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Mary Cosgrove

Mary Cosgrove



+44 (0) 131 650 3639

Room 3.04, 50 George Square

Outline Biography

MA, PhD (Dublin)

Dublin born and bred, Dr Mary Cosgrove's alma mater is University College Dublin where she completed all of her degrees: B.A. Int. German & French (1993); M.A. German (1995); PhD German (2002). German was always her favourite subject, partly because she had a brilliant teacher at school and partly because the German Department at UCD was outstanding. The lecturers there took a real interest in the subject but also in the individual students. Dr Cosgrove tries to do the same today, as do all of her colleagues in German here at the University of Edinburgh.

After her M.A. Dr Cosgrove spent a year travelling the southern hemisphere and for a further year combined research with a role as an academic consultant to the Dublin advertising industry. This involved working closely with various European offices of the Unilever giant. It was a very interesting experience, but in the end she decided to focus fully on an academic career. Although she has been teaching at university level since 1991, her academic career proper started in 2002 when she was appointed Lecturer in the German Department UCD, a position she held until 2004 when she was awarded a two-year Irish Government (IRCHSS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship. But it was not to be. The very week she commenced my post-doc the Lectureship in German at Edinburgh was advertised - and you could say that the rest is history. 

Dr Cosgrove is delighted to have spent several years living in the German-speaking lands, absorbing the language and culture and making friends.

Research Interests

Dr Cosgrove's teaching and research interests include 20th century German-Jewish literature, post-1945 and contemporary German literature, recent German memory debates, Holocaust historiography, psychoanalysis, trauma theory, and European melancholy traditions - the subject of her second monograph. This range of interests has attracted funding from the NUI, DAAD, ÖAD, IRCHSS, Royal Irish Academy, AHRC, British Academy, and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. Currently she is interested in boredom and laziness, two subversive topics that emerged as a significant strand of her research on melancholy.

Research activity

Research Projects Dr Cosgrove has published on several contemporary German writers, including W.G. Sebald, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Peter Weiss, Günter Grass, Jenny Erpenbeck, Julia Schoch,  and others. Her first book (Niemeyer 2004) explores memory in the prose work of the Austro-Jewish Holocaust survivor, Albert Drach. In 2007 one of her co-edited publications German Memory Contests (Camden House 2006) won a Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award and since 2010 it has been available in paperback. Her most recent monograph (forthcoming April 1st 2014) investigates the function of diverse melancholy traditions in post-1945 German literature. Her next project explores the connections between literature, culture and pathology with a particular focus on sloth, boredom, laziness and idleness. Dr Cosgrove is currently Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, where she participates in the research project 'History of Emotions', led by Professor Ute Frevert. Knowledge Exchange / Impact Research Activities In October 2011 Dr Cosgrove hosted an interdisciplinary KE event at the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival (SMHAFF). The theme was "Memory Dreams Sleep" in literature and film. Across a series of thematically focussed panels on topics such as nightmares, insomnia and coma, writers from Germany (Kathrin Schmidt), Switzerland (Angelika Overath) Scotland and Ireland read from and discussed their works with medical practitioners. This event arose from her interest in mental states generally, and more specifically from her research on literary melancholy and one of its key features, insomnia, which in turn connects closely to boredom and torpor. In October 2012 she hosted a second event at SMHAFF, "The Creativity of Melancholy" which brought together medical pratitioners, artists, writers and academics to debate the creative side of depression and melancholy. PhD Supervision Dr Cosgrove is interested to discuss postgraduate supervision on any of the above topics. Recent PhD supervisions include Romani writing on the Holocaust (completed 2009) and Austro-Jewish writing (completed 2010). Current supervisions include women writers and the memory of the GDR, and Holocaust poetry produced in the concentration camps. Research Management From 2011 to 2013 Dr Cosgrove was REF 2014 Unit of Assessment Coordinator for the Division of Modern European Languages and Cultures and Celtic & Scottish Studies.


Publications list for Mary Cosgrove


Projects supervised by Mary Cosgrove


Undergradute Teaching First Year: German Literature from the 18th century to the present Second Year: Kafka and Freud Fourth Year: 20th Century German-Jewish Literature Language modules / practicals from ab initio to Fourth Year Postgraduate Teaching, LLC Graduate School MSc Comparative and General Literature Core Course (Introduction to Psychoanalysis) MSc Option Course: The Representation of the Holocaust in Literature and Culture (Course Organiser with Peter Davies) MSc Option Course: Fantastic Fiction

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