates the relation of mimesis and enumeration as a postdoc at the ERC-funded project "LISTLIT: Lists in Literature and Culture."


  • The History of the Literary List
  • Theories of Literary Representation
  • Affective Poetics
  • The Ethics of the Novel


Mimesis and Enumeration: List-Making between Figuralism and Experientiality in Early Modern British Literature

My research project explores how changes in the concept of mimesis in the Early Modern period are negotiated in the literary list. The project builds on the observation that due to its outward form, its being vertically or horizontally dimensioned on the page, the list is always already indicative of two alternate modes of representation. Elaborating on the studies of Erich Auerbach and Hayden White, I investigate the figuralism and experien­tiality of lists from Spencer to Sterne in an attempt to demonstrate that crucial changes in ‘listory’, the history of the literary list, are closely tied to transforming understandings of how to adequately represent ‘reality’ in literature.



  • The Making of the Sympathetic Imagination: Transformations of Sympathy in British Eighteenth-Century Philosophy and Fiction. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2020.


  • The List as Epistemic Form: Enumeration in Literature and Culture, eds. Roman Alexander Barton/Julia Böckling/Sarah Link/Anne Rüggemeier. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. (forthcoming)
  • "Briefwechsel der Brüder Grimm mit Georg Waitz." Briefwechsel der Brüder Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm. Kritische Ausgabe in Einzelbänden, vol. 8, eds. Roman Alexander Barton/Berthold Friemel. Stuttgart: Hirzel, 2020. (forthcoming)
  • Sympathy in Transformation: Dynamics between Rhetorics, Poetics and Ethics, eds. Roman Alexander Barton/Alexander Klaudies/Thomas Micklich. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2018.


  • "List-Making as a Spiritual Exercise: On the Functions of Enumeration in the Third Earl of Shaftesbury's Askêmata." a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 36:1 (2021). (forthcoming)
  • "'A fellow-feeling makes one wond'rous kind': Spectatorial and Narrative Sympathy in Adam Smith, Lord Kames and Oliver Goldsmith." Sympathy in Transformation: Dynamics between Rhetorics, Poetics and Ethics, eds. Roman Alexander Barton/Alexander Klaudies/Thomas Micklich. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2018: 177–194.
  • "Radicalising Sympathy: William Godwin's Reading of Shaftesbury." Shaping Enlightenment Politics: The Social Impact of the First and Third Earls of Shaftesbury, ed. Patrick Müller. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018: 275–290.



  • “Listen ohne Ende. Enumeration und Exzess im britischen Roman des 18. Jahrhunderts“
    Aufklärung und Exzess: Epistemologie und Ästhetik des Übermäßigen im 18. Jahrhundert
    Freie Universität Berlin | January 2020
  • “Recording the Ranks of Life: Hierarchy in the Literary List”
    (together with Julia Böckling)
    Rankings: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue
    Universität Bielefeld | June 2019
  • “Endless Lists in Sprawling Narratives: Enumeration in the Sternean Novel”
    Conference of the International Society for the Study of Narrative (ISSN)
    University of Navarra, Pamplona | May/June 2019
  • “Listing towards the Natural Self: On the Functions of Enumeration in Lord Shaftesbury’s Askêmata”
    Lists of Life: Life Writing and the Poetics of List Making
    FRIAS, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg | January 2019
  • “‘A fellow-feeling makes one wond’rous kind’: Sympathetic Reading and Spectating in the later Eighteenth Century”
    Poetics of Sympathy Conference
    SFB 644 Transformationen der Antike, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin May 2016
  • “‘We feel a gradual dilatation or expansion of the mind’: Configurations of Expansion and the Poetics of Sympathy in Lord Kames’ Elements of Criticism”
    (together with Helga Schwalm)
    British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) 45th Annual Conference: Growth, Expansion and Contraction
    St. Hugh’s College, Oxford January 2016
  • “Radicalizing Sympathy: William Godwin’s Reading of Shaftesbury”
    (together with Thomas Micklich)
    Shaping Enlightenment Politics: The Social and Political Impact of the First and Third Earls of Shaftesbury
    St. Giles House | July 2015
  • “The Perichoresis of Sympathy and Parental Love: The 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury’s Reading of Seventeenth-Century Divine Literature”
    Renaissance Society of America (RSA) Annual Meeting
    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin March 2015
  • “Sympathy and the Long Road from Sensus Communis to Common Sense”
    (together with Thomas Micklich and Alexander Klaudies)
    Center for the Study of Scottish Philosophy (CSSP) Spring Conference
    Theological Seminary Princeton March 2015
  • “Transformations of Sympathy: Shaftesbury and Adam Smith between Ancients and Moderns”
    (together with Thomas Micklich)
    Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy V
    University of Aberdeen May 2014



2020/21 Winter term


2019/20 Winter term