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.

Elected 2012

Fellow type
UK Fellow
Year elected

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

Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford Professor of German Literature

2013 -


Court Culture in Dresden: Renaissance to Baroque 2002

Spectaculum Europæn 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

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