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Dr. Irmtraud Huber

Summer Semester 2020

Irmtraud Huber – PortraitIrmtraud Huber is an Assistant Professor at the English Department at LMU Munich. On completing her studies of comparative literature, English literature and theatre studies at LMU, she took up a position as lecturer at the Universität Bern, where she completed her Ph.D. on literature after postmodernism ("Reconstructive Dreams: A Pragmatic Fantastic after Postmodernism"). Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, she has conducted research at Columbia University, Cambridge University and Queen Mary University of London.

In her larger research project (habilitation), she investigates the influence of changing time regimes and perceptions on the way the Victorians thought about and wrote poetry. In this time of change, and in particular changing conceptions of time and temporal practices, a literary genre which traditionally understood itself as rooted in the eternal came under increasing pressure to reinvent itself. Individual chapters of this book project focus on challenges posed by science and the rise of the novel to an ideal of poetry rooted in timeless truths, on the influence of machine rhythms on prosody, on the temporal innovations of Victorian genre experiments, and on idleness as a source both of creativity and deep anxiety for Victorian poets. The historical interest of this work, however, also brings broader conceptual issues to the fore. In particular, it raises critical questions about the blind spots and limitations of current conceptions of time.

As a Junior Researcher in Residence at the CAS, Irmtraud Huber will develop the broader theoretical implications of her historical research. Critically engaging with the frequently voiced view that the lyric is timeless, she will investigate the historical roots of this idea, showing that it is the result of several interrelated shifts in meaning and that it correlates with an increasing dominance of a narrative understanding of time. Emphasizing the importance of time for poetry, including the lyric, she will investigate how lyric time can be described and what it might mean to perceive time lyrically. She will also organize a workshop on "The Agency of Poetic Form". Engaging with new formalist ideas, this workshop will consider form itself as a producer, conveyor and facilitator of knowledge, affect and meaning.

Visiting Fellows