Dr Roman Kuhn

Dr Roman Kuhn is a British Academy Newton International Fellow. He holds a PhD in comparative literature from Freie Universität Berlin. His thesis, published by De Gruyter, examines the interplay of paratextuality and fictionality in French, German and English literature, focussing on the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, from intricate editorial fictions and claims that ‘this is a true story’ to disclaimers insisting that ‘any resemblance to real persons or event is purely coincidental’. He has worked on Voltaire’s poetry and, in a broader context, the complex interrelations between classicism and Enlightenment. At the Voltaire Foundation he is pursuing a research-project on eighteenth-century ‘poésie fugitive’, occasional poetry that ‘escaped’ from the author’s (or recipient’s) portfolio and was circulated to a broader audience in print or manuscript. This enormous and multiform corpus of poetry and its dissemination remains largely unstudied, and the project aims to carry out new (‘close’ as well as ‘distant’) readings of these texts. This will inform a reflection on the role they played in eighteenth-century sociability, in the self-fashioning of authors and the fashioning of communities by means of ‘fugitive’ poetry, and, last not least, in spreading Enlightenment ideas by ‘leaking’ poems to the public, and by making private poetry a matter of the public – whether by accident or by design, since claims that a poem inadvertently escaped the author’s grip are often no more to be trusted than a contemporary novel’s claim to be telling a true story.


Selected Publications


Wahre Geschichten, frei erfunden: Verhandlungen und Markierungen von Fiktion im Peritext. De Gruyter 2018. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110578942.

Edited Volumes

(ed. with Daniel Melde) La guerre et la paix dans la poésie épique en France (1500–1800). Stuttgart: Steiner 2020. https://doi.org/10.25162/9783515127554.

Articles and Book chapters

‘Voltaire et la construction d’un canon creux du classicisme’. Revue Voltaire 21 (forthcoming).

‘Epische Fußnoten. Gelehrsamkeit und Gelehrsamkeitssatire in Voltaires Anmerkungen zur Henriade und zur Pucelle’. In Gelehrsamkeiten im 18. Jahrhundert. Praktiken – Diskurse – Infrastrukturen, edited by Thomas Assinger and Daniel Ehrmann, Heidelberg: Winter (forthcoming).

La poésie, chose très nécessaire. Voltaire Und die Debatte über das rechte Maß (in) der Dichtung’. In Aufklärung und Exzess. Epistemologie und Ästhetik des Übermäßigen im 18. Jahrhundert, edited by Bernadette Grubner and Peter Wittemann, Berlin: De Gruyter 2022, 245–66.

‘Zwei Epochen “machen”, gleichzeitig? Überlegungen zur entangled history von Aufklärung und Klassizismus in Frankreich’. In Epoche Machen – Vermessung literarischen Wandels im langen Mittelalter, edited by Andreas Haarmann and Isabelle Muthmann. Berlin et al.: Lang 2021, 161–82.

‘ “Dégénération” du Héros? L’héroïsme dans La Henriade de Voltaire’. In La Guerre et la paix dans la poésie épique en France (1500–1800), edited by Roman Kuhn and Daniel Melde. Stuttgart: Steiner 2020, 203–218.

‘Recycling Ödipus. Voltaires Œdipe im Kontext von klassizistischer Tragödienästhetik und Querelle des Anciens et Des Modernes’. Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Literatur 128.1 (2018): 30–60.

‘ “A Just (Hi-)Story of Fact”. Peritextuelle Fiktionsmarkierungen im Zeitalter des “Rise of the Novel” ’. In Geschichte der Fiktionalität. Diachrone Perspektiven auf ein kulturelles Konzept, edited by Johannes Franzen, Patrick Galke-Janzen, Frauke Janzen, and Marc Wurich. Baden-Baden: Ergon 2018, 133–150.

‘ “A question of more space, room to expand”. Raum- und Glücksspiele bei Raymond Federman’. In Spielräume und Raumspiele in der Literatur, edited by Julia Dettke and Elisabeth Heyne. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann 2016, 337–352.

‘Zweite Person Singular Präsens. Überlegungen zu Ein Mann Der Schläft von Georges Perec’. In Der Präsensroman, edited by Armen Avanessian and Anke Hennig. Berlin: De Gruyter 2013, 210–223.

(for more information see his ORCiD profile)

Voltaire Foundation

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