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Academic Staff

Professor Karin Littau

Staff position Professor
Telephone01206 872629
Academic support hoursWednesday 1-2

Karin Littau has an MA in English Literature and a PhD in Comparative Literary Theory from the University of Warwick. Before joining the Department in 1998, she was Senior Lecturer in the School of English at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She is a founding member of the Centre for Film and Screen Media, established at Essex in 2001, and was its Director from 2003-2008. She is also a member of the Centre for Bibliographical History, based in the Department of History.

Karin teaches nineteenth and twentieth-century literature and film. Her research specialisms include book and film history, reception, adaptation, and translation studies. She has published on the relations between print and screen media, and is especially interested in the effects of media technologies on the senses, perception, and cognition; and the effects of print, cinematograph, and computer on practices of reading, writing, and translation. She has contributed to anthologies such as New Takes in Film-Philosophy (2010) and Crash Cultures: modernity, mediation and the material (2002); written on Jane Austen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Angela Carter, and Kathy Acker; and on films by the Lumières, G. W. Pabst, David Cronenberg, and Ridley Scott. Karin’s work is driven by a love of theory, ranging from literary theory, and theories of editing and translation, to film theory and media philosophy.

Her books include Theories of Reading: Books, Bodies, and Bibliomania (2006) which was funded by the British Academy and published in Spanish by Manantial (2008); Cinematicity in Media History (2013 with Jeffrey Geiger); and A Companion to Translation Studies (2007 with Piotr Kuhiwczak). She has also co-guest-edited three special issues of Comparative Critical Studies for the British Comparative Literature Association: Inventions: Literature and Science (2005), Cinematicity (2009), and Migration (2014). Her articles have appeared in encyclopaedias, dictionaries, and scholarly journals, among them: SubStance; MLN; Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media TechnologiesForum for Modern Language StudiesDedalus (Portuguese Comparative Literature Association); PKn: Primerjalna knjiĹževnost (Slovene Comparative Literature Association); Translation Studies; TTR: Traduction Terminologie Rédaction (Canadian Association for Translation Studies); Theatre Research International.

Between 1993 and 1998 Karin was reviewer of ‘Deconstruction’ for The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory. Since 1998 she has been on the Executive Committee of the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA). She is a member of the Advisory Editorial Board of The Translator.


BA Trent; MA, PhD Warwick

Current research

Karin’s next book is a history of literature and film for Routledge. The book is part of her long-term academic project to treat literature as part of a broader media history. It demonstrates how literary writing has been reshaped by moving pictures and gives a revisionary account of literary history from the perspectives of film.

Research interests

• literature and film
• film adaptation, intermediality, cross-media
• comparative literature, rewriting, and translation
• history of the book, silent cinema, and new media
• technology, mediality, materialism
• reception studies and the history of reading
• physiology of reading, embodied spectator, affect

Teaching responsibilities

She has taught a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate modules, including ‘Approaches to Text’, ‘Versions of Modernity’; ‘Introduction to Film’; ‘Narrative and Film’; ‘Adaptation’; ‘The Gutenberg Galaxy’; ‘Literature and Technology’. She also gives lectures to first and second-year students on pre-cinema and early film; modernism and the avant-garde; deconstruction, Anglo-American and French feminism.

PublicationsLink to publications for Karin Littau

 RECENT PAPERS (selected)

  • (2015) ‘Filmic Translation and Transmediation’, Bristol Seminar, Faculty of Arts, University of Bristol. [Guest Speaker]
  • (2014) ‘Mediality in Flux’, Workshop: Media in Motion, in collaboration with Konstanz University, University of Essex. [Guest Speaker]
  • (2013) ‘Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Cinematic Imagination’, Panel on ‘Cinematicity in Media History’, 53rd Annual Conference: Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Chicago. [Conference Paper]
  • (2013) ‘Translating between Media’, Translating and Interpreting Across Media: Exploring the Relevance of (Inter)mediality for Language Pedagogy, Sponsored by The Higher Education Academy / AHRC, University of Manchester. [Invited Plenary]
  • (2013) ‘Myth and Translation’, Translation Seminar, Centre for Co-Curricular Studies, Imperial College, London. [Guest Speaker]
  • (2012) ‘Reading in the Age of Edison’, Departmental Seminar, Fachbereich Literaturwissenschaft, Universität Konstanz. [Guest Speaker]
  • (2012) ‘Subsequent Steps towards a Media History of the Book’, Seminar Series: Landmarks in Book History: the Future of the Discipline, The Open University’s Book History Research Group, and the Institute of English Studies, University of London. [Guest Speaker]
  • (2011) Panel on ‘Embodied Reading’, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing (SHARP) Conference: The Book in Art & Science, Library of Congress, Washington DC. [Conference Paper]
  • (2011) ‘Darwin’s Radio: Media and Cultural Change’, Possible Worlds - A Day Conference in Honour of Dame Gillian Beer, Queen Mary, University of London. [Plenary]
  • (2011) ‘The “Movie-minded” Reader’, Interdisciplinary Workshop: Engaging with Film: Perspectives on Cinematic Literacy, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick. [Invited Plenary]
  • (2011) ‘History of Translation: from Scroll to Hypertext’, City University London Events, in association with UCL and SOAS. [Public Lecture]
  • (2011) ‘Translation and Book History’, Reseach Seminars in Translation Studies, University of Edinburgh/ Herriot Watt University. [Guest Speaker]
  • (2010) ‘An Archaeology of Affect: Reading, History and Gender’, Who Reads? 25th Vilenica International Literary Festival, Lipica, Slovenia. [Jury-selected Guest and Speaker]
  • (2010) ‘Intermedial Translation’, Symposium: Disordering the Disciplines: Translation and Interdisciplinarity, University of East Anglia. [Keynote]
  • (2010) ‘Medea’s Gift’, International Congress: Women and Translation / Mujer y traducción, Universidad de Málaga. [Invited Plenary]
  • (2009) ‘Cross-media Translation’, Translation Studies Seminar, Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester. [Guest Speaker]
  • (2009) ‘Cross-media Histories - Why Book History matters to Film History, and vice versa’, The History and Language of Print Culture Research Seminar, University of Salford. [Guest Speaker]
  • (2008) ‘The Physiology of Momentary Angels: Towards a Reception Aesthetics of Media’, International Conference: Philosophy and Film/ Film and Philosophy, University of the West of England & the Arnofini. [Keynote]
Additional information

Karin has supervised and examined theses in the UK and EU, including a Doctor Europaeus. She would welcome applications for doctoral research in any of the following areas: literature and film; print and visual cultures; technology and new media; adapted, translated and rewritten literatures; and theory (in particular reception aesthetics; audience studies; feminism; post-structuralism; media philosophy).

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