Dr Joanna Raisbeck

BA, MSt, DPhil (Oxon)


I am a Stipendiary Lecturer in German at St Hilda’s. For the academic year 2020/21, I am also the recipient of an MHRA Research Scholarship.

Before coming to St Hilda’s, I was a Stipendiary Lecturer in German at Wadham College and The Queen’s College, University of Oxford. Prior to that I spent a year as a Theodor Heuss Fellow (Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung) at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.


I teach the modern German literature papers (Paper VIII, Paper X), with a focus on the literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the literature papers on the first-year Prelims course (Papers III and IV), covering film, drama, prose writing, and poetry. I also teach unseen translation (German to English).  


My doctoral thesis, which I am currently preparing for publication, was concerned with the Early Romantic poet and philosopher Karoline von Günderrode (1780-1806), and the poetic strategies that Günderrode adopts throughout her literary work — poetry, prose, and plays — to instate a metaphysical understanding of how the individual relates to the world. This focus on metaphysics aligns Günderrode with an anti-materialist strand of thought in German philosophy and literature around 1800, and specifically with the reception of Spinozism following the Pantheismusstreit of the 1780s. One of the primary aims of my thesis was to establish Günderrode a significant intellectual and literary figure alongside the better known Jena circle of Frühromantiker (e.g. Novalis, Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel).

I’m broadly interested in the literature, philosophy, and intellectual history of the eighteenth century. I have also worked on Therese Huber’s responses to Poland and the ‘Polenfrage’ that emerged from the First and Second Partitions of Poland. One side interest I have developed is looking at lesser known figures who have escaped critical attention through the creation of the German literary canon (a predominantly nineteenth-century effort). This has, for example, drawn me to work on the popular poet and pastor, Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten, and specifically on his religiously inflected response to Moses Mendelssohn’s early Wolffian aesthetics.


‘“Diese Unwissenheit ist mir der unerträglichste Mangel, der gröste Widerspruch”:  The Pursuit of Pre-rational Knowledge in Günderrode’, Anti\Idealism: Re-Interpreting a German Discourse, Gert Hofmann, Juliana de Albuquerque (eds.) (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2019), 131-45.

‘Performativity and “Poetic” Epistemology: Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten’s Response to Moses Mendelssohn’s Aesthetics’, Edinburgh German Yearbook 12: Re-Populating the Eighteenth Century: Second-Tier Writing in the German Enlightenment, Johannes Birgfeld, Michael Wood (eds.) (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2018), 213-30.

‘“Und monarchie ist beßer als anarchie, und Aristokratie, und Kannaillearchie – den daß ists jezt”: Ein neu entdeckter Brief Therese Hubers und Georg Forsters an Georgine Heyne’, Georg-Forster-Studien 21 (2018), 91-104.