2020 applicants

Dr Joanna Rzepa

Department of Literature Film and Theatre Studies (LiFTS)
Dr Joanna Rzepa
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872615

  • Location

    5NW.4.9, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    by appointment



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. Her articles have appeared in 'Modernism/modernity', 'Comparative Critical Studies', 'Translation Studies'. 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. In 2020, she won the Martha Cheung Award for Best English Article in Translation Studies by an Early Career Scholar funded by the Baker Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies. Joanna would welcome PhD applications in the following areas: • modernism • comparative literature • twentieth-century print culture • Holocaust writing • literature and religion • literary translation


University of Essex

  • Lecturer in Literature, Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex (1/1/2019 - present)

Other academic

  • Thomas Brown Assistant Professor, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin (2017 - 2018)

  • Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, Trinity Long Room Hub: Arts and Humanities Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin (2016 - 2017)

  • Early Career Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick (2015 - 2016)

Research and professional activities

Research interests


Key words: modernist literature and culture
Open to supervise

comparative literature

Key words: world literature
Open to supervise

literature and history

Key words: cultural and intellectual history
Open to supervise

Holocaust writing

Key words: Holocaust testimony, literature and trauma
Open to supervise

literature and religion

Key words: literature and theology
Open to supervise

literary translation

Key words: translation studies
Open to supervise

twentieth-century poetry

Key words: poetry and poetics
Open to supervise

WW1 and WW2 in literature

Key words: war and conflict in literature
Open to supervise

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Approaches to War, Culture and Society (HR962)

  • Criticism: Practice and Theory (LT204)

  • Postmodernism (LT249)

  • The Limits of Representation: The Holocaust in Literature and Film (LT390)

  • Independent Literature Project (LT831)

  • The Modern City: From Modernism to Postmodernism (LT922)

  • Law and Literature (LT394)


Journal articles (7)

Rzepa, J., (2019). The “demonic forces” at Auschwitz: T. S. Eliot reads Jerzy Andrzejewski’s "Roll Call". Modernism/modernity. 26 (2), 329-350

Rzepa, J., (2019). Publishing ‘paper bullets’: Politics, propaganda, and Polish-English translation in wartime London. Comparative Critical Studies. 16 (2-3), 217-235

Rzepa, J., (2018). Translation, conflict and the politics of memory: Jan Karski's Story of a Secret State. Translation Studies. 11 (3), 315-332

Rzepa, J., (2018). Reinventing Saint Francis: Józef Wittlin, Anti-Semitism and the Idea of Modern Sainthood. Konteksty Kultury. 15 (Special Issue), 41-60

Rzepa, J., (2016). Translation and Modernism: Mapping the Relationship. Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal. 3 (2), 241-241

Rzepa, J., (2015). Review of "Modernism and Christianity" by Erik Tonning. Literature and Theology. 29 (3), 369-371

Rzepa, J., (2013). Review of: Peter Clarke and Charlotte Methuen (Eds.), "The Church and Literature" [Studies in Church History 48]. Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge 2012, xxvi + 503 pp. ISBN 978-09-54-68099-2. £45.. Church History and Religious Culture. 93 (3), 411-413

Book chapters (2)

Rzepa, J., (2017). Translation as Resistance: Three Centuries of "Paradise Lost" in Polish. In: Milton in Translation: Theory and Practice. Editors: Duran, A., Issa, I. and Olson, J., . Oxford University Press. 349- 363. 9780198754824

Rzepa, J., (2016). Tradition and Individual Experience: T. S. Eliot’s Encounter with Modernist Theology. In: Religion, Philosophy, and Myth in T. S. Eliot’s Poetry. Editors: Freer, S. and Bell, M., . Cambridge Scholars. 99- 119. 1-4438-9456-7. 978-1-4438-9456-2


+44 (0) 1206 872615


5NW.4.9, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

by appointment