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Professor Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly FBA

Early modern German culture; European court culture, especially festivals, of the early modern period; the representation of women in German literature; writing by women in German.
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About this Fellow

HELEN WATANABE-O'KELLY studied German and Spanish at University College Cork, where she took her BA and MA. She did her PhD in German at the University of Basel. She first came to the UK in 1974 as Lecturer in German at the University of Reading and, in 1989, was made Lecturer in German at Oxford University and in 1994 Professor of German Literature. Her main research interests are early modern European court culture, early modern and nineteenth-century German literature, the representation of women and writing by women in German. With colleagues in Germany, Poland and Sweden, she is currently leading a research project funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area): Marrying Cultures: Queens Consort and European Identities 1500-1800 (



Current post

  • Professor of German Literature, University of Oxford

Past Appointments

  • Professor of German Literature, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford, 2013 - 1970


Court Culture in Dresden: Renaissance to Baroque 2002


Spectaculum Europ├Žn 1999


Beauty or Beast? Representations of the Women Warrior in the German Imagination from the Renaissance to the Present 2010


Triumphal Shews: Tournaments at German-Speaking Courts in their European Context 1560-1730 1992


Cambridge History of German Literature 1997


Queens Consort, Cultural Transfer and European Politics 2016


Other Early Modern Languages and Literatures to 1830 Fellows

Professor Neil Kenny

Sixteenth & seventeenth century literature & thought in Europe, especially France; the role played by various dimensions of language (eg concept-formation; tense-aspect) in the shaping of knowledge & belief.

Professor Jeremy Lawrance

The medieval & Renaissance literature & history of Spain from 1200 to 1700, with special interests in literacy, libraries & the history of ideas; humanism; imperialism

Professor Joachim Whaley

The Holy Roman Empire in its European context from the fifteenth century to 1806; the legacy of the Holy Roman Empire in German-speaking central Europe from 1806 to the present

Professor Simon Franklin

History and culture of Russia & Eastern Europe, Medieval & Early Modern; cultural and social history of information technologies