Dr Ian Ellison

Dr Ian Ellison


Current Email: ian.ellison@daad-alumni.de

In the autumn of 2019 I received my PhD in Comparative Literature and have subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv (German Literature Archive) in Marbach am Neckar. My book Late Europeans and Melancholy Fiction at the Turn of the Millennium, the first comparative study of novels by Patrick Modiano, W. G. Sebald, and Antonio Muñoz Molina, is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan.

In 2021 I was elected to the executive committee of the British Comparative Literature Association as an Early Career Researcher representative, having previously served as a Postgraduate Representative between 2018 and 2020. I am also an international fellow of the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform. From 2015 until 2017, I was a member of the organisational committee for the National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies and in 2018 I was also a member of the organizational committee for the annual conference of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland (AHGBI).

Awards and Funding

For my work at the DLA Marbach, I have most recently been awarded a postdoctoral research scholarship from the Deutsche Schillergesellschaft and in 2019 I was also the recipient of a Gerd Bucerius Scholarship from the research foundation ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.

From 2017 to 2018 I was a DAAD-funded visiting scholar working with Professor Astrid Erll at the Goethe Univeristät in Frankfurt. In 2018 I was also funded to participate in the International Summer School at the DLA in Marbach entitled ‘A New Republic of Letters? Intellectual Communities, Global Knowledge Transfer’, as well as the inaugural CHASE (Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts in South England) Summer School in ‘Comparative Literature: Principles, Practices, Perspectives’ at the University of Kent.

In 2016 the European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST) awarded me a Postgraduate Grant to attend the ‘In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe’ (ISTME) Graduate Training School and Conference at University College Dublin.

My doctoral research was funded by the Leverhulme Trust through Professor Stuart Taberner’s major research project on ‘Traumatic Pasts, Comsopolitanism, and Nation-Building in Contemporary World Literature’ and was co-supervised by Dr Helen Finch and Professor Duncan Wheeler. During my time at Leeds I taught undergraduate modules on German culture and comparative literature. I also co-organized the international conference ‘Archives of Resistance: Cosmopolitanism, Memory, World Literature’ (June 2018), as well as the WRoCAH-funded event ‘World Against Globe: Reconceptualizing World Literature Today’ (April 2016), plus two interdisciplinary postgraduate workshops: ‘Futures of Memory’ (February 2017) and ‘Beyond Sebald: New Trajectories in Sebald Studies’ (May 2017). 

Research interests

My research interests encompass modern European literature, particularly the novel in English, French, German, and Spanish.



Late Europeans and Melancholy Fiction at the Turn of the Millennium (London: Palgrave Macmillan, under contract for 2021)

Book Chapters

‘Auf der Suche nach Übersetzung: Der “deutsche” Proust im Nachlass von Eva Rechel-Mertens’, in Übersetzernachlässe in globalen Archiven / Fonds de traducteurs dans les archives globales, ed. Franziska Humphreys, Douglas Pompeu, and Lydia Schmuck (Göttingen: Wallstein, Marbacher Schriften, in preparation)

Journal Articles

‘“Un homme marche dans la rue”: Parisian flânerie and Jewish cosmopolitanism in Patrick Modiano’s Dora Bruder’, in Modern Language Review, 116:2 (2021), pp. 264–280

‘Melancholy Cosmopolitanism: Reflections on a genre of European literary fiction’, in History of European Ideas (online 2020), DOI 10.1080/01916599.2020.1857036

‘“Eine Märchenerzählung, die […] älter geworden ist mit der verflossenen Zeit”: W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz as a melancholy Kunstmärchen’, in Oxford German Studies, 49:1 (2020), pp. 86–101

‘Borgesian and Shakespearean Allusions in Die Ringe des Saturn by W. G. Sebald’, in Literatur für Leser, 4:14 (2015), pp. 235–245

Cultural Commentary

‘To write good things: Brigitte Reimann’s many fresh starts’, in Times Literary Supplement, 6132 (9 October 2020), p. 10 (https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/i-have-no-regrets-brigitte-reimann-review-ian-ellison/)

Book Reviews 

‘T. J. Reed, Genesis: The Making of Literary Works from Homer to Christa Wolf’, in Modern Language Review, 116:4 (forthcoming 2021)

‘Saul Friedländer, Proustian Uncertainties: On Reading and Rereading In Search of Lost Time’, in Journal of European Studies, 51:2 (forthcoming 2021)

‘Sandra Richter, Eine Weltgeschichte der deutschsprachigen Literatur’, in Comparative Critical Studies, 18:1 (forthcoming 2021)

‘Alexandra Kingston-Reese, Contemporary Novelists and the Aesthetics of Twenty-First Century American Life’, in European Journal of American Studies (online 2021, https://journals.openedition.org/ejas/16862)

‘Peter Mack, Reading Old Books: Writing with Traditions’ in Modern Language Review, 116:2 (2021), pp. 354–355

‘Jesse Matz, Modernist Time Ecology and Christina Lupton, Reading and the Making of Time in the Eighteenth Century’, in Journal of Contemporary European Studies (online 2021), DOI 10.1080/14782804.2021.1901056

‘Peter Mack, Reading with Old Books: Writing with Traditions’ in Modern Language Review, 116:2 (2021), pp. 354–355

‘Aleida Assmann, Is Time out of Joint? On the Rise and Fall of the Modern Time Regime’, in Journal of European Studies, 51:1 (2021), pp. 17–18

‘Hannah Freed-Thall, Spoiled Distinctions: Aesthetics and the Ordinary in French Modernism’, in Modern Language Review, 116:1 (2021), pp. 186–187

‘Anne Fuchs, Precarious Times: Temporality and History in Modern German Culture’, in Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 29:1 (2020), pp. 150–151

‘Colin Burrow, Imitating Authors: Plato to Futurity’ in Journal of European Studies, 50:4 (2020), pp. 389–390

‘Eric Griffiths, If Not Critical’, in Textual Practice (online 2020), DOI 10.1080/0950236X.2020.1854526

‘Thomas Baldwin, Roland Barthes: The Proust Variations’, in Modern Language Review, 115:4 (2020), pp. 925–926

‘Walter Cohen, A History of European Literature: The West and the World from Antiquity to the Present’, in Modern Language Review, 114: 4 (2019), pp. 848–849

‘B. Venkat Mani, Recoding World Literature: Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany’s Pact with Books’, in Comparative Critical Studies, 16:1 (2019), pp. 132–136

‘Samuel O’Donoghue, Rewriting Franco’s Spain: Marcel Proust and the Dissident Writers of Memory’, in Modern Language Review, 114:1 (2019), pp. 104–106


Invited Talks

‘Proust, Woolf, and Literary Afterlives’, Planetary Modernisms Seminar, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, 12 January 2021

‘Der “deutsche Proust”: Auf der Suche nach Übersetzung im Nachlass von Eva Rechel-Mertens’, Mittwochsseminar, Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, 29 January 2020

‘Melancholischer Kosmopolitismus als Genre in der europäischen Literatur’, Kollokvier (tyska och nederländska), Stockholms Universitet, 28 March 2017

‘Melancholy Cosmopolitanism – A Genre of European Memory Fiction?’, Centre for Modern European Literature, University of Kent, 9 March 2017

Selected Conference Papers

‘Senescence, Obsolescence, and Re-enchantment in Modern European Literature: Late Europeans’, Société européenne de littérature comparée: ‘Imaginer des communautés inclusives dans la culture européenne’, Sapienza Università di Roma, 5–9 September 2022

‘The translation of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (1913–1927) into German and its reception’, Objects and afterlives panel, Association for German Studies Conference, University of Swansea, 1–3 September 2021

‘The “Search for Lost Time”: Memory Convergence and Literary Afterlife’, Memory Studies Association Annual Conference: ‘Convergences’, Uniwersytet Warszawski, 5–9 July 2021

‘“A task one cannot measure with one’s watch in one’s hand”: The legacy of translating Proust into German’, Marcel Proust: Contested Legacies, University of Chicago online event, May 14 2021

‘Prismatic Proust: Searches for Lost Time in German’, Fictions of Retranslations: Retranslating Language and Style in Prose Fiction Conference, Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation, University of Oxford, 11–12 March 2021

‘Auf der Suche nach verlorener Übersetzung: Proust auf deutsch’, Übersetzernachlässe in Globalen Archiven Conference, Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, 25–27 November 2019

‘Una estética de la tardanza en Sefarad de Antonio Muñoz Molina: tensiones melancólicas entre tradiciones literarias en Europa y España’, Memory Studies Association Annual Conference, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, (27 June 2019)

‘Spuren der Spätzeitlichkeit und des melancholischen Kosmopolitismus in der Privatbibliothek W. G. Sebalds’, A (New) Republic of Letters: Intellectual Communities, Global Knowledge Transfer – International Sommerschule im Forschungsverbund Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel, Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, 29 July–10 August 2018

‘A Late Genre? European World Literature at the Turn of the Millennium’, Archives of Resistance: Cosmopolitanism, Memory and World Literature International Conference, University of Leeds, 20–22 June 2018

‘Genre, Memory, and World Literature: Melancholy Cosmopolitan Novels’, Panel 42: ‘Worlds of Memory: Reading World Literature With and Against Global Memory Culture(s)’, Memory Studies Association Annual Conference, Københavns Universitet, 15 December 2017

‘Melancholy Beginnings in Dora BruderAusterlitz, and Sefarad: Framing the Performance of Cosmopolitanism’, American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Universiteit Utrecht, 6 July 2017

‘Rethinking Cosmopolitanism in European Literature: W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz as a Performance of Memory Through Melancholy’, Confronting Difficult Pasts Conference, Holocaust and Genocide Centre, Johannesburg, 8 September 2016

‘A Melancholy of Their Own? Locating the Transnational in Contemporary European Fiction’, Locating and Dis-Locating Memory: In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe Conference and Doctoral Training School, University College Dublin, 30 August 2016

‘Transnational Melancholy: European Memory Work?’, The Creaturely, the Human, and the Global Workshop, Stockholms Universitet, 1 June 2016

‘Through a Nietzschean Glass, Darkly: The Melancholy Cosmopolitanism of W. G. Sebald and Javier Marías’, 59th National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies, IMLR London, 7 April 2016

‘The Dark Back of Literature: Shakespearean Allusions in Contemporary European Fiction’, Imagined Spaces Conference, University of Bristol, 29 April 2015

Impact, Outreach and Engagement

From 2015 to 2016 I held an internship in Arts Educational Engagement at the University of Leeds to design resources for teaching literature and film for Modern Foreign Languages A Level. You can view these resources here.

In 2015 I was a mentor and discussion monitor for the University of Bristol's online course in Cultural Studies and Modern Languages.


  • PhD in Comparative Literature (University of Leeds, 2019)
  • MPhil in European Literature (University of Bristol, 2015)
  • PGCE Modern Languages - Distinction (Liverpool Hope University, 2012)
  • BA Modern European Languages (French, German, Spanish) - First Class (University of Liverpool, 2011)