Venia legendi in English Literature


Contemporary Literature and Social Invisibility: Special Issue of ZAA out now


Two years after I organised a workshop on The Literature of Invisibility at the Center for Advanced Studies of LMU Munich, a selection of contributions on the state of invisibility studies and its particular relevance for contemporary literature has come out as a special issue of Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik. Many thanks to all the contributors and editors!

Follow this DOI for my introduction:

Esther Peeren’s „Afterword: Running with the Metaphor of Social Invisibility“ is available open source:


“Contemporary Literature and Social Invisibility: Introduction” (Gero Guttzeit)

“Thresholds of In/Visibility and the Scopic Power of Literature” (Françoise Král)

“The Poetics of (Un)Mournability: Emma Donoghue’s Hood (1995) as an Elegy in Invisible Ink” (Héloïse Lecomte)

“Experience(s) of Decorporation: The Invisibilisation of Care in John Lanchester’s Capital (2012)” (Alice Borrego)

“Becoming (In)Visible: Self-Assertion and Disappearance of the Self in Contemporary Surveillance Narratives” (Betiel Wasihun)

“‘Perced to the roote’: Refugee Tales and the Poetics of In/Visibility” (Sibylle Baumbach)

“Afterword: Running with the Metaphor of Social Invisibility” (Esther Peeren)

Habilitationsschrift submitted


Artikel über unsichtbare literarische Figuren erschienen


Mit dem Verhältnis von Literatur, Philosophie und Rhetorik im Zeichen der Unsichtbarkeit setzt sich ein neuer Aufsatz auseinander: “Compound Invisible Objects”: Moralischer Charakter, literarische Figur und die Gyges-Problematik bei Adam Smith und Eliza Haywood. Herausgegeben ist er von Wolfgang G. Müller und Rainer Thiel als Teil von Band 5 (2022) der Internationalen Zeitschrift Kulturkomparatistik mit dem Themenschwerpunkt „Literatur – Philosophie – Ästhetik“. Der Volltext ist verfügbar unter:

Paper on „The Invisible Author, Then and Now“ this Thursday


As part of the international lecture series on „Invisible Lives, Silent Voices“, I’m very happy to be speaking about „The Invisible Author, Then and Now“ in the session on „Invisible Writers“ this Thursday on 9 December, 6pm. In the same session, Christine Reynier will be speaking about „Invisible Novels of the Interwar Period: The Case of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes (1926)“. For access to the Zoom meeting, please contact the organizers at or drop me a line.

The international seminar „Invisible Lives, Silent Voices“ is organised by Alice Borrego, Guillaume Le Blanc, and Héloïse Lecomte. You can find out about the other sessions here:

Visiting Scholarship at UC Berkeley in 2022


Great news: I have been granted LMUexcellent funding to go to UC Berkeley as a Visiting Scholar as part of the LMU-UCB exchange programme, thanks to the fantastic support of Professor Dorothy Hale. Covid-permitting, I’ll be spending one month at UCB in the fall semester 2022 to present and continue my work on invisible characters and the novel.

Looking for proposals for „The Agency of Invisibility“ at ESSE 2022


Alice Borrego, Héloïse Lecomte and I are looking for proposals for a seminar on „The Agency of Invisibility in Contemporary Fiction and Theory“. The deadline for proposals of 250 words plus short CV is 31 January, 2022. Please see the description of the panel and a link to the general Call for Papers below. ESSE 2022 will take place in Mainz from 29 August to 2 September 2022.

„The Agency of Invisibility in Contemporary Fiction and Theory“

Alice Borrego (Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier 3, France,
Gero Guttzeit (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany,
Héloïse Lecomte (ENS de Lyon, France,

Invisibility is a prominent conceptual metaphor of social marginalisation, encompassing ideas of death, reification, and disregard (Le Blanc, L’invisibilité sociale, 2009). Yet, Esther Peeren argues, there is also an empowering “agency of invisibility” (2014), which becomes apparent in the contemporary figure of the living ghost. In order to contribute to the emerging field of invisibility studies from the perspective of literary studies, our seminar asks the following questions: To what extent does (the agency of) invisibility inform contemporary novels and short stories? What is the significance of literary narratives for aesthetic, social, political, and ethical concepts of invisibility? What uses can we make of concepts and metaphors of invisibility in our critical readings?

Article out: „Unseeing People“


My article on „Unseeing People: Towards a Clear View of Invisible Characters in Narrative Fiction“ has just come out in Études britanniques contemporaines:

The article is connected to an ongoing conversation about invisibility and silence: check out the programme for the international seminar „Invisible Lives, Silent Voices“, organised by Alice Borrego, Guillaume Le Blanc, and Héloïse Lecomte:

As part of this seminar, I’m very happy to be speaking about „The Invisible Author, Then and Now“ in the session on „Invisible Writers“ on 9 December, 6pm. For access to the online meeting, please contact the organizers at