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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Mr Robert Britten

Robert Britten





Dr Charlotte Lee


My research looks at concepts of realism in the work of Bertolt Brecht, which is perhaps most popularly known for its use of alienation techniques (such as ‘breaking the fourth wall’) as well as its opposition to more traditional forms of ‘mimetic’, or ‘immersive’ realist methods. I trace the notion of realism not as a matter realism vs. formalism, or immersion vs. alienation, but as an attempt to make salient in art complex, concrete realities in such a way that would enable social action and change. (Brecht once refers to this as ‘die Realität den Menschen meisterbar in die Hand […] geben’). My take on such a hands-on realism enlists this pragmatic attitude. What is it in these texts that unlocks their critical potential? How might ‘alienation’ be characterized other than along traditional-genre boundaries? Working as much as possible on concrete textual examples I hope, in the long term, to re-evaluate the common antitheses between ‘critical’ and ‘naïve’ art, between ‘alienating’ and ‘immersive’ texts.


  • Cambridge AHRC DTP Studentship, 2018-21
  • Cambridge Trust European Scholarship, 2018-21
  • Levy-Plumb Graduate Scholarship at Christ’s College, 2018-19

Conference papers

  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Produktive Äquivalenz: Die Metapher im transdisziplinären Kontext, ‚World to Word: Translation Metaphors’, July 2017