Joanna Rzepa is Lecturer in Literature. Before joining Essex in 2019, she held the post of Thomas Brown Assistant Professor in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin. She also taught at the University of Warwick and University College London.
Joanna completed her PhD in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick. In 2015-2016 she was an early career fellow at the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study, and in 2016-2017 she held an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the Trinity Long Room Hub, Arts & Humanities Research Institute.
Her research and teaching interests include comparative literature and cultural theory, modernism and twentieth-century literature, book history and print culture, literature and religion, cultural and intellectual history, literature and politics, cultural memory, Holocaust writing and testimony, and literary translation.
Joanna is currently completing her first monograph, "Modernist Poetry and Theology: Rainer Maria Rilke, T. S. Eliot and Czesław Miłosz", to be published by Palgrave Macmillan. The book demonstrates that early-twentieth-century religious controversies formed an integral part of the cultural landscape of modernism, featuring in contemporary press, literary periodicals, radio broadcasts, and popular literature. The book is informed by extensive archival research and provides the first comprehensive account of key modernist authors’ literary responses to the so-called ‘modernist crisis’ in Christian theology and its political and ideological implications from a wide transnational perspective.
Her second book project, "Translating Auschwitz: The Holocaust and the Politics of Representation", is situated at the juncture of comparative literature, cultural history, and translation studies. It provides a cultural-historical evaluation of the role of translation in the international circulation and reception of Holocaust writing, taking Polish Holocaust literature and its reception in the UK, US, and Ireland as a case study.
Joanna would welcome PhD applications in the following areas:
• comparative literature
• twentieth-century print culture
• Holocaust writing
• literature and religion
• literary translation