I am currently reading for a D.Phil. at Brasenose College, Oxford, and have previously completed an MA in Nineteenth Century Studies at the University of Sheffield, and a BA in British Studies and Communication and Media Science at Leipzig University (Germany) and Cardiff Metropolitan University, where I also trained as a journalist.
I work as a tutor at several Oxford Colleges, teaching 19th & 20th century literature, as well as specialised modules in Literature & Science, Children’s and Fantastic Literature, Science Fiction and Visual Culture. I have in the past also taught at TU Dresden, ASE Bath and Emory University.
My thesis explores the emergence of Victorian psychology and fantastic literature as sister phenomena through the work of the scientifically trained authors George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, Charles Kingsley and H.G. Wells and their literary portrayal of visions experienced in dream, illness and near death. Substantial archival research in the history of medicine, psychology and the ‘pseudo-science’ of spiritualism illuminates the origins of Victorian fantastic literature in ‘making visible’ epistemological debates of the nature of consciousness, and the nature of the soul. Considering these issues in the wider framework of the Victorian history of science and theology, I establish fantastic literature as a primary medium for the discussion, development and establishing of psychological ideas, which range from early ideas of the subconscious and dream theory to evolutionary psychology.
My research interests lie more generally in the long nineteenth century, English, Russian and German Literature, including scientific literature from that period, but I am also interested in post-modernist works, and multimedial re-imaginings. More specifically, my work covers the following areas:
- Literature, Science and Religion
- The History of Science, Medicine, Psychology and Psychiatry
- Fantastic Literature, Science Fiction and Children’s Literature
- Dreams and Visions, Spectres and Hallucinations
- Illness Narratives, Death, Near-death and Dying
- Visual Culture, Illustration and Photography
- Nature, Ecology, Design (Arts and Crafts/Art Nouveau)
I have written on the work of the following authors and personalities (amongst others):
- H. G. Wells, George MacDonald, Charles Kingsley, and Lewis Carroll
- Robert Wilfred Skeffington Lutwidge, Hugh Welch Diamond
- Gilbert & Sullivan, John Tenniel, Linley Sambourne
- E.T.A Hoffmann, Novalis, J.W. von Goethe and Erich Kästner
- William Morris, William de Morgan, John Ruskin, Arthur Hughes
I have published articles on various aspects of the work of Lewis Carroll, most recently ‘The stupidest Tea-Party in all my life: Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatry’, which has appeared in the Journal of Victorian Culture, and received international media coverage. I have just completed ‘Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur’, an article on Carroll’s parodies in the contexts of his preoccupation with Victorian performance science, photography, psychiatric theory, and comedic catharsis. In a new project, I am preparing a new comprehensive study of George MacDonald, which explores his study of science and psychology, especially through his engagement with German Romanticism, Naturphilosophie, and the concerns of Christian Socialism, ecology and the emerging philosophy of the Arts & Crafts movement — my article “From Scotland to Utopia (via Hammersmith): William Morris, George MacDonald and the Utopian Aesthetic” will appear 2018 in the Journal of Scottish Thought. Past publications include “Back to the Future: The Time Traveller’s Traumatic Jetlag in A Christmas Carol“, which appeared in Dickens on the Move – Between Cultures and Continents and deals with time travel in the context of the Victorian scientific discourse on other worlds and dimensions, theories of vision and cognition, as well as the literary tradition of cathartic dream-voyages.
Several of my shorter pieces and journalistic features have appeared on The Conversation, Remedia, The Royal Entomological Society and Liasons – Magazin für den Kulturaustausch, and I am currently writing an essay on the cultural history of automata for the Marvellous Mechanical Museum exhibition at Compton Verney. My reviews have appeared, among others, in the Lewis Carroll Review and the Journal of Literature and Science; I am currently reviewing David Pyle’s Volcanoes for the Bodleian Library Record.
I act as advisor and curator of the exhibitions ‘Insects through the Looking-Glass (Story Museum & Royal Entomological Society, 2018) and on Automata (Comppton Verney, 2018), and have in the past worked as a translator for Marvel Comics. I frequently give public talks and interviews (see papers&talks section), and am involved in several public engagement projects, such as Oxford’s Alice’s Day. I am also a singer and member of classical choirs as well as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of the University of Oxford, and enjoy photography, drawing, nature and the theatre.
The aim of this website is twofold, it is a blog, as well as a structured overview of my academic work. If you find my work interesting and would like to contact me, invite me as a speaker, or follow even more of my online-ramblings, you can find me on twitter, on Pinterest and on academia.edu, or feel free to send me a message on facebook, add me on LinkedIn or simply send me an email [franziska.kohlt(at)ell.ox.ac.uk].