Dr. James Dowthwaite



since 2019

Habilitation Project on Aestheticism and the concept of fate, University of Jena

since 2018

Wissenschaftflicher Mitarbeiter in English Literature, University of Jena

2016- 2018

Lehrauftrag at the University of Goettingen

  • I taught courses on modern poetry, the post-war satirical novel, film and television, the American Civil War, and Romanticism.

D.Phil (Ph.D) at Queen’s College, University of Oxford

  • Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Thesis entitled Ezra Pound’s Theory of Language
2011-2012 MA in English at Royal Holloway, University of London

BA in English at Royal Holloway, University of London

  • Awarded Dissertation Prize
  • Biography & Research Interests

    I have been teaching at Jena since 2018, having moved to Germany in 2016. My area of research is, currently, aestheticism in the late nineteenth century, but my background is in modernism and the philosophy of language. My habilitation project concerns the treatment of the concept of fate in aestheticism; I look, specifically, at the form of fate in works by The Pre-Raphaelites, Walter Pater, Michael Field, Oscar Wilde, and others. My main interests are form and aesthetics, but I am also interested in the relationship between literature and philosophy and literature and theology, though from the side of the literary. My primary interest is in the literariness of literature, in particular the ways that the literary offers us a lens through which to view human culture and human activity. This encompasses primarily questions of poetics, aesthetics, fictionality, and literary history – though it all touches on broader movements in cultural history as well.

  • Publications

    ‘The Poet as Fate: Schopenhauer’s Literary Vision’. In: IZfK ed. R. Thiel and W. G. Mueller, 5 (2021). 337–358.

    Review of The Cambridge Companion to The Waste Land, ed. Gabriel McIntire, Notes & Queries 66 (2019).

    Ezra Pound and 20th Century Theories of Language: Faith with the Word (Routledge, 2019). (Monograph)

    ‘Ezra Pound’s Theory of Language’ in “Antreten gegen die Welt”: Ezra Pounds Erbe, eds. Theresia Prammer & Christine Vescoli. Lana, Südtirol, 2018.

    ‘‘‘CRIME Ov two CENturies”: Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theory as a Narrative Arc in Ezra Pound’s Cantos”, forthcoming in Amerikastudien/American Studies (2018).

    “Edward Sapir and Modernist Poetry: Harriet Monroe, Amy Lowell, H.D., and the Development of Sapir’s Literary Theory”. Forthcoming in Modernist Cultures (2018).

    “Canto XXI” in Readings in the Cantos 1-73 (University of New Orleans Press, 2018).

    "Revised Intentions: James Buchanan and the Antebellum White House in Ezra Pound's Canto CIII" in Commentaries on Ezra Pound’s Thrones de los Cantares. Special Issue of Glossator 10 (2018).

  • Talks & Guest Lectures

    2021: “Fate, the Rural, and the Aesthetic in the Work Thomas Hardy”, Away from the Centre: Conceptualising the Regional and the Rural (1850-1950), University of Durham, 10 May

    2019: ‘”Fear God and the Stupidity of the Populace”: Pound, Eliot, and High Modernism between Populism and Esoterism’, Populism and the Arts Symposium, Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., 16-18 August

    2018: ‘The Waste Land’, Guest Lecture at the University of Goettingen, American Studies Department.

    2018: ‘“Getting the News from Poems”: Poetry and the Polis in Pound, Williams, and Olson’, Poetry and Populism Symposium, University of Goettingen, 12-14 July

    2018: ‘The Meaning of Objects: C.K. Ogden, I.A. Richards, and the Revolution of the Word’, Modernist Objects, University of Paris-Sorbonne, 13-16 June

    2018-2022: As part of my position here at Jena, I speak at our colloquium once a semester.

    2017: “Faith with the Word: An Introduction to Ezra Pound’s Theory of Language”, Literaturtage Lana, Lana, Italy, 30. August – 2 September

    2017: “Modernist Counter-Enlightenments: Conservatism, Populism, and Totalitarianism in early Twentieth Century Literary Culture", Zentrum für Jüdische Studien, Berlin, 2 May

    2017: "Conservatism and Populism in the Modernist Era: Irving Babbitt, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound" at Cultures of US Conservatism Conference, University of Göttingen, 9-11 February

    2016: “Ezra Pound’s Theory of Race”, American Studies Colloquium, University of Göttingen, 11 May

    2016: “Ezra Pound’s Anti-Semitism”, Anglistik Colloquium, Heidelberg University, 18 May

    2015: “Ezra Pound’s Cathay”, Modernism 1915-2015, Continuing Education Centre, Wellington House, University of Oxford, 7 February

    2014: “The Place of Philology in Ezra Pound’s Literary Scholarship”, Modernism Now! British Association of Modernist Studies International Conference, 26-28 June, Senate House, University of London

    2014: “English Philology: A Preliminary Survey of its Role in Graduate Study”, The Humanities in the 21st Century, 21 March, Ertegun House, University of Oxford 

    2014: “Canto LII: Usury and China”, London Cantos Reading Group, 13 December, Institute of English Studies, University of London

    2013: “Pound/Ogden: High Modernism and Semiotic Theory”, 25th Ezra Pound International Conference Dublin, 10-13 July, Trinity College, Dublin

    2013: “Symbol-Reference-Referent: the Place of the Object in Early Twentieth Century Linguistics”, Objects: Oxford Graduate Conference, 31 May, University of Oxford 

    2012: ‘’E Ti Fiammeggio’: Love in Canto 93”, London Cantos Reading Group, 11 December, Institute of English Studies, University of London

    2012: ‘’The Wind is Part of the Process’: Ezra Pound and the Italian Landscape’, The Association for the Study of Modern Italy Postgraduate Summer School, 28-29 June, University College London

  • Teaching

    This semester (winter term 2021) I am co-teaching, with Professor Vanderbeke. We have a lecture on Modernism on Mondays, and a related seminar on modernist literature on Wednesdays. Information can be found on Friedolin.

    In past semesters, I have taught classes including the following: Modernist Poetry (Pound, Eliot, and H.D.), Introduction to Literary Studies, Literary Theory: a Survey, Didactics, Romanticism: A Survey, Conflicts between Literature and Philosophy, Aestheticism and Decadence, Romanticism, The Fall of the British Empire, Virginia Woolf, New Criticism, Postmodernism,

    Next semester:

    Introduction to Literary Studies II:

    In this class, we will explore the practical side of literary studies, beginning and ending with the reading of texts. We will begin with the analysis of poetry, before moving on to fictional prose, and drama. The focus will be on techniques of close reading, along with an introduction to the principles and practice of literary criticism. The idea is to give students a solid basis for future literary study.

    The Tempest and its Legacy:

    Shakespeare’s final completed work, The Tempest, has had a literary shelf life as long as that of Hamlet, King Lear, or Romeo and Juliet. In this course, we are going to begin with a detailed look at the play itself. Then we will move on to the various revisits that numerous poets, novelists, directors, and artists have paid it, from Browning to Auden to Derek Jarman. We will look at the legacy of Shakespeare’s play in a wide variety of media: drama, poetry, prose, and film.

  • Miscellaneous

    In the past I have organised the London Cantos Reading Group, The Queen’s College Oxford Literary Society, have taken part in the Oxford Graduate Committee, and have run a number of reading and writing groups here at Jena.

    Assistant Editor, New American Studies Journal

    Membership of: Deutsche Anglisten Verband, German Society of English Romanticism, British Association of Modernist Studies, European Association of Modernist Studies

    I have also published poetry in Acumen, Allegra, Poetry Salzburg Review, and The French Literary Review, amongst other places.

James Dowthwaite, Dr.
Lehrstuhl Anglistische Literaturwissenschaft
Dr. James Dowthwaite
Raum 621
Ernst-Abbe-Platz 8
07743 Jena