Professor Frank Finlay


German literature, its social/historical context; the role of the writer-intellectual; contemporary Austrian drama, literature & National Socialism; post-1989 narrative fiction; colonialism


A bi-lingual background, allied to a love of literature, history and the arts more widely, made studying German at University an easy decision. I have been fortunate that my studies and work have taken me all over the German-speaking area: to Schleswig-Holstein and Berlin as an undergraduate and postgraduate; to Austria, where I taught English at University for four years; and then to Cologne where I held a research post. Throughout this time I was able to indulge my interest in a fascinating part of the world and to make a few life-long friends. Before joining the University of Leeds as Professor and Head of German, I worked as a Lecturer and then a Senior Lecturer in Manchester and Bradford. At Leeds I am a former Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Dean of the Faculty of Arts (2009-2016), and was appointed the founding Executive Dean of the new Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures in August 2016, the largest of its kind in the UK. I lead for the University on engagement with external partners in the creative and cultural sector and established a new Cultural Institute in 2016, which I direct.  Externally, I have held a number of roles in the subject community, including being President of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland. I was a member of the German sub-panel for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, and served on the sub-panel for Modern Languages and Linguistics for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.  For well over a decade I was a member of the international team of editors working on the "Kölner Ausgabe" of Heinrich Bll's works:  I have recently returned to working on Böll with  two papers/public lecture. Both are  currently under revision with the titles “The Lost Honour of Heinrich Böll or: How clichs develop and where they can lead. Böll’s Legacy for the 21st Century; and "Silent Angels?": Böll's posthumously published novels. For the past couple of years I have been a member of the Steering Group for the bid by Leeds to be European Capital of Culture 2023.

Research Interests  

German literature in its social and historical context; the role of the writer-intellectual; Contemporary Austrian drama and the stage and screenplays of Peter Turrini; Literature and National Socialism; Post 1989 Narrative Fiction. My current project is looking at representations of the Armenian Genocide by German-language writers. I am CI on a British Academy-funded International Research Network looking at contemporary German and South African Literature together with colleagues at the University of Cape Town. Available to supervise PhD or Masters by research in any of the above areas. I am currently jointly supervising projects in German film and post-unification fiction. 



  • 'The Rationality of Poetry'': Heinrich Bll's Aesthetic Thinking. Amsterdam & Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 284pp. (1996)
  • [with Ralf Jeutter (eds.)]: 'Centre Stage': Contemporary Drama in Austria. Amsterdam & Atlanta: Editions Rodopi,  252pp. (1999)
  • [with Stuart Taberner (eds.)]: Recasting German Identity, Culture, Literature and Politics in the Bonn Republic, Rochester: Camden House  (2002)
  • [with Stuart Taberner (eds.)]: special edition of German Life and Letters on 'Emerging German Writers' (April 2002)
  • [with Markus Schäfer (eds.)]: Heinrich Bll, Billard um halb zehn. Klner Ausgabe Band XI, 458pp. (critical apparatus 250-458pp.) Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne (2002)
  • [with Jochen Schubert (eds.)]: Heinrich Bll, Erzählungen 1947-1948. Klner Ausgabe Band III, Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2003, 832pp. (critical apparatus 551-832pp.)
  • [with Viktor Bll (eds.)] Heinrich Bll, Werke 1956-1959 Klner Ausgabe Band X, Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2005
  • [with Ingo Cornils] "(Un)erfllte Wirklichkeit": Neue Studien zu Uwe Timm. Wrzburg: Knigshausen & Neumann, 2006.
  • Finlay FJ, Preece J, Owen: New German Literature: Life-Writing and Dialogue with the Arts  440p. 2007
  • Preece J, Finlay FJ, Crowe S, Religion and Identify in Germany Today. Doubters, Believers, Seekers in Literature and Film , 252pp. 2010.

Articles in Periodicals/Chapters in books



  • “[jene menschlichen Deutschen, die Liebhaber des Wissens und der Wissenschaften, die wir hochgeschaetzt haben und weiterhin hochschaetzen werden.” Germanophobie in Grossbritannien waehrend des ersten Weltkrieges. Ein Fallbeispiel, in: Nach 1914. Der erste Weltkrieg un der europaeischen Kultur, Koenighausen und Neumann (Wuerzburg: 2017), pp. 389-410.   
  • '‘Der verwerfliche Literaturbetrieb unserer Epoche’: H.G. Adler and the Postwar West German Literary Field, in: Helen Finch and Lynn L.Wolff, Witnessing, Memory, Poetics. H.G. Adler and W.G. Sebald, Camden House (New York: 2014), pp. 254-273
  • Surface is an illusion but so is depth': The novels of Christian Kracht, German Life and Letters vol. 66/2 (2013), pp. 213-231
  • Thomas Weiss's 'Polyphonic Novel "Tod eines Trffelschweins". In: Brigid Haines et. al. Aesthetics and Politics in Modern German Culture, Bern, 2010, pp. 117-130.
  • '"In the prison of the uniform" Heinrich Böll's Briefe aus dem Krieg 1939-1945 in the Context of Contemporary Debates'. In: Taberner, S; Berger, K eds. Germans as Victims in the Literary Fiction of the Berlin Republic, Rochester NY: Camden House, (NY) 2009, pp. 191-204.
  • 'Gnter Grass's Political Rhetoric'. In: Taberner, S ed. The Cambridge companion to Gnter Grass, Cambridge Univ Press,2009 pp. 24-38.
  • 'Jackboots and Jeans': The Private and the Political in Uwe Timm's Am Beispiel meines Bruders. In: Taberner, S; Berger, K eds. Germans as victims in the literary fiction of the Berlin Republic, Camden House (NY), pp. 191-204.
  • "Literary Debates and the Publishing Industry since Unification". In: Stuart Taberner (ed.) German Literature Since Unification. Cambridge, CUP: 2006.
  • "Zwischen Fischstäbchen, bosnischen Leichen und Tschibo-Kaffee". Peter Turrini and the Media" In: Janet Stewart and Simon Ward (eds.) Blueprints for No-Man's Land. Connections in contemporary Austrian Culture. Oxford/Bern: 2005, pp. 75-94.
  • 'Ein krampfhaftes Augenzumachen': Heinrich Böll and the Literaturbetrieb, of the early postwar years, Monatshefte für deutschsprachige Literatur und Kultur XCV, No. 1, pp.97-115
  • Dann wäre Deutschland wie das Wort Neckarauen.Surface, Superficiality and Globalisation in Christian Kracht's Faserland. In: German Literature and Globalisation, ed. Stuart Taberner, Birmingham: BUP, 2004
  • Introduction to special edition of German Life and Letters on 'Emerging German Writers', with Stuart Taberner  55:2, 131-136 (2002)
  • With Sally Johnson: (Il)literacy and Immorality in Bernhard Schlink's The Reader. In: Written Language and Literacy, 4:2 (2001), pp. 195-214.
  • 'Solidarity among the Ruins'. The Times Literary Supplement (13.4.2001)
  • "Ein Schriftsteller, der funktionert, ist keiner mehr". Heinrich Böll and the Gruppe 47. In: Parkes, Stuart and John J. White, The Gruppe 47 Fifty years on. A Re-appraisal of its literary and political significance. The German Monitor (1999), 105-126.
  • Centre Stage: Contemporary Drama in Austria. In Finlay, F. and R. Jeutter (eds) 'Centre Stage': Contemporary Drama in Austria. Amsterdam & Atlanta. Editions Rodopi , 1-13. (1999)
  • "Das wirklich Ungeschminkte": Peter Turrini's Die Minderleister as a Critique of the Mass Media. In Finlay, F. and Jeutter R. (eds) 'Centre Stage': Contemporary Drama in Austria. Amsterdam & Atlanta. Editions Rodopi, 165-180. (1999)
  • Joseph Beuys' Eco-Aesthetics. In: Ecological Thought in German Culture. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Ed. C. Riordan. Cardiff: (University of Wales Press) 245-58. (1997)
  • Sprachwiderstand: Critical Language Analysis in Böll's Writings of the 1980s. In: Heinrich Böll on Page and Screen. The London Symposium. Eds. Huber, L. and Conard, R. C. Publications of the Institute of Germanic Studies, vol 71 [1997], 49-64. [Simultaneous publication in The University of Dayton Review. (Ohio), 24 (3), 49-64. 
  • With Sally Johnson: Do Men Gossip? An Analysis of Football Talk on Television. In Language and Masculinity. Eds. Johnson, S. and Meinhof, U-H. Oxford: (Basil Blackwell) 130-43, (1997)
  • Heinrich Böll and a "Logocentric" Theory of Language. In German Writers, their Aesthetics and their Language. Eds. S Parkes, S., Williams, A. and Preece, J. Zrich: (Peter Lang), 237-50 (1996)
  • Heinrich Bll und die "Vernunft der Poesie". In: Alte Welten - Neue Welten. Akten des IX. Kongresses der Internationalen Vereinigung fr germanische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft. Ed. Batts, M. S. Tbingen. Niemeyer. (1996)
  • Geschichte und Melancholie: ber Heinrich Bölls Roman >Frauen vor Flulandschaft>. In Jahrbuch der ungarischen Germanistik. Budapest/Bonn. (1996)
  • Years of Hope. "Die Hoffnung ist wie ein wildes Tier. Der Briefwechsel zwischen Heinrich Böll und Ernst-Adolf Kunz". In: The University of Dayton Review (Ohio). 23 (2), 29-32. (1995)
  • Context and Culture in Language Teaching. By C. Kramsch. In British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Newsletter. Spring Issue. 49, 30-32. (1995)
  • The Narrative Fiction of Heinrich Böll.  The Times Literary Supplement. 21.4.1995.
  • 'Aspekte und Tendenzen der Böll-Forschung.' In: Bernd Balzer (ed.) Memoria. Heinrich Bll zum 75. Geburtstag. Zrich: (Peter Lang) 315-38. (1992)

Archive Databases

  • INTERVIEW.ASK [A bibliographical computer database of over two hundred interviews with Heinrich Bll, with keywords and critical commentary in German.] Heinrich-Bll-Archiv, Stadtbcherei, Cologne. Funded by the German Foreign Ministry and the Heinrich-Bll-Stiftung. (1991)
  • HABSEK: Eine vorläufige Bestandsaufnahme der Sekundärliteratur zu Heinrich Bll. [A bibliographical computer database of international scholarship on Heinrich Bll with keywords and critical commentary in German.] Heinrich-Bll-Archiv, Stadtbcherei, Cologne. Updated on an annual basis. (1990)

As Named Translator

  • H. Briel. The Mediality of Language. In S. Parkes, A. Williams and J. Preece (eds) Whose Story? Continuitues in German-language Literature. Bern/Berlin (Peter Lang) 21-30. (1998)
  • [With S. Johnson] D. Stolz: Poetry and Photography in the works of Rolf-Dieter Brinkmann. In S. Parkes/A. Williams (eds) German Writers, their Language and Aesthetics. Zrich: (Peter Lang) 141-60. (1996)
  • K. Fliedl: Hilde Spiel's Linguistic Rights of Residence. Austrian Studies. 6. (1996)
  • L. Bauer/H. Matis: From the Moral to the Political Economy. History of European Ideas. 9 (2), 125-43. (1991)


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Research groups and institutes

  • German
  • Theatre, Music and Performance
  • Literary studies