Portrait of Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner

Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner

Acting Associate Dean for Education, Faculty of Humanities
Reader in Comparative Literature and Medical Humanities


Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner is a literary critic and a writer. She is interested in the medical humanities, cultural history, the histories of sexuality, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, and mind-body theory. 

Her most recent book, Exhaustion: A History (Columbia University Press, 2016), charts the forgotten history of exhaustion from classical antiquity to the present day, examining the role of exhaustion symptoms in syndromes including melancholia, acedia, nervousness, neurasthenia, depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and burnout. Exhaustion: A History has been widely reviewed and discussed in national and international publications including in the Times Literary Supplement, New Republic, National Geographic, New Scientist, Psychology Today, BBC Future, Metro, The Irish Times, The Week, Knack (Belgium), New Zealand Listener, Die Welt am Sonntag (Germany), and Le Matin Dimanche (Switzerland), as well as on BBC Radio 4, CBC (Canada), WBUR (USA), Wisconsin Public Radio (USA), and Newstalk (Ireland). 

Research interests

Anna Katharina's monograph, Modernism and Perversion: Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature, 1850-1930 (Palgrave, 2012), charts the construction of the sexual perversions in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century medical, psychiatric, and psychological discourse, and illuminates the role played by literary texts in the formation of sexological knowledge. She has also published on David Lynch, contemporary German-speaking literature, and on avant-garde poetry. Her first novel, The Truth about Julia, was published by Allen & Unwin in March 2016. 

She is currently writing a history of the idea of self-improvement, which is contracted for publication with Yale University Press. While self-improvement has been both weaponised and commercialised in recent times, the idea of cultivating the self is much older, reaching back all the way to ancient China. Drawing on philosophical, theological, medical and other sources, Self-Improvement: A Global History narrates the history of the idea of the changeable self from the age of antiquity to the present day.  

Anna Katharina welcomes applications for doctoral study in her areas of research expertise.    


Anna Katharina teaches on modernism, vampires, literature and capitalism and creative and critical approaches to writing.   


Showing 50 of 52 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Schaffner, A. (2017). 'Catastrophe Sociology' and the Metaphors We Live by: On Kathrin Röggla’s 'wir schlafen nicht’. Modern Language Review 112:205-222.
    Kathrin Röggla’s novel wir schlafen nicht (2004) presents a devastating critique of the ways in which the neoliberal conception of work wreaks havoc with the lives, minds, and bodies of the individual. Röggla masterfully shows the pervasive power of language – in particular, of metaphor – in shaping experience. Although aestheticized on numerous levels, wir schlafen nicht is based on interviews with management consultants. Yet it is equally shaped by sociological and critical theory. This essay explores the manner in which the documentary-journalistic and the critical-theoretical impulses in Röggla’s work converge, by focusing on the mediating function of the interviewer/narrator figure and Röggla’s use of the subjunctive.
  • Schaffner, A. (2014). Exhaustion and the Pathologization of Modernity. Journal of Medical Humanities [Online] 37:327-341. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10912-014-9299-z.
    This essay analyses six case studies of theories of exhaustion-related conditions from the early eighteenth century to the present day. It explores the ways in which George Cheyne, George Beard, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Sigmund Freud, Alain Ehrenberg and Jonathan Crary use medical ideas about exhaustion as a starting point for more wide-ranging cultural critiques related to specific social and technological transformations. In these accounts, physical and psychological symptoms are associated with particular external developments, which are thus not just construed as pathology-generators but also pathologized. The essay challenges some of the persistently repeated claims about exhaustion and its unhappy relationship with modernity.
  • Schaffner, A. (2012). Visions of Sadistic Women: Sade, Sacher-Masoch, Kafka. German Life and Letters [Online] 65:181-205. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0483.2011.01566.x.
    Invested with both fear and longing, the figure of the sadistic woman is always double. At once castrating executor of the death-wish and object of desire, perverter of the ‘natural’ order and a necessary agent in the male sexual imagination, she embodies the ambiguous attitudes towards female sexuality that precipitated the crisis in modern conceptions of gender. This essay explores three paradigmatic literary representations of sadistic women in order to shed light not only on specifically modern sexual fantasies and anxieties, but also on more general cultural assumptions about what was deemed appropriate and what was understood as pathological feminine behaviour in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The sadistic woman violates both latent and overt gender stereotypes in the most radical manner, and thus presents an ideal case study for exploring the nature and function of these stereotypes. After briefly addressing theories of female sadism in nineteenth-century sexological and twentieth-century psychoanalytical discourse, I discuss Juliette (1797) by the Marquis de Sade, Venus im Pelz (1869) by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and a selection of Franz Kafka's cruel women figures, in particular in Der Verschollene (written in 1912–13, first published in 1927), which not only reveals the influence of his literary predecessors but also presents a characteristically tragicomic modernist vision of the female sadist. Simultan mit Angst und mit Verlangen behaftet, ist das Konstrukt der sadistischen Frau immer mehrdeutig: sie ist sowohl kastrierende Todeswunsch-Ausführerin wie auch Objekt des Verlangens, Architektin einer Perversion der ‘natürlichen Ordnung’ und unabdingliche Handlungsträgerin in männlichen Sexualfantasien. Ihr Doppelstatus verkörpert die ambivalente Sicht der weiblichen Sexualität, die die Krise moderner Geschlechterkonzeptionen vorangetrieben hat. Dieser Beitrag untersucht drei paradigmatische literarische Repräsentationen sadistischer Frauen, da eine Analyse dieser Darstellungen nicht nur Licht auf spezifisch modernistische Fantasien und Ängste werfen kann, sondern auch auf allgemeinere kulturelle Wertevorstellungen, die weibliches Verhalten als akzeptabel und pathologisch definieren. Die sadistische Frau verletzt sowohl latente wie auch explizite Genderstereotypen auf die radikalst mögliche Art und Weise, und ermöglicht dadurch eine Analyse derselben. Nach einer kurzen Darstellung von dominanten sexualwissenschaftlichen und psychoanalytischen Theorien über den weiblichen Sadismus, die Ende des neunzehnten und Anfang des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts im Umlauf waren, analysiere ich Marquis de Sades Juliette (1797), Leopold von Sacher-Masochs Venus im Pelz (1869) und eine Auswahl von grausamen Frauenfiguren in Franz Kafkas Werken, mit besonderer Betonung auf Der Verschollene (geschrieben 1912–13, veröffentlicht 1927). Der Verschollene weist den Einfluss von Kafkas literarischen Vorgängern auf und präsentiert eine charakteristisch tragikomische modernistische Vision der weiblichen Sadistin.
  • Schaffner, A. et al. (2012). Reading Space in Visual Poetry: New Cognitive Perspectives. Writing Technologies [Online] 4:75-106. Available at: http://www.ntu.ac.uk/writing_technologies/current_journal/124937.pdf.
  • Schaffner, A. (2011). Richard von Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis and Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks: Exchanges between Scientific and Imaginary Accounts of Sexual Deviance. Modern Language Review [Online] 106:477-94. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5699/modelangrevi.106.2.0477.
    Richard von Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia sexualis (1986) belongs to a large body of turn-of-the-century psychological and sexological writing which often mixes fictive and factual narratives of sexual deviance, blurring the boundaries between literature and science and providing ample material for authors of fiction. Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks is a case in point, for it directly reflects Kra.-Ebing's theories on the origins and physical and psychological markers of homosexuality on numerous levels.
  • Schaffner, A. (2011). Fiction as Evidence: On the Uses of Literature in Nineteenth-Century Sexological Discourse. Comparative Literature Studies 48:165-199.
  • Schaffner, A. (2010). Kafka and the Hermeneutics of Sadomasochism. Forum for Modern Language Studies [Online] 46:334-350. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/fmls/cqq013.
    Sadomasochist motifs permeate Kafka's oeuvre on various levels. Firstly, Kafka negotiates the politics of power and control thematically. Sadomasochist tropes serve as allegorical devices to articulate a key anxiety of the peripatetic modernist subject – social positions and interpersonal relationships have become endemically unstable. Whilst Kafka participates in a literary discourse which uses sexual perversions as allegorical vehicles, sadomasochistic patterns are also dramatised on the level of syntax: through a deliberate deconstruction of stable narrative positions, the reality status of events and their interpretations becomes uncertain. The reader is thus methodically destabilised by a subjection to the self-contradictory interpretative gestures of Kafka's equally analytically-confused protagonists. Finally, the promise of meaning and of allegorical resolutions, and at the same time their systematic withdrawal, lure the reader into an endless cycle of hermeneutic seduction and disappointment. The infinite postponement of interpretative gratification thus becomes a key device in a carefully choreographed textual sadomasochist dance.
  • Schaffner, A. (2010). "Wenn es Heimat gibt, dann liegt sie in der Sprache": Frank Schulz’s Hagener Trilogie (1991–2006). Modern Language Review [Online] 105:777-794. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25698808.
    Frank Schulz's Hagener Trilogie (1991-2006) was celebrated as a masterpiece in the German-speaking feuilletons. Surprisingly, nothing can be found on Schulz's multi-layered meditation on Heimat and Sehnsucht in academic discussions of contemporary German literature. Playing with the conventions of the Heimatroman, Schulz gives the genre a postmodern spin by transplanting the concept of Heimat from the realm of geography into the sphere of speech sounds: the metaphysical homelessness and identity crisis of the main protagonist is not just negotiated thematically, but also expressed by his lack of a stable linguistic identity, by his increasingly frantic vacillation between different sociolects, idiolects, and dialects.
  • Schaffner, A. (2009). Fantasmatic Splittings and Destructive Desires: Lynch's Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. Forum for Modern Language Studies [Online] 45:270-291. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/fmls/cqp105.
    Obsessive-destructive desire, fantasmatic projections and paranoid-schizoid splittings of the female love-object into virgin/whore, ideal/nightmare pairs are central thematic concerns in Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. However, Lynch not only orchestrates but in fact deconstructs these clichéd binary representations of women on the levels of content, form and narrative, and through his hyperbolic-ironic use of mise-en-scène as a tool for working against the narrative propositions of his images. While both Fred Madison in Lost Highway and Diane Selwyn in Mulholland Drive fail to obliterate their obsessions because they remain caught in a network of false fantasmatic conceptions, Nikki Grace in Inland Empire is able to liberate herself from the dark male forces who exercise power over her. Nikki thus also frees herself from the curse of binary male projections: in the beginning she is the embodiment of the ideal, the glorious movie star, while Sue Blue (her film-within-the-film character) is the ultimate incarnation of the male nightmare – the castrating, violent and abused white trash female. Nikki transcends both categories, she undoes the false split; in the end she is neither one nor the other but simply herself. Inland Empire is thus Lynch's most explicitly feminist movie in this trilogy on the fatal dynamics of binary thinking.
  • Schaffner, A. (2008). Brasilianischer Konkretismus in Wort und Bild: Noigandres und Grupo Ruptura. Lusorama. Zeitschrift fuer Lusitanistik 75:97-116.
  • Schaffner, A. (2007). Linguistic Lunacy as Transgressive Practice. Nordlit [Online] 21:103-114. Available at: http://uit.no/humfak/publikasjonar/32?SubjectId=1197&From=0.
  • Schaffner, A. and Roberts, A. (2006). Rhetorics of Surface and Depth in Digital Poetry. RiLUnE [Online] 5:37-48. Available at: http://www.rilune.org/mono5/5_schaffner_roberts.pdf.


  • Schaffner, A. (2016). The Truth About Julia. [Online]. London: Allen and Unwin. Available at: https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/fiction/crime-mystery/The-Truth-About-Julia-Anna-Schaffner-9781760294403.
    This novel is inspired by the fact that ours is the age of terrorism, debates about the reasons for radicalization being ubiquitous, and also by the fact that political idealism is threatened with exhaustion. In its exploration of the eponymous young woman, the novel questions simplistic, mono-causal explanations of radicalization, including individual psychology, parenting styles, religious and cultural values, political disenchantment, economic hardship, and social alienation. Driven by anxieties about the significance of her writing career, and questioning the power of the word to effect political change, the novel’s protagonist (a journalist investigating the reasons behind a terrorist act) becomes disenchanted with the legal forms of political activism – a state of mind which makes her vulnerable to radicalization.
  • Schaffner, A. (2016). Exhaustion: A History. [Online]. New York: Columbia University Press. Available at: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/exhaustion/9780231172301.
    Today our fatigue feels chronic; our anxieties, amplified. Proliferating technologies command our attention. Many people complain of burnout, and economic instability and the threat of ecological catastrophe fill us with dread. We look to the past, imagining life to have once been simpler and slower, but extreme mental and physical stress is not a modern syndrome. Beginning in classical antiquity, this book demonstrates how exhaustion has always been with us and helps us evaluate more critically the narratives we tell ourselves about the phenomenon.

    Medical, cultural, literary, and biographical sources have cast exhaustion as a biochemical imbalance, a somatic ailment, a viral disease, and a spiritual failing. It has been linked to loss, the alignment of the planets, a perverse desire for death, and social and economic disruption. Pathologized, demonized, sexualized, and even weaponized, exhaustion unites the mind with the body and society in such a way that we attach larger questions of agency, willpower, and well-being to its symptoms. Mapping these political, ideological, and creative currents across centuries of human development, Exhaustion finds in our struggle to overcome weariness a more significant effort to master ourselves.
  • Schaffner, A. (2012). Modernism and Perversion: Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature, 1850-1930. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Charting the construction of sexual perversions in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century medical, psychiatric and psychological discourse, Schaffner argues that sexologists' preoccupation with these perversions was a response to specifically modern concerns, and illuminates the role of literary texts in the formation of sexological knowledge.
  • Schaffner, A. (2007). Sprachzerlegung in historischer Avantgardelyrik und konkreter Poesie. Krueger, R. ed. Berlin: ECA.
    The present study posits language dissection, the act of taking language apart on different levels of linguistic organization, as a crucial avant-garde technique, and explores the implications of and motivations for language dissection in historical avant-garde and concrete poetry. In both stages of the avant-garde, the communicative function of language is programmatically neglected for the sake of the exploration of its material dimension. Often, however, the intervention in the order of signs is not just a poetic device, but also represents a cultural strategy motivated by critical agendas. In the most radical poetic frameworks, language dissection is a symbolic gesture of protest, the manifestation of a fundamental cultural critique which questions and withdraws the most basic form of social consensus: the adherence to a given set of linguistic laws.

    Diese Studie untersucht Sprachzerlegung, das Auseinandernehmen von Sprache auf verschiedenen linguistischen Organisationsebenen, als eine Schlüsseltechnik der Avantgarde und analysiert die Implikationen von und Motivationen für die programmatischen Interventionen in das Zeichensystem in den Poetiken der historischen Avantgardedichter und der konkreten Dichter der 50er und 60er Jahre. In beiden Phasen der Avantgarde wird die kommunkative Funktion von Sprache zugunsten einer Exploration ihrer materialen Dimension vernachlässigt. Oft ist der Eingriff in die Ordnung der Zeichen jedoch nicht nur ein formal-aesthetisches Mittel, sondern eine Metasemiotische Manifestation einer über das Ästhetische hinausreichende kritisch-interventionistischen Kulturstrategie. In den radikalsten Avantgardepoetiken wird Sprachzerlegung als symbolische Geste des Protestes, als Manifestation einer fundamentalen Kulturkritik verstanden, die die Basis jeglichen sozialen Konsens in Frage stellt: die Einhaltung linguistischer Gesetze.

Book section

  • Schaffner, A. (2017). Pre-modern Exhaustion: On Melancholia and Acedia. in: Schaffner, A. K., Wagner, G. and Neckel, S. eds. Burnout, Fatigue, Exhaustion: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on a Modern Affliction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 27-50.
    Adopting a cultural-historical perspective, Anna Katharina Schaffner argues that exhaustion is not at all a modern preoccupation, nor the specific bane of our age of techno-capitalism, as many critics argue, but that anxieties about exhaustion and its psychological, physical, and social effects have always been with us. She shows that theories of exhaustion and its corrosive effects can be found in many historical periods, including Greek antiquity and the Middle Ages. The symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion were considered to be among the core symptoms of melancholia, theorised in the broader framework of humoral theory by the physician Galen. An alternative model of exhaustion emerged in Late Antiquity and blossomed in the Middle Ages: the notion of sloth, or acedia. Just like melancholia, acedia included various symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion among its core indicators, such as weariness, torpor, apathy, lethargy, sleepiness, irritability, cognitive impairment, and hopelessness. Yet unlike melancholia, which was treated and defined by physicians, sloth fell under the remit of theologians such as St Thomas Aquinas. It was understood not as an organic disease, but rather as a spiritual and moral failing.
  • Schaffner, A. (2017). Sexology. in: Holmes, J. and Ruston, S. eds. The Routledge Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Science. Abingdon: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/9781472429872.
  • Schaffner, A., Wagner, G. and Neckel, S. (2017). Introduction. in: Schaffner, A. K., Wagner, G. and Neckel, S. eds. Burnout, Fatigue, Exhaustion: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on a Modern Affliction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-23. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-52887-8.
    In the introduction to this volume, the three editors outline the general scope and rationale of the volume and provide a critical overview of the key debates about past and current exhaustion syndromes, as well as reflections on the wider socio-political significance of these debates. They focus in particular on burnout, neurasthenia, and depression, and also highlight the special status of CFS in the corpus of exhaustion syndromes, discussing the controversies surrounding this diagnosis and mentioning theories of its potential biological causes. They also reflect on the complex interplay between physical and the social forces that determine the emergence and theorisation of exhaustion syndromes.
  • Schaffner, A. (2015). Sexology and Literature: On the Uses and Abuses of Fiction. in: Böni, O. and Johnstone, J. eds. Crimes of Passion: Repräsentationen der Sexualpathologie im frühen 20. Jahrhundert [Crimes of Passion: Representations of Sexual Pathology in the Early Twentieth Century]. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 37-48.
  • Schaffner, A. (2013). Heimat und Sprache. in: Taeube, D. ed. macht heimat! Mettingen: Draiflessen Collection, pp. 142-148. Available at: http://www.draiflessen.com/sonderausstellung/katalog.
  • Weller, S. and Schaffner, A. (2012). Introduction. in: Schaffner, A. K. and Weller, S. eds. Modernist Eroticisms: European Literature after Sexology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-22. Available at: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=594803.
  • Schaffner, A. (2012). 'Seasick in the Land of Sexuality': Kafka's Eroticisms. in: Schaffner, A. K. and Weller, S. eds. Modernist Eroticisms: European Literature After Sexology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 80-104.
  • Schaffner, A. (2011). Dissecting the Order of Signs: On the Textual Politics of Dada Poetics. in: Adamowicz, E. and Robertson, E. eds. Dada and Beyond : Dada Discourses. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, pp. 37-50.
  • Schaffner, A. (2010). From Concrete to Digital: The Reconceptualisation of Poetic Space. in: Beyond the Screen: Transformations of Literary Structures, Interfaces and Genres. Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 179-97. Available at: http://www.netzliteratur.net/schaffner/concrete_to_digital.pdf.
  • Schaffner, A. (2009). Situationistische Internationale. in: van den Berg, H. and Fahnders, W. eds. Metzler Lexikon Avantgarde. Stuttgart: Metzler Verlag, pp. 303-305.
  • Schaffner, A. (2006). Dadaist Codebreaking: The Assault on the Order of Signs. in: Jones, D. ed. Dada Culture:Critical Texts on the Avant-Garde. Amsterdam; Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, B.V., pp. 117-133. Available at: http://www.rodopi.nl/functions/search.asp?BookId=AVANT+18.
    How Dada is to break its cultural accommodation and containment today necessitates thinking the historical instances through revised application of critical and theoretical models. The volume Dada Culture: Critical Texts on the Avant-Garde moves precisely by this motive, bringing together writings which insist upon the continuity of the early twentieth-century moment now at the start of the twenty-first. Engaging the complex and contradictory nature of Dada strategies, instanced in the linguistic gaming and performativity of the movement’s initial formation, and subsequently isolating the specific from the general with essays focusing on Ball, Tzara, Serner, Hausmann, Dix, Heartfield, Schwitters, Baader, Cravan and the exemplary Duchamp, the political philosophy of the avant-garde is brought to bear upon our own contemporary struggle through critical theory to comprehend the cultural usefulness, relevance, validity and effective (or otherwise) oppositionality of Dada’s infamous anti-stance.

    The volume is presented in sections that progressively point towards the expanding complexity of the contemporary engagement with Dada, as what is often exhaustive historical data is forced to rethink, realign and reconfigure itself in response to the analytical rigour and exercise of later twentieth-century animal anarchic thought, the testing and cultural placement of thoughts upon the virtual, and the eventual implications for the once blissfully unproblematic idea of expression. From the opening, provocative proposition that historically Dada may have been the falsest of all false paths, the volume rounds to dispute such condemnation as demarcation continues not only of Dada’s embeddedness in western culture, but more precisely of the location of Dada culture.

    Ten critical essays – by Cornelius Partsch, John Wall, T. J. Demos, Anna Schaffner, Martin I. Gaughan, Curt Germundson, Stephen C. Foster, Dafydd Jones, Joel Freeman and David Cunningham – are supplemented by the critical bibliography prepared by Timothy Shipe, which documents the past decade of Dada scholarship, and in so doing provides a valuable resource for all those engaged in Dada studies today.

Edited book

  • Schaffner, A.K., Wagner, G. and Neckel, S. eds. (2017). Burnout, Fatigue, Exhaustion: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on a Modern Affliction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Our age, it seems, is the age of exhaustion. The prevalence of exhaustion – both as an individual experience and as a broader socio-cultural phenomenon – is manifest in the epidemic rise of burnout, depression, and chronic fatigue. It is equally present in a growing disenchantment with capitalism in its current neo-liberal form, in concerns about the psycho-social repercussions of ever-faster information and communication technologies, in a general distrust in grand narratives, and in anxieties about ecological sustainability.

    Since the precise organic causes of chronic exhaustion are still being debated, exhaustion theories entail by definition assumptions about the relationship between the mind, the body, and society, which are often ideologically charged. Exhaustion theories frequently act as discursive spaces in which specific cultural discontents are negotiated. They therefore present fascinating case studies for an investigation of the ways in which individual discomfort and wider social dynamics are interrelated.

    This multidisciplinary essay collection explores the connections and tensions between sociological, psychological, and biologic theories of exhaustion. Examining the status of exhaustion-syndromes in sociological, medical, psychological, psychiatric, literary, and historical accounts, it provides groundbreaking analyses of the complex interplay between the processes involved in the production of mental health diagnoses, socio-cultural transformations, and subjective illness experiences.
  • Schaffner, A.K. and Weller, S. eds. (2012). Modernist Eroticisms: European Literature after Sexology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    At the heart of European literary modernism lies a concern with the erotic, and in particular with various forms of what Freud saw as 'sexual aberration', including sadism, masochism, homosexuality, fetishism and necrophilia. Modernist Eroticisms explores the impact of sexological and early psychoanalytic conceptions of sexual perversion on the representation of the erotic in modernist literature: writers whose work is discussed include Djuna Barnes, Georges Bataille, Édouard Dujardin, Hans Henny Jahnn, Henry James, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, D. H. Lawrence, Maurice Maeterlinck, Thomas Mann, Robert Musil, Marcel Proust, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Valéry, Frank Wedekind and Oscar Wilde. Taken together, the essays in this volume explore not only the specificities of the modernist writing of the erotic, but also its decisive role in the shift from conceptions of sexual deviance to those of sexual difference.
  • Hopkins, D. and Schaffner, A.K. eds. (2006). Neo-Avant-Garde. [Online]. Amsterdam; Atlanta: Rodopi. Available at: http://www.rodopi.nl/functions/search.asp?BookId=AVANT+20.
    The neo-avant-garde of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, is due for a thoroughgoing reassessment. This collection of essays represents the first full-scale attempt to deal with the concept from an interdisciplinary standpoint. A number of essays in this book concentrate on fine art, particularly painting and sculpture, thereby adding significantly to the growing art historical literature in the field, but a number of the contributions also focus on poetry, performance, theatre, film, architecture and music. Given that there are also major essays here dealing with geographical blindspots in current neo-avant-garde studies, with thematic issues such as art’s entanglement with gender, mass culture and politics, with key neo-avant-garde publications, and with the purely theoretical problems attaching to the theorisation of the topic, this collection offers a multi-dimensional approach to the subject which is noticeably lacking elsewhere. Taken together these essays represent a consolidated attempt at re-thinking the ‘cultural logic’ of the immediate post-World War II period.


  • Schaffner, A. (2018). Fixated on the Ficus. Times Literary Supplement.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). Science to Justice. Times Literary Supplement.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). To Know One's Mind. Times Literary Supplement.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). Plagiarists of Pain: The Cultural Consequences of Hoaxing. Times Literary Supplement:26-26.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). Whatever Works. Times Literary Supplement:14-14.
  • Schaffner, A. (2017). The People of the Book: Strange Birds and Book Smuggling in the Third Reich. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-2. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/book-smugglers-albatross-press/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2017). Fool Rushes In. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-1. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/toni-erdmann-review-anna-katharina-schaffner/.
    Review of Maren Ade's film Toni Erdmann (2016)
  • Schaffner, A. (2017). Animal Spirits. Times Literary Supplement.
  • Schaffner, A. (2017). Lose Yourself. Times Literary Supplement.
  • Schaffner, A. (2017). The Red-Light Cosmos. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-2. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/the-red-light-cosmos/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2016). Because the Night. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-1. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/because-the-night/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2016). Mann's Inhumanity to Mann. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-1. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/manns-inhumanity-to-mann/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2016). Sieg High. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-1. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/sieg-high-drugs-nazi-germany/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2016). It's all in your Head. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-1. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/its-all-in-your-head/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2016). An Alternative Model. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-1. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/an-alternative-model/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2016). Shock Therapy. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-1. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/shock-therapy/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2015). The Twee Tribe. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:13-13. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1520299.ece.
  • Schaffner, A. (2015). Our Sweet Teeth. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-4. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1595296.ece.
    We are, it seems, pre-determined to love the taste of all things
    sweet. Evolutionary biologists argue that survival once depended
    on our ability to take in quickly high amounts of nutritional
    energy, a major source of such energy being found in
    carbohydrates, which include sugar. As frugivores, we generally
    prefer our fruit as ripe as possible, its degree of edibility being
    signalled by sweetness, too. While sweetness signals calories,
    bitterness in contrast may indicate the presence of toxins. It
    appears that our predilection for sweetness is, like the incest
    taboo, a cross-cultural phenomenon, and that it is ubiquitous and,
    in all likelihood, innate: the facial expressions of new-borns, for
    example, display unambiguous pleasure when sugar is placed on
    their tongues. We appear, moreover, to have raided beehives for
    millennia: there is evidence in Mesolithic cave paintings that
    feeding on honey has always been part of our primate nature. We
    share our love of sweetness with most other mammals, the sole exception being felines.
  • Schaffner, A. (2015). Look Who's Back. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-3. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1604500.ece.
  • Schaffner, A. (2014). German burnout. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-2. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1374502.ece.
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