Portrait of Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner

Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner

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). 

Anna writes a blog, 'The Art of Self-Improvement: What we can learn from the ancients' for Psychology Today.

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 59 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 [Online] 112:205-222. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5699/modelangrevi.112.1.0205.
    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., Knowles, K., Weger, U. and Roberts, A. (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). "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. (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. (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.

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., 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.
  • Wilkinson, I. (2017). Social Agony and Agonizing Social Constructions. In: Neckel, S., Schaffner, A. K. and Wagner, G. eds. Burnout, Fatigue, Exhaustion: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on a Modern Affliction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 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. (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.
  • Baldwin, T. (2012). Grazing with Marcel Proust. In: Schaffner, A. K. and Weller, S. eds. Modernist Eroticisms: European Literature After Sexology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 63-79. Available at: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=594803.
  • Hutchinson, B. (2012). Modernism and the Erotics of Style. In: Schaffner, A. K. and Weller, S. eds. Modernist Eroticisms: European Literature After Sexology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 213-231.
  • Weller, S. (2012). Decomposition: Georges Bataille and the Language of Necrophilia. In: Schaffner, A. K. and Weller, S. eds. Modernist Eroticisms: European Literature After Sexology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 169-194. Available at: http://www.palgrave.com/Products/title.aspx?pid=594803.
  • 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.

Edited book

  • Schaffner, A. and Wilkinson, I. (2017). Burnout, Fatigue, Exhaustion: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on a Modern Affliction. Schaffner, A. K., Wagner, G. and Neckel, S. eds. 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. and Weller, S. (2012). Modernist Eroticisms: European Literature After Sexology. Schaffner, A. K. and Weller, S. eds. 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.


  • Schaffner, A. (2019). Weighty Matters: The Cultural History of Fat and Fat Phobia. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-3. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/weighty-matters-fat-obesity/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). Whatever Works? Adrift in a landscape of conflicting medical theories. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:14-14. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/cure-medicine-phantom-pain/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). Science to Justice: German sexual progress before the First World War. Times Literary Supplement [Online]. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/science-to-justice/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). Fixated on the Ficus: A plant symbolizing hope in tragic times. Times Literary Supplement [Online]. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/katja-petrowskaja/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). To Know One’s Mind: A masterly tale of parenting and analysis. Times Literary Supplement [Online]. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/to-know-ones-mind/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2018). Plagiarists of Pain: The Cultural Consequences of Hoaxing. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:26-26. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/plagiarists-of-pain/.
  • 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). Lose Yourself: How – as individuals – we can be narcissistic, hyper-connected, radically social and broken, sometimes all at once. Times Literary Supplement [Online]. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/lose-your-selfhood/.
  • Schaffner, A. (2017). Animal Spirits: Coming to terms with the concept of energy. Times Literary Supplement [Online]. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/defining-energy/.
  • 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. (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. (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). 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). 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). Shock Therapy. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-1. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/shock-therapy/.
  • 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. (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. (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). The Twee Tribe. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:13-13. Available at: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1520299.ece.
  • Schaffner, A. (2014). German burnout. Times Literary Supplement [Online]:1-2. Available at: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/german-burnout/.


  • Mooney, L. (2015). Listening to Silence, Reading the Unwritten: Articulating the Voice of the Racial Other in White Male Discourse.
    This thesis explores literary representations in white male discourse of the voices of the racial Other. Tracing a chronological development from colonial to postcolonial texts, it closely analyzes the wider political and ethical implications of these representations in Daniel Defoe’s "Robinson Crusoe", Joseph Conrad’s "Heart of Darkness", Albert Camus’ "L’Étranger" and ‘L’Hôte’, J.M. Coetzee’s "Foe" and "Disgrace", J.M.G. Le Clézio’s "Onitsha" and Cormac McCarthy’s "No Country for Old Men". At the core of my research is the question how can white male writers resist the dominance of Eurocentric consciousness and be a witness to the racial Other and articulate his/her voice without recourse to prejudice and stereotyping.

    The representation of the Other transitions from the anonymity of slavery in colonial texts to identified and identifiable individuals in postcolonial writings. Through these novels the impact of national Independence, freedom from racial oppression and immigration ? all legal expressions of freely articulated voice ? can be observed on the traditional colonial power relationship. As a consequence, dominated, silenced voices gradually develop into silent refusals of acquiescence that withhold information. The impact of such resistance is frequently paralleled by a crisis of male identity and the declining stature of the white male protagonists who suffer imprisonment, death, sickness, confusion or defeat, as gestures symbolic of the decline of white patriarchal systems and challenges to accepted concepts of identity, humanity, justice, good and evil. In a globalized world the category of the Other encourages us to think beyond the known and recognize the validity of ideologies that challenge the authority of our own.
  • Poplett, P. (2015). Textiles in Texts: Literary Representations of Women’s Textile Crafts.
    Textiles in Texts
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