Sandra Mayer

About me 

I am a literary and cultural historian, interested in the contexts and conditions of literary production and reception. My current research focuses on, and integrates, the areas of literary authorship, celebrity and persona studies, life writing, and digital editing. 

I talk about my work at the intersections of literature, politics, life writing and the media in the University of Vienna’s Audimax podcast (in German only).

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I studied English and History at the universities of Graz, Sussex, and Vienna. In 2011, I completed my PhD thesis on the reception of Oscar Wilde’s works on twentieth-century Viennese stages as part of the research project “Weltbühne Wien – World Stage Vienna” and was awarded my doctoral degree under the auspices of the Austrian Federal President (promotio sub auspiciis praesidentis rei publicae). I subsequently held positions as a lecturer in English Literature and Culture in the University of Vienna’s English Department and as a senior research and teaching associate in the English Department at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. I was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities, NUI Galway; a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing and the Centre for British Studies, Humboldt University Berlin; and have been holding long-standing research associations with the University of Oxford’s English Faculty and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

In 2014, I was awarded an Erwin Schrödinger Research Fellowship by the FWF Austrian Science Fund to undertake postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford, which laid the groundwork for a larger project, dedicated to exploring the intersections of “Art and Action: Literary Celebrity and Politics.” This three-year-project (2018-2021) was funded through the Hertha Firnberg Fellowship by the FWF Austrian Science Fund and was conducted in collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) at Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

Currently, I lead the project „The Author as Activist: Literature, Politics, and Celebrity“ (Elise Richter Fellowship, FWF Austrian Science Fund V911-G), and am principal investigator of “Auden Musulin Papers,” a three-year digital editing project based at the Austrian Academy of Science’s Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage (ACDH-CH). The project will result in a digital edition of W. H. Auden’s letters and literary papers sent to the Welsh-Austrian writer and journalist Stella Musulin, and will offer a fresh perspective on Auden’s later life and work through newly available archival material.

My research interests include literary celebrity and authorship, life-writing, cultural transfer and reception, literary networks and cosmopolitanism, and, very broadly, the literature and culture of the Victorian Age and the Fin de Siècle. I have lectured and published widely on the British and European reception of Oscar Wilde. My monograph, Oscar Wilde in Vienna: Pleasing and Teasing the Audience, was published with Brill Rodopi in 2018.

For my work I received the Young Scholars Award 2010, granted by the Austrian Association of University Teachers of English (AAUTE), the Dr Maria Schaumayer Prize (2012), the Honorary Award of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research (2012), and the Doc.Award (2013), jointly granted by the City of Vienna and the University of Vienna.