PhD students 3rd cohort

Sophie Lauster, M.A.

Sophie Lauster, M.A.
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
DFG-Graduiertenkolleg „Modell Romantik“
Bachstraße 18k | R. 104a
07743 Jena
+49 3641 944-193

Curriculum Vitae

2015-2019 Bachelor of Arts in English and German Language and Literature at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Durham (U.K.)

2017 Internships in the Department of Literary Museums, Archives and Memorial Sites in Baden-Wuerttemberg at the German Literary Archives in Marbach (DLA) and in the Department of Education at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar

2017-2019 Student Tutor for the Introduction to Medieval Studies and the Introduction to Literature at the German Department at the University of Heidelberg

2019 Student Assistant at the German Department at the University of Heidelberg (Chair for “19th Century and Modernity”, Prof. Dr. Barbara Beßlich)

2019-2020 Master of Studies in Modern Languages (German) at the University of Oxford

2019-2021 Scholarship Holder of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes)

2019-2021 Master of Arts in German and English Literature at the University of Heidelberg

Since Oktober 2021 PhD student and research associate at the Research Training Group “The Romantic Model”

April-June 2023 Hospitantin am Freien Deutschen Hochstift für die Wechselausstellung des Deutschen Romantik-Museums in Frankfurt a.M. „‚Die Natur will, dass Kinder Kinder sind…‘. Kindheit im Wandel: Von der Aufklärung zur Romantik“ (27.10.23-21.01.24)

PhD project

The Dark Side of Modernity – Transformations of Dark Romanticism and the Gothic in German Literature of the Early 20th Century (Arthur Schnitzler – Alfred Döblin – Leo Perutz)

My PhD project focusses on the aftermath of Dark Romanticism (Schwarze Romantik) and the Gothic in German narrative literature of the early 20th century.
In German scholarship, terms such as ‘Schauerroman’ or ‘Schwarze Romantik’ are still used very imprecisely, and the phenomenon of Dark Romanticism is frequently reduced to certain narratives of a specific period, which are often classified as trivial literature. Taking the more neutral term ‘Gothic’ and the Anglo-Saxon research tradition as a starting point, my project understands ‘Schwarze Romantik’ not as a mere catalogue of characteristics, but rather as a reaction to a certain problem situation: Authors around 1800 use supernatural, fantastic, and uncanny elements to address the ‘dark sides’ of modernity, the loss of a belief system, and the resulting insecurity of the individual. In this form, the Gothic and Dark Romanticism have an impact far beyond their origins. Even after the period of upheaval around 1800, Gothic elements are used again and again to express insecurities in connection with social changes, scientific advances in knowledge, or technological developments. At the beginning of the 20th century, for example, authors from a wide variety of literary movements articulate both expectations and fears with regard to advancing modernisation and its consequences for the individual, sometimes using structures and motifs reminiscent of Dark Romanticism. In my PhD project, therefore, I examine, how, with what functions, and in response to what problems Gothic and Dark-Romantic elements are used, modified, and developed in early twentieth-century narrative literature.
In the first part of the thesis, the German ‘Schwarze Romantik’ is approached from the perspective of a history of problems (‘Problemgeschichte’). Using exemplary texts by Ludwig Tieck, E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Joseph von Eichendorff, it is determined which textual structures and themes are used in narratives of historical Dark Romanticism to respond to which problems. Based on this, the second part of the project will analyse different manifestations of Dark Romanticism and the Gothic in selected works by Alfred Döblin, Arthur Schnitzler and Leo Perutz. In this way, the project can illustrate that the Gothic and the Dark-Romantic as modes of reaction are not limited to certain genres, persons, or eras. At the same time, it can be comparatively examined how and with which functions authors of different literary movements update and expand the Gothic and Dark Romanticism in their texts. Overall, the dissertation aims to contribute to the systematic recording of the aftermath of (Dark) Romanticism in the context of the Research Training Group.


Kleinere Beiträge

  • Lernen mit Bildern. Johann Bernhard Basedows ‚Elementarwerk für die Jugend‘. In: Seng, Joachim / Kaluga, Katja (Hrsg.): „Die Natur will, dass Kinder Kinder sind…“. Kindheit im Wandel: Von der Aufklärung zur Romantik. Göttingen 2023, S. 60f.
  • Religion als Weltzugang. Johann Sigmund Stoys ‚Bilder-Akademie für die Jugend‘. In: Seng, Joachim / Kaluga, Katja (Hrsg.): „Die Natur will, dass Kinder Kinder sind…“. Kindheit im Wandel: Von der Aufklärung zur Romantik. Göttingen 2023, S. 80f.
  • Vordenker von Transhumanismus und KI? Zur Jubiläumsausstellung „Unheimlich Fantastisch – E. T. A. Hoffmann 2022“ im Deutschen Romantik-Museum in Frankfurt am Main. Gestern | Romantik | Heute, 31.01.2023.
  • with Tabea Lamberti: Zwischen Geisterbahnfahrt und Schauerromantik – "Der Sandmann" am Bamberger ETA Hoffmann Theater. Gestern | Romantik | Heute, 14.04.2022.



  • „[D]er Einbruch der E. T. A. Hoffmannschen Welt“ – Transformationen des Schwarzromantischen in Leo Perutz’ Erzählung ‚Der Mond lacht‘ (1915/1930). Nachwuchs-Forschungskolloquium für E. T. A. Hoffmann-Forscher:innen. Online, 14.04.2023.
  • Genderfluid Vampires – Gothic Explorations of Threats and Possibilities Posed by Changing Gender Conceptions in Alfred Döblin’s "The Helper" ("Die Helferin", 1911). Gothic Interruptions. The 16th International Gothic Association Conference. Trinity College Dublin, 29.07.2022.


  • Lesungsmoderation und Gespräch mit der Autorin Asal Dardan über ihre Essay-Sammlung ‚Betrachtungen einer Barbarin‘ (2021), Abendveranstaltung im Rahmen des Workshops „Ironie | Post-Ironie in der Gegenwart“ an der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, gemeinsam mit Marie Jonietz, 25.01.2023.
  • Podiumsgespräch mit der Dramaturgin Petra Schiller zur Inszenierung "Der Sandmann" am ETA Hoffmann Theater Bamberg, gemeinsam mit Tabea Lamberti, 23.03.2022.
  • Lesungsmoderation und Gespräch mit dem Autor Simon Sailer über seinen Roman ‚Die Schrift‘ (2020) im Rahmen der Preisverleihung des Clemens-Brentano-Preises der Stadt Heidelberg, gemeinsam mit Mia Brauns, 21.07.2021.