Professor Robert Vilain

MA, DPhil (Oxon)

  • BS8 1TE


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Robert Vilain specializes in German, Austrian, French and Comparative Literature in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with a special interest in lyric poetry. He has published widely on authors such as Hofmannsthal, George, Rilke, Yvan and Claire Goll, Thomas Mann, on Franco-German literary relations, detective fiction and the relationship of literature and music.

From September 2013 to summer 2016 he was Germanic Editor of Modern Language Review, having formerly acted as joint editor of the journal Austrian Studies from 2003 to 2011. He is also Series Editor for "Studies in Modern German and Austrian Literature" published by Peter Lang. He regularly reviews for the TLS as well as for academic journals.

From 2014 to 2017 Professor Vilain was co-investigator with Prof Andrew Webber (Cambridge, PI) and Dr Judith Beniston (UCL, Co-I) on a major AHRC-funded project to complete a section of a digital critical edition of the middle-period works of the Austrian dramatist and novelist Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931). The project website is here: The edition will be publicly available, at no cost to users, on a site hosted by the Cambridge University Library. 

Professor Vilain's other current and recent projects include a monograph on the works of Yvan Goll (forthcoming with Legenda, Oxford) and a lengthy study of the first French translation of Goethe's Faust by Albert Stapfer, published in 1823 and, in a revised version with a magnificent set of lithographs by Delacroix, in 1828. He published a translation of Rilke's novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge with OUP in 2016 and is working on a study of Rilke's relationship with the culture, history, geography and topography of Italy.

External positions

Director of the SWW Doctoral Training Partnership, South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership

1 Aug 2020 → …

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Research Output

Nach Duino: Studien zu Rainer Maria Rilkes spaeten Gedichten

Vilain, RL. & Karen, L., 2010, Goettingen: Wallstein Verlag (Göttingen). 246 p.

Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  • "Faust, Part I" and France: Stapfer's Translation, Delacroix's Lithographs and Goethe's Responses

    Vilain, R. L., May 2012, In : Publications of the English Goethe Society. 81, 2, p. 73-135 63 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)



    Yvan Goll, Charlie Chaplin and the Slavic Avant-Garde

    Robert Vilain (Advisor)

    30 May 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic talk, debate, discussion

    Tee mit Thema

    Robert Vilain (Participant)

    3 Apr 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Brecht's "Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui"

    Robert Vilain (Participant)

    8 Nov 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Supervised Work

    The Secret of Creation: Stefan Zweig as Collector, Eulogist and Biographer of Balzac

    Author: Chamsaz, P., 1 Oct 2019

    Supervisor: Davies, S. (Supervisor) & Vilain, R. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)