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Dr Thomas Crew

British Academy Postdoctoral FellowProfile Picture

Email: thomas dot crew at warwick dot ac dot uk

Faculty of Arts Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

Research Interests

From Salvation to Damnation: Reappraisals of 'Progress' in German Classical Modernity, 1890-1939

My current research examines the concept of progress in German-speaking Europe during the age of Classical Modernity (c. 1890-1939). Having assumed near-religious proportions in the course of the nineteenth century, from around 1890 the concept lost its appeal. Science and technology were no longer the sources of confidence and hope, but an increasingly pervasive anxiety. Although grounded in the initial spirit of optimism, the study focuses on selected critics of progress from both literature and philosophy, including Ludwig Klages, Alfred Kubin, Oswald Spengler and Alfred Döblin.

Academic Publications

  • 'Technocratic totalitarianism: Gunnar Kaiser and dissident discourse in pandemic-era Germany', Journal of European Studies 54, 1 (March 2024), pp. 110-131.
  • '"Civilization is Sterilization": Utopia, Biopolitics and the Total Society in Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World', in: R. Marling and M. Pajevic (eds), Care, Control and Covid-19: Health and Biopolitics in Philosophy and Literature, Berlin: De Gruyter 2023, pp. 59-90.
  • '"Nie hatte ein Mensch etwas Ähnliches gesehen oder erträumt!": Bernhard Kellermanns Der Tunnel und das Spektakel Amerikas', in: K. Dahlmanns and A. Jachimowicz (eds), Geliebtes, verfluchtes Amerika. Zu Antiamerikanismus und Amerikabegeisterung im deutschen Sprachraum 1888-1933, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2022, pp. 27-39.
  • ‘“How to become what you are”: Self-becoming and individuation in Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo and Hesse’s Demian and Steppenwolf’, Journal of European Studies 51, 1 (March 2021), pp. 3-23.
  • ‘Ernst Jüngers Gläserne Bienen und der Übergang zur Perfektion’, Berliner Debatte Initial 31, 1 (April 2020), pp. 72-84.
  • ‘“Der Tag hängt tot zwischen Himmel und Erde”: On the theme of Ambivalence in Ernst Barlach’s “Der tote Tag”, German Life and Letters 72, 2 (April 2019), pp. 168-186.

Conference Papers

  • '"The meaning of the earth is beginning to change": Metaphysics and Titanism in Ernst Jünger's At the Wall of Time (1959)', given at Anthropocene 2.0: Climate Engineering in German Cultural Representations, ILCS (University of London), December 2023.
  • '"The world is a machine, man an automaton": Friedrich Georg Jünger's Perfection of Technology', given at Automation & Automatism/s, King's College London, January 2023.

  • 'Prophecy and Apocalypse at the Fin de Siècle: Alfred Kubin's The Other Side', given at Nightmare/s in the Long Nineteenth Century, King's College, Cambridge, May 2022.

  • ‘The Age of Mechanization and the Failure of Utopia: Georg Kaiser’s Gas Trilogy’, given at the Lead Panel of the Association for German Studies conference, Swansea University, September 2021.

  • ‘Visions of Dystopia in German Literature’, chair of panel at the Association for German Studies annual conference, Swansea University, September 2021.

Other Publications


  • PhD (Cantab)
  • MA European Culture and Thought (London)
  • BA German (London)