Elys Griffiths


MA (Cantab) in Modern and Medieval Languages
PhD in German Studies
PG Cert HE, University of Birmingham
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research interests

My research is focused on German literature from 1750 to 1850, with a particular focus on outsider figures. I am the author of books on Heinrich von Kleist's politics (2005), and on German-language pastoral from 1750 to 1850 (2020). Along with David Hill, I edited the first edition of J.M.R. Lenz's writings on social and military reform (the so-called 'Berkaer Projekt') (2007). I am currently working on a project dealing with conceptions of obedience and agency in the 18th and 19th centuries and a second project on the Sturm und Drang.


I grew up in Cardiff and attended a comprehensive school. I went on to study Modern Languages (German and French) at Robinson College, Cambridge and completed my doctorate on the relationship between nationalism and liberalism in the work of Heinrich von Kleist at the University of Birmingham under the supervision of Professor Michael Perraudin. I have been a staff member at the University of Birmingham since 2000. Alongside my work of teaching and research in German Studies, I am also Deputy Director of Education for Quality Assurance and Enhancement in the College of Arts and Law.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

My main research interests are in German literature of the period 1750-1850, with a particular interest in how social and political tensions manifest themselves in German culture. I am happy to supervise postgraduate projects within my areas of interest. I have also supervised doctoral work on German-language cinema. I am currently supervising a number of PhD projects, including one on translations/adaptations of Heinrich von Kleist and another on contemporary German literature and migration. If you have a project in mind, please do get in touch.