Elisabet Dellming prophile photo

Senior Lecturer

Room: E808

elisabet.dellming@english.su.se

I received my PhD in English literature from Stockholm University in 2015 and I am a teacher and researcher at the Department of English. I am also director of studies with a special responsibility for teacher education.

My doctoral thesis explored the phenomenon of awe in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. The study suggests that as experience awe constitutes a shattering jolt that brings about a fundamental and revelatory re-conception of life: a full awareness of the invisible life, filled, “in a flash”, to the brim while at the same time taking into consideration experiential and existential as well as epistemological concerns. In the thesis, I argue that a phenomenological approach (e.g. Edmund Husserl’s epochetic method and Michel Henry’s concept of the invisible) helps illuminate Hopkins’s poetics; a poetics which solicits a special focus precisely on awe in its various aspects. Hopkins’s poetry has a unique ability to constitute a crossing where in-depth feelings and forces of the wondrous in the striking aspects of awe can be vocalised. The focus on the phenomenon of awe appearing poetically therefore allows for a consideration of this life-transforming jolt as an irresistible force reverberating throughout Hopkins’s work. Furthermore, such a focus allows me to explore the experience of invisible life that lies at the heart of the possibility of conversion as a fundamental change of world-view.

The thesis was reviewed simultaneously in The Hopkins Quarterly and in the online version of the Newman Institute publication Signum under the title “Awe in Hopkins’ Poetry” by Joseph J. Feeney, S.J., Professor Emeritus of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Co-Editor of The Hopkins Quarterly.

My current research builds on this idea of literature as revelatory insofar as it looks at how literature by way of imagination constitutes an alternative epistemology, a different way of seeing the world, and to, in Richard Kearney’s words, “imagine otherwise”. Narratives, I suggest, are explorations of the possible, and in that they have the ability to effectively challenge our epistemological assumptions about meaning, life, and history. I am specifically interested in the ethical implications of such literary alternative epistemologies.

Other and related research interests include various aspects of phenomenology in literature and issues relating to education in literature and literature in education.

As a teacher I try to prompt and encourage students’ own sense of discovery and to help them see how literature studies can bring something to the understanding of literary texts that is not obvious at a casual reading.

I would be able to supervise essay writers interested in phenomenology and literature ranging from the Victorian period to the present and would be willing to supervise essays on poetry as well as fiction. Being interested in metaphysical as well epistemological issues related to literature, I would be particularly interested in supervising essays addressing such concerns.
 

Publications

"Knowing what matters: The Epistemological and Ethical Challenge of Marilynne Robinson's Lila" in Fictional Worlds and the Moral Imagination. Ed. Garry L. Hagberg. PalgraveMacmillan. 2020.

"Desmond Egan: Hopeful Hopkins" in The Hopkins Quarterly XLV: 1-2, winter-spring 2018 (review article).

"Imagination, Irreality, and the Constitution of Knowledge in Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower" in Anthropoetics XXIII Fall 2017.