Kata Gellen

Kata Gellen

Associate Professor of German

Office location

116B Old Chemistry

(919) 660-3168


Kata Gellen’s (Ph.D. 2010, Princeton University) main research areas are twentieth-century literature, German-Jewish studies, and film studies. Her work focuses on transformations in perception, narrative form, and linguistic possibility in the literature and film of German-language modernism. Her first book, Kafka and Noise, employs film theoretical ideas about sound to analyze the many unexpected noises, voices, and silences in the writings of Franz Kafka. Her current project, "Once and Future Galicia: Jewish Literary Modernism in Eastern Europe," looks at the role of Galicia, the easternmost region of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, in the literary works of Joseph Roth (1894-1939) and Soma Morgenstern (1890-1976). A place with great personal meaning and mythic potential for these writers, Galicia allowed them to explore a range of urgent questions about Jewishness, modernity, and tradition—in particular, the role of the East in imagining Jewish futures. Gellen has published articles on Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, Elias Canetti, Robert Musil, Rainer Maria Rilke, and others, as well as a series of essays on Weimar Cinema. A further area of interest is postwar Austrian literature and film, in particular the writings of Thomas Bernhard and the films of Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl.

Select Recent Publications

Soma Morgenstern’s Der Sohn des verlorenen Sohnes (1935).” Translators on Books that Should be Translated. Reading in Translation (Jan. 3, 2022).

“Martha’s Melancholia: Racial and Sexual Trauma in Gertrud Kolmar’s Die jüdische Mutter (1931).” The Germanic Review 97.1 (2022): 50-68.

“The Ethics of Imagination in Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.” German Studies Review 43.3 (2020): 455–74.

“Writing Failure: Geoff Dyer, Thomas Bernhard, and the Inability to Begin.” Thomas Bernhard’s Afterlives. Ed. Olaf Berwald, Stephen Dowden, and Gregor Thuswaldner. London: Bloomsbury (New Directions in German Studies Series), 2020. 45–70.

Kafka and Noise: The Discovery of Cinematic Sound in Literary Modernism. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2019

  • Music and Sound
  • Jewish Studies
  • Film, Media and Visual Studies
  • Austrian Studies
  • Twentieth Century
  • Modernism
Curriculum Vitae
Download 2022 CV Gellen (pdf - 213.43 KB)