Dr Elisenda Marcer Cortés PhD

Department of Modern Languages
Associate Professor in Catalan Studies

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

A native of Barcelona, I studied Hispanic Philology and completed the doctorate courses in Catalan Philology at the University of Barcelona. I arrived at the University of Birmingham in 2001 where I completed my doctoral thesis entitled ‘Intertextual dynamics in Gabriel Ferrater’s work: the role of English poetry’. I taught all levels of Catalan Language and content modules related to Catalan Studies. In 2008, I was appointed as a Lecturer and continue to teach, develop and coordinate Catalan Studies at Birmingham.


  • Catalan Language and Culture I
  • Catalan Language and Literature II
  • Advanced Catalan Language IV
  • Barcelona, Urban Space and Cultural Identity
  • Constructing Communities in the Catalan Speaking Territories
  • The Sublime and the Grotesque in Catalan
  • Catalan Culture Project

Postgraduate supervision

I am currently co-supervising a PhD on Translating National Identity, the Reception of Catalan Literature in English.

Find out more - our PhD Hispanic Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My main research interests focus mainly on contemporary Catalan literature, with special interest in poetry and narrative, the construction of identity and cross-disciplinary discourses. My thesis analysed the role of English poetry in the work of Gabriel Ferrater. It dealt specifically with theories of modernity, processes of canonisation, and presented a sociological and philosophical approach to the construction of a collective voice following Simmel and Bergson’s ideas. My research received support from two grants issued by institutional bodies, the AHRC and the former individual Beca Batista i Roca by the Catalan government (2001-2003).

Other research grants I have received:

  • Leverhulme Trust Research Grant (2016-19) - Co-Investigator (CI), Inner and Outer Exile in Fascist Germany and Spain: A Comparative Study. PI: Prof John Klapper (University of Birmingham).
  • Ministerio de Economía y y competitividad I+D Ref. FFI2015-65110-P (2015-18) - Co-Investigator (CI), New Subjectivities in Contemporary Catalan Production. PI: Dr M. Pons (Universitat Illes Balears).
  • Universitat Illes Balears Research Leave Grant (Oct-Dec, 2015) - Visiting Researcher.

From the perspective of exile theories, I have also explored the creation of Catalan communities in exile and the work of poets such as Josep Palau i Fabre and Montserrat Abelló. My recent research on the poetry of Abelló has led me to the study of the body and its representations in Catalan poetry. I am committed to all aspects of Catalan Studies. In 2009, I organised a one-day conference on the intersection of Poetry and Architecture in Catalonia. In 2010, I completed work on a Historical Dictionary of the Catalans with Dr Helena Buffery of the University of Cork. Currently, I am working on the publication of revised and expanded version of my thesis.

Research groups

I am a member of the Centre for the Study on Hispanic Exile and I was a co-investigator on a British Academy-supported project on ‘Exile Remains’ directed by Professor Francis Lough (2006-2007).

Other activities

I have been the Secretary of the Federació Internacional d’Associacions de Catalanística (FIAC) (2007-2009) and, since 2009, I am the treasurer. I am the staff-student liaison representative of the Department of Hispanic Studies.

Events and conferences

  • Amongst other activities to promote and enhance Catalan Studies, I have recently organised and co-organised the following events:
  • 2017 – Home Secretary for the organization of the LXIII Anglo-Catalan Society Annual Conference, University of Birmingham, Nov 2017.
  • 2016 – Co-organiser: ‘Line Word and Gesture: Visualising Thinking in the Hispanic World’, University of Birmingham, Sept 2016.
  • 2013 – Co-organiser of 'III Basque Catalan and Galician Cinema Season', 9th, 16th and 23rd May at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. The Catalan session with the co-producer Gonzalo Bendala was translated by Jennifer Arnold and it was supported by the Institut Ramon Llull and the University of Birmingham (more information in www.galbascat.blogspot.com).
  • 2012 – Co-organiser of ‘II Basque Catalan and Galician Cinema Season’, 2nd, 9th and 16th May at the MAC. The Catalan session with the producer Isona Passola was translated by Dr Eva Bru and it was supported by the Institut Ramon Llull and the University of Birmingham.
  • 2011 – Co-organiser with the Institut Ramon Llull of ‘Workshop of UK based Catalan Tutors’, 18 November, University of Birmingham (more information in www.galbascat.blogspot.com).
  • 2011 – Co-organiser of ‘Basque Catalan and Galician Cinema Season’, 12, 19 and 26 May at the MAC. The Catalan session with the director Jordi Cadena was translated by Jennifer Arnold and it was supported by the Institut Ramon Llull and the University of Birmingham (more information in www.galbascat.blogspot.com).
  • 2010 – Organiser of ‘Trueta’ with Àngels Aymar and Dr Montserrat Roser i Puig, 25November. This event was supported by the Institut Ramon Llull and the University of Birmingham.
  • 2009 – Organiser of ‘One-day Conference on the Intersection of Poetry and Architecture in Catalonia’, 5June. This event was translated by Jennifer Arnold, Eva Bru and Laia Darder. It was supported by the Institut Ramon Llull and the University of Birmingham.


Sole authored book

  • *Working on the monograph with the provisional title Animalitat i humanisme o el límit entre les arts en l’obra de Miquel de Palol.
  • Ressonàncies: veus i ecos en la poesia de Gabriel Ferrater. Tarragona: Arola Editors, 2013.

Co-authored book

  • Marcer E., Buffery, H. Historical Dictionary of the Catalans, Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

Edited books

  • *Aspects of Exile: Essays on Inner and Outer Exile in/from Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain. (In progress).
  • *The Intersection between Poetry and Architecture in Catalonia. (In progress).
  • Spanish Republican Exile Geographies. Co-edited proceedings with H. Buffery, F. Lough and A. Sánchez. Birmingham: University of Birmingham, 2012.

Book chapters and peer reviewed articles

  • *‘Between bodies: Animality and Vulnerability in La Mosquitera (2010) by Agustí Vila’. Journal of Romance Studies. Special Issue: Presence and Matter in Catalan Visual and Performance (eds.) E. Bru; H. Buffery (accepted for publication).
  • ‘Immanence and Animality in the poetic voice of Maria-Mercè Marçal’ (eds.) D. Keown; N.Díaz Vicedo. Sheffield. Special Issue, Anglo-Catalan Occasional Publications, 2017, 107-124 (available online).
  • ‘La transmedialitat com a eina de desestabilització a Ice Cream d’Antoni Padrós’. Poètiques liminars: imatge, escena, ojecte, trànsit (eds.) M. Pons; J. A. Reynés. Palma: Edicions UIB, TECSED, 5, 2016, 263-276.
  • ‘El cos és l’altre: simultaneïtat i tacte en la poesia de Montserrat Abelló’, Catalan Review, XXVI. Special Cluster ‘Poetry, experimentation and alterity’, (eds.) X. Barceló, M. Picornell and M. Muntaner, 2012, 183-199.
  • El gris ressò de la ferralla o la mediació de l’espai urbà en la poesia de Gabriel Ferrater’, Veus baixes 0, Studia digitalia in memoriam Gabriel Ferrater, (ed.) Col.lectiu Veus baixes, May 2012, 117-134
  •  'The Raval on Stage: Limits and Borders in Juan Mayorga’s Hamelin’ in Barcelona, Visual Space and Power, (eds.) H. Buffery and C. Caulfield. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012, 105-117. 
  • ‘Orígens anglosaxons en la ‘metonímia del desig’ de Gabriel Ferrater’ in Mélanges offerts au Professor Christian Camps, (coord.) M. Bourret. Péronnas: Éditions de la Tour Gile, 2009, 329-343.
  • 'Diálogo entre la luz y la oscuridad en la obra de Josep Palau i Fabre’ in El exilio: debate para la historia y la cultura, (eds.) J.M. Ascunce, M. Jato y M.L. San Miguel. San Sebastián: Saturrarán, 2008, 209-221.
  • ‘La voz extrañada: intelectuales españoles en la BBC’ in España en la encrucijada de 1939: exilios, cultura e identidades, (eds.) M. Jato, J.A. Ascunce and M. San Miguel. Bilbao: Universidad de Deusto, 2007, 305-311.
  •  ‘La creación de redes culturales en el exilio: el caso de la ‘Anglo-Catalan Society’, in Exilio y Universidad(1936-1955), (coords.) J.Ángel Ascunce, M. Jato y M.L. San Miguel. San Sebastián: Saturrarán, 2007, 1166-1179.
  • ‘Luis Cernuda como Puente entre la poesía inglesa y la ‘Escuela de Barcelona’’, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, Vol. 11, Nos. 2-3, August/ December, 2005, 189-196.
  • ‘“La vida furtiva” de Gabriel Ferrater i el vers 138 de The Waste Land de T. S. Eliot: una operació de lectura entre dues línies  estètiques’, Gabriel Ferrater, (eds.) D.Oller i J. Subirana ‘In Memoriam’. Barcelona: Columna, 2001, 265-273.

Conference proceedings

  • Marcer, E. ‘Miquel de Palol i els límits de la consciència’, International Conference: Limits and Extensions of the Subject in Contemporary Iberian Culture, University of Cambridge, 2017
  • Marcer, E. ‘Subjetividades subversivas: Miquel de Palol y los límites de la conciencia’, Democracy and the Arts in the Contemporary Hispanic World, University of Birmingham, 2014.
  • ‘Les relacions intel.lectuals entre Gabriel Ferrater i Anglaterra’ in Col.loqui Europeu d’Estudis Catalans. La recepció de la literatura catalana a Europa, (eds.) E. Trenc i M. Roser. Montpeller: Centre d’études et de recherches catalanes Université Montpellier III. AFC, 2004, 115-152. 
  • ‘Gabriel Ferrater entre l’autoinvenció social i l’aportació estètica a través de G. Simmel i la poesia anglesa’ in Actes del Congrés Internacional ‘La projecció social de l’escriptor en la literatura catalana contemporània’. Barcelona/ Bellaterra, 26, 27 i 28 d’octubre de 2005’, (coord.) R. Panyella. Saragossa: Punctum-Gelcc, 2007, 517-52.

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