PhD student in Comparative Literature

Department of European Languages and Cultures

University of Edinburgh


Paul Leworthy is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature and tutor in French and German at The University of Edinburgh. In 2020/21, he will be a DAAD Visiting Scholar at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt and International Fellow of the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform. In 2018/19, he was a Visiting Student (‘pensionnaire étranger’) at the École Normale Supérieure Paris.

Supervised by Prof Peter Davies and Dr Claire Boyle, Paul’s PhD thesis (‘Containers and Surfaces: Dimensions of Memory in Novels by Grass, Perec, Modiano and Walser’) triangulates memory, metaphor and materiality, examining how spatial forms contribute to the representation of memory in literary texts. The study charts the extent to which language and thought rely on spatial forms to describe the processes of memory, revealing the particular pervasiveness of two spatial imaginaries of memory. An original reading strategy is developed that identifies how certain ‘chronotopes of memory’, namely the container and the surface, are established in literary texts through references to the physical dimensions of objects and spaces, articulating distinct ideas about the relationship between the present and the past. This reading strategy is deployed and developed in analyses of works of French and German postwar fiction, enabling a reconsideration of each text’s position within the memory cultures out of which they emerged and to which they contributed, while also revealing how the meanings mobilised by the container and surface chronotopes of memory mutate in different contexts.

Paul is co-founder and co-organiser of the Connecting Memories collaborative interdisciplinary research initiative. Connecting Memories events have so far included more than ten keynote lectures, several symposia (with keynote speakers including Prof Andrew Hoskins and Prof Astrid Erll) and a weekly film screening series. In April 2020, Paul launched The Connecting Memories Podcast. Featuring leading international voices on memory, the podcast has attracted thousands of listeners across some 65+ countries. For more information about the Connecting Memories initiative and the Connecting Memories Podcast, please visit and


t:  @PaulLeworthy