Mark Ittensohn

Biographical Note

Mark Ittensohn studied English Literature and Linguistics, Comparative Literature and General History at the University of Zurich, receiving his MA in 2011. He has been the recipient of a full two year research fellowship from the University of Zurich from 2012-2014 (Forschungskredit). Mark has been a sponsored participant at the 2012 Summer School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University, and he has been a member of the organizing committee for the NASSR 2012 conference in Neuchâtel. Besides conducting PhD-related research, Mark also teaches at the English Department of the University of Zurich. Mark’s fields of interest include British and American Romanticism, specifically the intersection between writing and orality, as well as early nineteenth-century print culture and book history. His PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Angela Esterhammer (University of Toronto) and Prof. Dr. Allen Reddick (Zurich) reads the genre of the frame tale in Anglo-American Romanticism as an allegory on the early nineteenth-century literary field.

PhD Project: The Frame Tale in Anglo-American Romanticism

The aim of my dissertation is to undertake an analysis of the still under-researched genre of the frame tale (‘Rahmenerzählung’) in early nineteenth-century Anglo-American fiction. The frame tale can be defined as a particular genre of narrative fiction consisting of a frame story (such as a story telling session), which binds together multiple sub-narratives within a fictional setting of reciprocal oral exchange. The most famous examples of frame tales in Western literary history are without a doubt The Arabian Nights, Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and the texts of the late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century German genre revival: Johann Wolfang von Goethe’s Unterhaltungen Deutscher Ausgewanderten, Ludwig Tieck’s Phantasus and E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Die Serapionsbrüder. Though often neglected, the early nineteenth-century Anglo-American world, too, saw its share of adaptations of the frame tale. In tracing this genre through the works of John Galt, James Hogg and Washington Irving, my dissertation aims to suggest that these authors’ frame tales emphasize the genre’s mise-en-abyme of narrative exchange in order to comment, metaphorically as well as allegorically, on the conditions of their own genesis within a marketplace for fictional productions. My project will suggest that Romantic appropriations of the frame tale helped writers negotiate their own embeddedness within a fast-changing print culture by presenting an artistically viable way of fictionalizing the early-nineteenth-century literary field.

Research Interests

Romanticism, short fiction, 19th century print culture, book history, sociology of literature, literature and economics



"'Christening amphibious productions': The Emergence of the Modern Short Story Cycle in Late Romantic Britain", in: Constructing Coherence in the Contemporary British Short Story Cycle. Eds. Florian Kläger and Patrick Gill. Routledge. (forthcoming in 2018).

"Selbstreflexivität in Achim von Arnims Erzählwerk: Überlegungen zur medialen Buchkultur im frühen neunzehnten Jahrhundert", in: ​Achim von Arnim: Novellen, Isabella von Ägypten. Kaiser Karl des Fünften Erste Jugendliebe. Briefe. Ed. Alexander Markin. Moskau: Ladomir. Translated into Russian by Alexander Markin. (forthcoming in 2017)

"Fictionalizing the Romantic Marketplace: Self-Reflexivity in the Early-Nineteenth-Century Frame Tale." Victoriographies 7:1 (2017).

"A Story Telling and a Story Reading Age": Textuality and Sociability in the Romantic Frame Tale." Studies in Romanticism 55:3 (2016). 393-416.

"Romanticism and the Beyond of Language: Frye and the Wordsworthian Imitation of the Point of Epiphany", in: Educationg the Imagination: Northrop Frye, Past, Present, and Future. Eds. Alan Bewell, Neil ten Kortenaar and Germaine Warkentin. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2015. 147-163.



With Roxane Barras and Simone Höhn (eds.). Variations 24: Ursprünge/Origines/Origins. Bern: Peter Lang, 2016.