Ian Ellison is a DAAD Visiting Scholar at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt for the academic year 2017 – 2018. He is a PhD student at the School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies at the University of Leeds and holds an MPhil in European Literature as well as a BA in Modern European Languages. A former secondary school teacher of modern foreign languages, Ian has also taught modules on German literature and film, as well as comparative literature, at the University of Leeds. Ian served as a member of the organisational committee for the National Postgraduate Colloquium for German Studies from 2015 until 2017 and is currently a member of the organisational committee for the 2018 conference of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland (AHGBI). His research interests include memory studies, genre theory, European Literature (particularly French, German, and Spanish literature), World Literature, and how the discourse of literary lateness intersects with these concepts. He has presented his research at academic institutions in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, and the UK.
Ian’s PhD project is entitled ‘Melancholy Cosmopolitanism: Genre and Memory in European Literature’. This project explores how European novels published at the turn of the twenty-first century in different national contexts engage with transnational catastrophes and difficult pasts through an aesthetic attitude of melancholy cosmopolitanism. Ian’s thesis examines critically-acclaimed, canonical texts of French, German, and Spanish memory fiction, demonstrating how they respond to a discourse of lateness in European literature, which inflects their narrator’s melancholy and self-conscious engagement with the past. He argues that these novels’ narrative strategies position these texts within a literary tradition of European high culture, which imbues the novels with a particular privilege and bias. Ian’s thesis suggests that these iterations of melancholy cosmopolitanism in different national contexts may be more broadly understood as a historically and geographically contingent literary genre, which leads to the canonization of certain texts within European memory fiction at the turn of the twenty-first century.