Jessica Wood

PhD Title: Nietzsche's Dionysus in the Works of Gabriele D'Annunzio and Thomas Mann

I obtained my undergraduate degree in German and Italian Studies at Birmingham, graduating in 2010. Having developed a keen interest in German and Italian literature, I went on to complete my MPhil(B) in Modern European Cultures. My thesis investigated a thematic link I had noticed between Thomas Mann’s Der Tod in Venedig (1912) and Gabriele D’Annunzio’s Il fuoco (1900): namely the relationship between Eros and the creative process. In these two fin de siècle texts, desire both drives and hinders creative production in the artist, and I studied links such as the representation of desire, the portrayal of the creative process, and the use of classical allusions. I received excellent supervision and found that there was more to say regarding the affinities between these two texts than was possible in my MPhil(B) thesis. I was lucky enough to obtain funding from the AHRC to complete my PhD in German and Italian Studies at Birmingham, which I began in September 2012.

My doctoral project will examine the appropriation of Nietzsche’s Dionysus in selected works by Thomas Mann and Gabriele D’Annunzio, particularly the importance of Dionysus and Dionysian impulses to the artist.