Current Research Project
Experiments with monsters: transformations of language and subjects in 21st century German-language writing
King’s College London/Humboldt-Universität Berlin (funded by LAHP DTP/AHRC and the DAAD)
The project offers an original framework for engaging with contemporary, experimental German-language writing featuring non-human monsters. I consider in what ways cultural production and texts which employs monster figures may be seen not just as metaphoric representations of cultural meanings but also as transgressive forms of poetic knowledge-making during a time when the discourse of the Anthropocene is shaping ideas of what it means to live with the many iterations of crisis (Morton 2013).
Monsters embody that which breaks the dominant order in more than one way, and, as such, there has been an increased interest in them as a topic of interrogation within the humanities over the last 30 years. Derrida, pointing to the Latin origin monstrare, claims that the monster ‘shows itself in something that is not yet shown’. In this light, my approach seeks to challenge critical engagements with representations of monsters that limit their poetic function to mere signification. For that purpose, I turn to contemporary, experimental German-language writing which features linguistic, narrative and conceptual innovation. I propose a reconfiguration of the critical understanding of monstrosity by offering readings across a range of textual forms, some of which draw on performance and visual media, and I probe how the presence of monstrous creatures in cultural objects by Georg Klein (2007), Nora Gomringer (2013), Dietmar Dath and Oliver Scheibler (2014) and Tawada Yōko (2017) can be made productive beyond their allegorical potential. I read the formal play with monster, what I call ‘monstrous figurations’, in these works as attempts by their authors to transform established notions of the human subject and current knowledge formations that are associated with crisis. The examined texts draw from rich cultural influences including ancient East-Asian and Greek myths, the German Romantic period, European and Asian psychoanalytic thought, classic political economy, and popular culture genres of horror and science fiction. I argue that in addition to this intertextuality as a critical reflection on European cultural heritage, these texts also always perform a critique of representational modes of the human body and subject.
- Märten, Annegret, ‘Eco-Vampires: The Undead and the Environment, by Simon Bacon’, Supernatural Studies (Book Review), Vol. 7, 1. 2020 (forthcoming in print), online: https://www.supernaturalstudies.com/reviews/book-review-by-a-marten-of-s-bacon-eco-vampires
- Märten, Annegret. “Von der Sprachmutter zur Salzwassermutter: Monstrous poetics in Tawada Yoko’s ecocritical writing” (Book Chapter), Tawada Yoko: On Writing and Rewriting, ed. Doug Slaymaker, Lexington (2019). Order now here.
- Märten, Annegret. “Smart, Alan and Josephine Smart 2017. Posthumanism. Anthropological Insights. (Book Review)”, Social Anthropology 27 (2), 2019: 393–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12655.
- Märten, Annegret. “Ecological Angst and Scary Flesh”, Making Monsters A Speculative and Classical Anthology, eds. Emma Bridges and Djibril al-Ayad Stories, Futurefire.net Publishing (2018). Buy now here.
- Märten, Annegret. Contribution to The Researcher’s Notebook, Still Point, Volume 2 (2017).
- Märten, Annegret. “The Casting Handbook” (Book Review), The Journal of Media Practice, Taylor and Francis, 2015, Volume 15, No. 3.
- Märten, Annegret. “Under the Skin (Film Review)”, Monsters and the Monstrous, Interdisciplinary Press, Summer 2014, Volume 4, No. 1, 127.
- “Von der Sprachmutter zur Salzwassermutter: Monstrous poetics in Yoko Tawada“ at Ecocriticism panel with Caitríona Ní Dhúill and Axel Goodbody at the AGS Bristol, 09/2019
- “Das Meer ist ein Monster und der Mensch ist ein Monsterbaby”: Posthumanist poetics in Yoko Tawada’s eco-critical texts since Fukushima, American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles; 04/2018
- Presentation with Sam Williams on the Messingkauf text at Baustelle Brecht/Working with Brecht, International Brecht Society at Brecht Haus Berlin; 06/2017
- “Unspeakable horrors: Jelinek’s speechless monsters in language philosophic perspective” at Promises of Monsters conference, University of Stavanger, Norway; 04/2015
- “Brands, stars and star rating: An Anglo-German comparison of reviewing between commercial interest and critical response” at Adapting, Performing & Reviewing Shakespearean Comedy, School of Advanced Study, University of London; 06/2014
- “Stummes Grauen – Sprachlose Monster als ästhetische Ausdrucksstrategie des Liminalen und Unsagbaren” at 55th National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies, Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London; 03/2014
- “Reinventing the Modern Man and Masculine Wish Fulfilment in Chuck“; KritFM: Serienbuch, Kritische Theater-, Film- und Medienwissenschaft, University of Vienna; 03/2012
Professional Association Memberships and Qualifications:
- I am a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
- WiGs (Women in German Studies)
- WiG (Women in German)
- AGS (Association for German Studies)
Engagement in the Academic Community
- Part of the editorial team of the journal German Life & Letters, Social Media Editorial Assistant
- Peer-Reviewer for Journals
- Networking Knowledge/Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA)
- Nordlit Journal for Nordic Literature
- Marking at Levels 4, 5, 6, 7 and final dissertations, written and oral language exams
- Assessment of abstracts for undergraduate conferences
- Assessment and moderation of feedback for undergraduate research awards
- School Outreach workshops (e.g. Westminster School on German-Turkish Cinema)
I hold a Master’s degree in Media and Cultural Analysis and a BA in Media and Cultural Studies from Düsseldorf University and am an AHRC-funded PhD candidate at King’s College London and the Humboldt University Berlin. I currently work on a project on monsters in contemporary German experimental literature.