School of Histories, Languages and Cultures

Michael Gratzke


Michael Gratzke

Professor of German and Comparative Literature

Office: Larkin 114
Phone: + 44 (0)1482 465303


Michael Gratzke is Professor of German and Comparative Literature as well as Head of School. He previously held a post as Senior Lecturer in German at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

His research focuses on representations of extreme experiences and states of mind such as in masochism, war, and love. He is the author of two monographs (Liebesschmerz und Textlust, 2000) and (Blut und Feuer, 2011).

He has widely published on German literature from the 1750s to the present. Authors include Ewald von Kleist, Lessing, Goethe, Heinrich von Kleist, Eichendorff, Sacher-Masoch, Ernst Jünger, Bert Brecht, Heiner Müller, Elfriede Jelinek, Christoph Geiser and Wolfgang Herrndorf.

He is currently working on a third book addressing representations of love in 21st century literature written in German, English and Finnish. This project links in with the international, multidisciplinary Love Research Network which he has founded in 2011.

He is also German Subject Editor of Forum for Modern Language Studies (Oxford University Press) and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal for Popular Romance Studies which is published online.

Selected Publications

  • 2013; Readings in twenty-first century literatures; Michael Gratzke, Margaret-Anne Hutton, Claire Whitehead eds.; Peter Lang.
  • 2012 (revised paperback) and 2001; Die Liebe des Plato. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (author); Michael Gratzke (ed. & afterword); Männerschwarm.
  • 2011; Blut und Feuer. Heldentat, Heldentum und Heldenverehrung bei Lessing, Kleist, Fontane, Jünger und Heiner Müller; Michael Gratzke; Königshausen & Neumann;
  • 2000; Liebesschmerz und Textlust. Figuren des Masochismus in der Literatur; Michael Gratzke; Königshausen & Neumann.

Recent articles and chapters

  • 2015; „Liebe (und/oder sexuelles Begehren)“; Michael Gratzke; Rücksendungen zu Jacques Derridas Die Postkarte. Ein essayistisches Glossar; Matthias Schmidt (ed.);p Vienna, Berlin; Turia & Kant;  P.223-230.
  • 2015; ‘„Schwärzester Tag meines Lebens.“: Heterobeziehungen und Jungsfreundschaften bei Wolfgang Herrndorf’; Michael Gratzke; Wolfgang Herrndorf; Anina Klappert ed.; Verlag der Geisteswissenschaften; P.131-146.
  • 2014; Heldentum ohne Gesinnung : Ernst Jüngers romantische Schlacht mit der Moderne; Heroisches Elend. Der Erste Weltkrieg im intellektuellen, literarischen und bildlichen Bewusstsein der europäischen Kulturen; ed.  Gislinde Seybert ; Thomas Stauder; Peter Lang, p. 763-779.
  • 2012; ‘Heldenmädchen und gespaltene Männer: Selbstaufgabe und Selbstermächtigung bei Kleist vom Ampitryon bis zum Käthchen von Heilbronn und darüber hinaus’; Germanistische Mitteilungen; vol. 38.1, p. 47-66.
  • 2012; ‘Werther's Love. Representations of Suicide, Heroism, Masochism, and Voluntary Self-Divestiture’; Publications of the English Goethe Society; vol. 81.1, p. 28-36.
  • 2011; ‘Ihr habt verbreitet/ die Lehre der Klassiker. Bert Brecht und Heiner Müller lesen Kleists Prinz Friedrich von Homburg’; Michael Gratzke; Performance and performativity in the life and work of Heinrich von Kleist; German Life and Letters; ed. Seán Allan and Elystan Griffiths, vol. 64.3; p. 455-471;
  • 2011; ‘Mullemänner: Dealing with Austria’s Past and  Weak Masculinity in Doron Rabinovici's Suche nach M and Arno Geiger's Es geht uns gut’; Michael Gratzke; Austrian Studies; ed. Allyson Fiddler and Florian Krobb; vol. 19; p. 99-113;


Michael Gratzke is the founder and co-ordinator of the international, multidisciplinary Love Research Network:

We are an international network of researchers from a variety of disciplines including literary and film studies, philosophy, anthropology, management, sociology, political science, and geography. Some of us are based in the UK, many others in other European countries, Israel, India and North America. In our collaborative and comparative research we look at experiences and representations of love. There is no limit to the scope of our work regarding the types of love studied such as parental love, romantic love, love-thy-neighbour, patriotism etc.

We currently focus sharply on the present. This focus does not imply that somehow at midnight of the first of January 2000 a paradigm shift had occurred. Love is durable and it is flexible. It is shaped and reshaped by physiological and psychological constants, by the extremely longue durée of evolutionary processes, by centuries of love doctrines, and by profound changes in society that have occurred in the last century and decades. While we tend to believe in eternal values of love and even eternal love, our experiences often feel new, unprecedented and challenging.



Michael Gratzke has been teaching German language, German literature, comparative literature, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies and some history at all levels from Further Education to postgraduate programmes.

He is currently supervising three PhD students who have been working on representations of masculinity in recent Austrian literature, notions of belonging (Heimat) in German and English-language poetry, and goth youth culture in the GDR.

Jutta Kling, who worked on notions of irony and queerness in 19c English and German literature, and Marissa Munderloh who worked on identity discourses in German Hip Hop communities, have been awarded their doctorates at St Andrews/Tübingen and St Andrews respectively.


Michael Gratzke is the Head of School in the School of Languages, Linguistics & Cultures.

The University of Hull describes the top four duties of a Head as follows:

  • Heads provide general and academic leadership and vision in their School/Department, enabling it to contribute fully to the delivery of the University’s Strategic Plan. Heads lead in a visionary manner that inspires their staff and students, promotes and encourages scholarship and academic excellence, and enhances the stature and academic reputation of the School/Department, Faculty and University.
  • Heads provide academic leadership in relation to learning and teaching, research and enterprise, and engagement; including scholarship and the development of professional practice.
  • Heads manage and administer the School/Department within the University and Faculty delegation framework, ensuring that the governance, management and organisational structures and processes are effective, efficient and transparent. Heads ensure that the process of decision making is clear and that the operational processes conform to the University’s Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, policies, procedures and institutional rules. Heads must ensure that they are conversant with those regulations that are relevant to the School/Department.
  • Heads contribute to the Faculty’s functions pertaining to planning, student administration, human resources, finances and procurement, marketing and communication, risk management and intellectual property. The optimum allocation of resources.”
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