Bjarne Thorup Thomsen

Honorary Fellow


  • Cand. Phil. in Scandinavian Literature (University of Copenhagen)
  • PhD (University of Edinburgh)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

PhD in Scandinavian Studies:

• Rachel Rankin, 'Breaking the Social Agreement: Translating Norwegian Hybrid Poetry' (co-supervisor).

Past PhD students supervised

PhD in Scandinavian Studies:

• Anja Tröger, ‘Affective Spaces: Trajectories of Migration in Scandinavian and German Transnational Narratives 2011-2017’ (completed 2020) (co-supervisor).

• Barbara Tesio-Ryan, ‘Reassessing Karen Blixen’s Gengældelsens Veje/The Angelic Avengers: A Novel Challenging Gender, Totalitarianism and Colonial Practises’ (completed 2019) (co-supervisor).

• Ian Giles, ‘Tracing the Transmission of Scandinavian Literature to the UK, 1917-2017’ (completed 2018) (co-supervisor).

• Ruairidh Tarvet, ‘Re-Imagining Sleswig: Language and Identity in a Borderland; the Regional, National and Transnational Dimensions of Understading Minority Identity’ (completed 2018) (co-supervisor).

• Dominic Hinde, ‘Our Common, Contested Future: The Rhetorics of Modern Environment in Sweden’ (completed 2015) (co-supervisor).

• Charlotte Berry, ‘Publishing, Translation, Archives. Nordic Children’s Literature in the United Kingdom, 1950-2000’ (completed 2013) (principal supervisor).

• Steinvör Pálsson, ‘Linguistic Strategies in the Representation of Sexual Violence: Norwegian Narrative Perspectives’ (completed 2006) (principal supervisor).

• C. Claire Thomson, ‘Danmarkshistorier: National Imagination and Novel in Late Twentieth-Century Denmark’ (completed 2003) (principal supervisor).

• Dana Caspi, ‘Images of a Promised Land in Norwegian and Swedish Emigrant Novels’ (completed 2000) (principal supervisor).

• Fiona Twycross, ‘Approaching Ragnarok: Use of Norse Mythology in Late Twentieth Century Scandinavian Literature’ (completed 1997) (principal supervisor).

PhD in Comparative Literature:

• Laura Chapot, ‘Décadence, Dekadenz, Dekadens: An Interdiscursive Exploration of Decandence in German and Scandinavian Literature, Society and Culture at the Fin de Siècle’ (completed 2019) (assistant supervisor).

• Ida Hummel Vøllo, ‘The Functions of Autoreception: Karl Ove Knausgård as Author-Critic and Rewriter’ (completed 2019) (assistant supervisor).


Research summary

Bjarne Thorup Thomsen’s main research interests concern ideological, aesthetic and affective dimensions of place and space in modern Scandinavian literature, travel writing and reportage. His work explores topics such as the mapping and problematisation of nation space and its communities, the interrogation of notions of centre and periphery in narrative, the role of transnational thought in textual topography, and, more recently, the relationship between geopolitics and literature.

Bjarne Thorup Thomsen’s work displays, moreover, interests in the relationship between national representation and international spread of culture, in questions of textual and cultural hybridity, and in culture’s capacity to translate itself to new genres, new media and new audiences. He has a side interest in Scandinavian silent cinema and its dialogic relationship with prestige literature.

Furthermore, Bjarne Thorup Thomsen has published on Danish sixteenth-century literary history, on literary historiography, and on Danish working-class autobiographies.

New publications:

Current research interests

Bjarne Thorup Thomsen’s current research centres on the role of geopolitics in modern Scandinavian literature and on new spatial approaches to modernist writing, including ‘modernism of the margins’. – He has recently published a study of ideological and affective dimensions of the representation of the contested Danish-German borderland in novels by Hans Christian Andersen and Herman Bang, spanning the period from 1848 to 1906. The study is entitled ‘Outreach, Invasion, Displacement’ and was published as a book chapter in Nineteenth-Century Nationalisms and Emotions in the Baltic Sea Region: The Production of Loss, ed. Anna Bohlin, Tiina Kinnunen and Heidi Grönstrand (Brill, 2021). – Bjarne Thorup Thomsen’s main current research project is focused on the relationsship between geopolitics and geomodernist modes of writing in Nobel Prize-winning ‘proletarian’ author Eyvind Johnson’s work. In terms of primary material, the project establishes connections between Johnson’s prose fiction, journalistic reportage and memory writing. – In a forthcoming article, ‘Shining a Light on Eyvind Johnson’s Sidelined Novel, Nittonhundrasjutton: Wartime and Modernism on the Margins’ (European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, 2022), Bjarne Thorup Thomsen offers a re-assessment of a little-known Johnson novel, which was published purely in periodical form. The article approaches the novel through the theoretical lens of the widening and softening tendencies that characterise current understandings of the field of modernist literature. The appreciation of Johnson’s novel is informed, furthermore, by new insights into the role of interwar modernism in registering and responding to the afterlife of war as well as the spectre of a future war. – This article follows a number of related articles, in which Bjarne Thorup Thomsen explores ideological, aesthetic and affective dimensions of place and space in Eyvind Johnson’s early modernist prose fiction of the 1920s, in his foreign and domestic travel reportage from the interwar period, and in his autobiographical sketches. These articles comprise: ‘Eyvind Johnson’s Hybrid North. Dynamics of Place and Time in Travelogues and Memory Sketches 1943-1963’ (Journal of Northern Studies, 2014), ‘Geomodernism and Affect in Eyvind Johnson’s Urban North’ (Edda. Scandinavian Journal of Literary Research, 2015), ‘Marginal and Metropolitan Modernist Modes in Eyvind Johnson’s Early Urban Narratives’ (Scandinavica, 2015), and ‘New Nordic Environments in Eyvind Johnson’s Factual and Fictional Prose, 1928-1932’ (European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, 2018). – Bjarne Thorup Thomsen is in the process of developing these and further studies into a monograph focused on geopolitics and geomodernism in the author’s work in the period from 1921 to ca. 1951.

Past research interests

Bjarne Thorup Thomsen’s previous research activity had its main focus on the negotiation of region, nation and transnationalism in Scandinavian nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and travel writing. – In 2007, he published a monograph, Lagerlöfs litterære landvinding (Amsterdam Contributions to Scandinavian Studies), which explores these topics in the work of Swedish novelist and Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf. In 2014, he co-edited and contributed to a volume of international scholarship offering a range of new perspectives on Lagerlöf’s work, on its transmissions into other media and a range of European cultures, and on the author’s influential public persona and ideological involvements. The book is entitled Re-Mapping Lagerlöf: Performance, Intermediality and European Transmissions (Nordic Academic Press). Additionally, Bjarne Thorup Thomsen has researched aspects of Lagerlöf’s more marginal production and its relationship to the culture of periodicals. – In a related research context, Bjarne Thorup Thomsen has investigated Hans Christian Andersen’s novelistic experimentation and his innovations in travel writing. This research has been published in a number of articles and papers and in a co-edited book of New Approaches (Norvik Press, 2007) to Andersen’s work. – Bjarne Thorup Thomsen’s research on Lagerlöf and Andersen may be seen as contributions to the re-assessment of two Scandinavian cultural figures of world-literature status, highlighting (proto-)modernist aspects of their work as well as reductive patterns in their reception history. – The scrutiny of notions of centre and periphery, which played a part in the above work, formed the main focus of a comparative anthology of studies in Scandinavian and Scottish literature, Centring on the Peripheries (Norvik Press), which Bjarne Thorup Thomsen published in 2007.

Project activity

Bjarne Thorup Thomsen’s main current research project is focused on the relationsship between geopolitics and geomodernist modes of writing in Nobel Prize-winning ‘proletarian’ author Eyvind Johnson’s work. (See the Research field for further information).

New publications:


View all 57 publications on Research Explorer