Barbara Tesio-Ryan

Teaching Fellow in Comparative Literature

  • Scandinavian Studies
  • Department of European Languages and Cultures
  • School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Contact details



School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

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Dr Barbara Tesio-Ryan is a Teaching Fellow in Comparative Literature at the University of Edinburgh, where she also completed her PhD in Scandinavian Studies and an MSc in Comparative Literature. Before moving to Edinburgh she studied Literature and Performing Arts at the Sapienza University of Rome.


PhD Scandinavian Studies

MSc Comparative Literature 

Undergraduate teaching

  • Scandinavian literature 2 (2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)

Postgraduate teaching

  •  Theories and Methods of Literary Studies I (2021/2022)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

Barbara’s PhD thesis ‘Reassessing Karen Blixen’s Gengældelsens Veje/The Angelic Avengers: a Novel Challenging Gender, Totalitarianism and Colonial Practices’ offers a multidimensional and comprehensive reassessment of the Danish author Karen Blixen’s less known works. Blixen’s novel Gengældelsens Veje/The Angelic Avengers is used as a starting point to explore the historical context of publication of the text (Denmark under Nazi occupation), its transmission and reception into the cultural context of post-war United Kingdom and United States, as well as Blixen’s use of gothic genre as a way to subvert the concept of gender, totalitarianism and colonial practices.  

Barbara’s current research interests include Scandinavian Studies, Comparative Literature, Postcolonial studies, Storytelling, Gothic Studies, Library and Information Science.

Papers delivered

  • Nordic Research Network 2013, University College London: Language and Identity in Karen Blixen.

  • LLC Work in Progress Seminars, University of Edinburgh, 2013: The encouraging power of writing. A reading of Karen Blixen’s novel “The Angelic Avengers” in the light of Walter Benjamin’s storytelling theory.

  • Association for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies in Canada (AASSC) Annual Conference 2015, University of Ottawa, Canada, June 2015: Isak Dinesen’s different voice: Pierre Andrézel and the problematization of the condition of women in The Angelic Avengers.

  • The International Association of Scandinavian Studies (IASS) Conference, University of Groningen, Netherlands, August 2016: Et dansk roman af internationalt snit?; Exploring the creation and reception of Karen Blixen’s The Angelic Avengers in Denmark, Great Britain and America.

  • Nordic Research Network 2016, University College London, November 2016: “Et kriminal roman i krinoline” or “An enchanting modern-Gothic tale”? – The reception of Gengældelsens Veje / The Angelic Avengers in Denmark, US and UK.

  • Nordic Research Showcase: Scandinavian Studies at the Universities of Edinburgh, Lund and Copenhagen, University of Edinburgh, April 2017

  • UK-Nordic Mobility: Tracing Flows and Building Networks University College London: “Nordic-Scottish Cultural Mobility: Research Themes and Impact” with Dr Guy Puzey (The University of Edinburgh) and Dr Anja Tröger (The University of Edinburgh), March 2021.

  •  Beyond Borealism: New Perspectives On The North. Eds. Ian Giles, Laura Chapot, Chris Cooijmans, Ryan Foster, Barbara Tesio. London: Norvik Press, 2016. Print.
  • Tesio, Barbara. “The art of entertaining a nation under Nazi occupation: Pierre Andrézel and Gengældelsens Veje” in Illuminating the North: Proceedings from the Nordic Research Network Conference 2013 eds. Agnes Broomè, Pei-Sze Chow, Nichola Smalley, Louisa Taylor, Essi Viitanen. Norvik Press, London 2014. Print.