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The Australian National University

Dr Anna-Sophie Jurgens

PhD in Comparative Literature (LMU Munich, Germany). Magister in Comparative Literature, Russian and French Literature (LMU Munich, Germany)
Feodor Lynen Postdoctoral Fellow (Humboldt Foundation)
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Literary Studies 2005
  • Comparative Literature Studies 200524
  • Other European Literature 200515
  • Cultural Studies 2002
  • Studies In Creative Arts And Writing Not Elsewhere Classified 199999

Research interests

Circus in Fiction

Science in (Australian) Fiction

Circus and Science

Hyperbolic Aesthetics

Knowledge Credibility (in Fiction)

Avant-Gardes; 19th and 20th century novel

Artistic Research

Researcher's projects

 My current project “On the origin and evolution of a species: Australian scientists in fiction” aims to provide a comprehensive historical examination of the representation and dynamics of the scientist in Australian fiction. It will explore fictional scientists from the 19th century onwards by analysing aesthetic and narrative techniques in order to offer new insight into Australian literary history.

In my 2016 monograph Die Poetik des Zirkus (‘Poetics of the Circus’), I explore circus and its hyperbolic aesthetics in fiction. Although I analyse postmodern and contemporary Australian, American, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian and German texts, a major part of my work elucidates the development of circus fiction since the 19th century and the cultural history of circus arts.

My interests in scholarship include modern and contemporary circus fiction; the history of (violent) clowns; aesthetics and poetologies of knowledge; knowledge credibility; and science in fiction, especially fictional non- and con-scientists. In short: Circus & Science.

My research explores the cultural relevance of circus and science – the cultural work they do and the aesthetic achievements they make possible. It uncovers that circus and science (and its pursuits) are the product and producer of curiosity and good stories. I am interested in what these stories tell us about the ‘two cultures’ of the humanities and science, and about the dramatisation of curiosity.






Jürgens, A.-S. (2016): Poetik des Zirkus – Die Ästhetik des Hyperbolischen im Roman (Poetics of the Circus – Hyperbolic Aesthetics in Fiction), Heidelberg: Winter, 453 pages.


Edited collections 


Fuchs, Margarete, Jürgens, A.-S., Schuster, Jörg (eds.) (in preparation): ManegenkünsteZirkus als ästhetisches Modell, about 480 pages.


Jürgens, A.-S., Wierschem, M. (eds.) (2017): Pat­terns of Dis|Order – Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte der Un|Ordnung, Münster: LIT Verlag, 398 pages.


Jürgens, A.-S., Tesche, T. (eds.) (2015): LaborARTorium – Forschung im Denkraum zwischen Wissen­schaft und Kunst (LaborARTory – Research in between Science and Art), Biele­feld: transcript, 336 pages.  


Peer reviewed journal articles & book chapters


Jürgens, A.-S. (2018, in press): “Costumes of Beloning: ‘Fitting in’ circus fabrics in the novels The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith by Peter Carey and The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott, and the costume-cum-body art of Leigh Bowery”, in: Social Beings, Future Belongings: Reimagining the Social, ed. by David Bissell, Miranda Bruce, Helen Keane, Anna Tsalapatanis, London: Routledge.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2018, accepted for publication 03/04/2018): “Comic in Suspenders: Jim Sharman’s circus worlds in The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show”, Journal of Australian Studies.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2018, accepted for publication 22/04/2018): “A funny Taste: Clowns and Cannibals”, Comedy Studies.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2018, in press): “So called experts? Knowledge Credibility in Fiction”, in Our Changing World in the South Pacific, ed. by Trevor R. Finlayson ISBN 9780958814928 (Australian Association of von Humboldt Fellows, 2018), Chapter 6.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2018, accepted for publication 17/04/2018): “S/Laughter: On the interplay of clowning and cannibalism in popular culture”, in: Komik und Kolonialismus, ed. by Anne Peiter, Bochum: Projektverlag.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2017): “Le Roman de cirque, le Roman Circus mundi et le Roman circassien” (Circus novels and circus texts), in: Le Comparatisme comme approche critique/Comparative literature as a critical approach: Affronter l'Ancien/Facing the Past, Tome 1, ed. by Anne Tomiche, Paris: Classiques Garnier, 483-494.


Schuster, S., Jürgens, A.-S. (2017): “Being in a mess – Kollaborationen in der Un|Ordnung des philologischen Märchens“ Cosmos-Collaborator (On Collaborations in the philological Fairy-Tale Cosmos-Collaborator), in: Pat­terns of Dis|Order, ed. by A.-S. Jürgens a. Markus Wierschem, Münster: LIT Verlag, 371–386.   


Jürgens, A.-S., Wierschem, M. (2017): “Muster der Un|Ordnung” (Introduction), in: Pat­terns of Dis|Order, ed. by A.-S. Jürgens a. Markus Wierschem, Münster: LIT Verlag, 13–39.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2016): “Circus as Idée fixe and Hunger: Circomania in Fiction”, in: CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 18/3; 7 pages.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2016): “Clowneske Zirkuskunstfiguren – Zu Wandel und Werken des Zirkus­clowns in der Literatur” (Clownesque Circus Creatures – The Evolution of Clowns), in: Über den Clown – Künstlerische und theoretische Perspektiven (On Clowns – Artistic and Theoretical Perspectives), ed. by Richard Weihe, Bielefeld: transcript, 165–181.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2015): “Zirkuskunstwerke: Zur urheberrechtlichen Schutzfähigkeit der Ma­negenkunst” (Circus Creations – Copyright and the Arts of the Ring), in: Neue Rundschau 4, 153–157.


Jürgens, A.-S., Wierschem, M. (2015): “The Poetics of Anamorphosis and the Art of Entropy”, in: LaborARTorium, ed. by Anna-Sophie Jürgens and Tassilo Tesche, Bielefeld: transcript, 279–297.


Jürgens, A.-S., Tesche, T. (2015): “LaborARTorium – Begegnungen im Denkraum” (LaborART­ory – A Thinking Space (Introduction)), in: LaborARTorium, ed. by Anna-Sophie Jürgens and Tassilo Tesche, Bielefeld: transcript, 9–22.  


Jürgens, A.-S., Tesche, T. (2015): “Kunst als Forschung – Ein Rückblick: Florian Dombois im Inter­view mit Anna-Sophie Jürgens und Tassilo Tesche” (Art as Research – A retrospection: Florian Dombois in­terviewed by ASJ and TT), in: LaborARTorium, ed. by Anna-Sophie Jürgens and Tassilo Tesche, Biele­feld: transcript, 33–41.  


Jürgens, A.-S. (2015): “Das versehrte Lachen – Neomoderne Gewaltclowns in der Literatur” (The Dam­aged Smile – Neomodern violent Clowns in Fiction), in: “Fröhliche Wissenschaft – Zur Gene­alogie des Lachens (“The Gay Science” – A Genealogy of Laughter), ed. by Kevin Liggieri, Freiburg: Karl Alber, 298–320. 


Jürgens, A.-S. (2015): “Singultus – Ein grotesker Reflex” (Singultus – A Grotesque Reflex), in: Kroener – Time Codes – Die Macht der Bilder (The Power of Pictures), ed. by Maren Martell and Kathrin Höhne, Mittelrhein Museum Koblenz; 6 pages.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2014): “The Joker, a neo-modern clown of violence”, in: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 5/4, 441–454.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2012): “Pygmalion im Zirkus: Zum Virtuos-Statuenhaften & Guy de Cars La Dame du Cirque (Pygmalion in the Circus Ring – Virtuosity and the Statuesque in Guy de Cars’ La Dame du Cirque), in: Jahrbuch der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Ver­gleichende Literturwis­sen­schaft, 137–150.


Jürgens, A.-S. (2011): “Hermetische Liebesakrobatik: Joris-Karl Huysmans’ Des Esseintes und Thomas Manns Felix Krull im Zirkus” (Hermetic Love Acrobatics – Joris-Karl Huysmans’ Des Esseintes and Thomas Mann’s Felix Krull in the Circus), in: SprachKunst – Beiträge zur Litera­tur­wissenschaft Jahrgang XLII/2, 271–300.



For Circus and Art Projects see:

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Updated:  21 June 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers