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Dr Ellen Pilsworth

Dr Ellen Pilsworth profile picture
Lecturer in German and Translation Studies

German Programme Director


Miller 106

Building location

Miller building

Areas of interest

My current research explores contemporary British responses to Nazism and the Holocaust. In my work I try to understand what information about Nazism was available to ‘ordinary people’ in Britain at the time, as well as news about the escalating persecution of Jews across Nazi-occupied Europe. 
I am working on a monograph, provisionally entitled 'Atrocity Stories: Anti-Nazi Refugee Autobiographies for British Readers in the Years of Appeasement and War'. In this study I explore the texts that were published by anti-Nazi refugees from Germany and Austria in Britain, for British readers. I consult archival material to show how these works were received by publishers, institutions such as the Ministry of Information and BBC, and readers at the time. This project has been generously funded by the British Academy and Wolfson Foundation (2020-24), and by a Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Fellowship at the institute of Languages and Cultures, London (September-December 2023).

My previous research has mainly focused on German literature from ca. 1750-1815, and I welcome applications for doctoral research projects related to any of the following themes:

  • German and Austrian Exile Studies
  • German Romanticism
  • Cultural memory, and literary confrontations with past violence (war, the Holocaust, colonialism)
  • Political and protest literature 

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries concerning research supervision in any of my areas of research interest.
Current supervisions:

  • Analiese van den Dikkenberg (Department of History): Flipping the Script: Dutch Resistance to the Third Reich’s Chamber of Culture
  • Amel Ghenam (Department of English Literature): Aesthetics of Afrofuturism and dynamics of Subversion/Reconstruction in Contemporary Black Feminist Speculative Fiction.



I currently teach German for beginners (ab initio), courses on German literature and culture from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, and translation from German to English. I also contribute sessions to ML1CompLit and ML1Trans.

Research centres and groups

  • Management board member, Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing (University of Reading)
  • Membership Secretary, The English Goethe Society. 

Academic qualifications

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy
  • PhD in German Studies (University College London)
  • MPhil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (Cambridge)
  • BA (Hons) in English and German (Oxford)


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