Professor Nikolaj Lübecker

Professor Nikolaj Lübecker

Tutorial Fellow in French


I am the organizing tutor for Modern Languages at St John’s College. I mostly teach modern French literature (post-1800), but with my colleagues in modern languages, I also run a second year seminar on critical theory. In the university, I give lectures and seminars on French literature, literary theory and film; I also teach on the graduate programmes in Film Aesthetics and Modern Languages.

I have an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Copenhagen, as well as an MA and a PhD in Modern French Literature from Université Paris 7 – Denis Diderot. After finishing my PhD, I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Comparative Literature at the University of Copenhagen. In 2005, I moved to the University of Aberdeen where I was first a Lecturer, then a Senior Lecturer in French and Film Studies. I have been at St John’s College since the academic year 2010-11.

Research Interests

My main research interests lie in the fields of avant-garde culture, intellectual history and film studies. I welcome applications from graduate students wishing to work in these areas.

At the moment, I am interested in various aspects of what has been labelled ‘the non-human turn’ in the humanities: theoretical texts that seek to respond to recent technological and ecological developments in our society. In a number of articles and shorter projects, I am putting this corpus into dialogue with either (1) avant-garde films by directors such as James Benning and Jean-Claude Rousseau, or (2) mid- to late 19th century French poets such as Baudelaire and Verlaine.

I have published three monographs. The most recent considers a number of contemporary filmmakers – Bruno Dumont, Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Harmony Korine, Claire Denis, Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier among others – who have all made films that place the spectator in a position of intense discomfort: ‘feel-bad films’. I ask: How are these viewing experiences created? What do the directors believe they can achieve via the ‘feel-bad’ experience? And (why) should we watch and study feel-bad films? The second monograph analyses ideas about what literature can contribute to debates about ‘how to live together?’ in texts by French intellectuals of the mid-20th century (André Breton, Georges Bataille, Jean-Paul Sartre and Roland Barthes). My first book was a study of the late 19th century poet Stéphane Mallarmé, in particular of the relation between poetry and politics in his writings.

(For a list of selected publications, please see my faculty webpage).