Michael Gratzke_

Professor Michael Gratzke

Director of the Graduate School and Professor of German and Comparative Literature

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education


(0) 1482 465865

Michael Gratzke is Professor of German and Comparative Literature, and Director of the Graduate School.

He previously held a post as Senior Lecturer in German at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He served as Head of School in Languages, Linguistics and Cultures from 2014 to 2016.

His research focuses on representations of extreme experiences and states of mind such as in masochism, war, and love.

He has widely published on German literature from the 1750s to the present. His current research brings together comparative literary studies in German, English and Finnish and participatory research in the community.


Research Interests

Michael currently concentrates on Critical Love Studies and their grounding in a wide range of critical theory, linking narrative approaches from literary studies, linguistics, social sciences and psychology.


‘The Rise/Fall of “Emotional Capitalism”. Consumerism and Materialities of Love in Dystopian Works by Thomas Melle, Leif Randt and Gary Shteyngart', Materiality of Love, Michael Gratzke & Ania Malinowska (eds.), Routledge, 2017 [forthcoming]

'Love is What People Say It Is. Narrativity and Performativity in Critical Love Studies', Amy Burge and Michael Gratzke (eds.), Journal for Popular Romance Studies, vol. 6, 2017 http://jprstudies.org/issues/volume-6/

'Liebe (und/oder Sexuelles Begehren)‘, Rücksendungen zu Jacques Derridas Die Postkarte. Ein Essayistisches Glossar, Matthias Schmidt (ed.), Turia & Kant, 2015, p. 223-230.

'Schwärzester Tag meines Lebens: Heterobeziehungen und Jungsfreundschaften bei Wolfgang Herrndorf', Wolfgang Herrndorf, Anina Klappert (ed.), Verlag der Geisteswissenschaften, 2015, p. 131-146.


Research PhDs

Michael welcomes PhD project proposals in German and comparative literature or cultural studies on any period from the 1750s onwards. Ideas for contemporary studies are also very welcome.

Students' research interests should broadly match his so they can get the most out of his supervision.

These include the history of emotions, critical theory (in particular gender theory and queer theory), work across genres of "high" and "popular" culture, and research which combines methodologies from the arts and humanities, and social sciences.

Michael's research focus is currently on experiences and representations of romantic love (erotically charged, intimate love between non-related adults). He would be very happy to consider research topics on any other phenomenological type of love.

He especially welcomes students with an interest in researching experiences of love which involve issues of physical disability, mental health, non-neurotypical people, non-conformist expressions of gender or sexualilty, age (young & old), or migration.

Completed PhDs

Jutta Kling, Queer Irony in English and German 19th Century Literature (PhD awarded from St Andrews and Tübingen in 2015), co-supervised by Ingrid Hotz-Davis, Tübingen.

Marissa Munderloh, Hybrid Identities in German Hip-Hop Culture (PhD awarded from St Andrews in 2015).

Matthias Eck, Masculinity in Recent Austrian and German Literature (PhD awarded from St Andrews in 2016).

Current PhD supervisions

Michael is currently supervising two PhD students who have been working on notions of belonging (Heimat) in German and English-language poetry, and goth youth culture in the GDR.

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

Master's degree and PhD from the University of Hamburg.

His PhD was published in book format: Liebesschmerz und Textlust. Figuren des Masochismus in der Literatur, Königshausen & Neumann, 2000, 380 pages.




External roles

Michael was for many years German editor of Forum for Modern Language Studies (OUP) and still serves on its editorial board. He is also on the editorial board of Journal for Popular Romance Studies.

In January 2017, he took the Chair of the University Council of Modern Languages, an umbrella organisation for languages departments and language centres in UK universities and many subject associations covering languages and cultures, area studies, linguistics, and translation studies.