Alexandra Effe

Image of Alexandra Effe
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Phone +47 22856802
Room 1024
Visiting address Niels Treschows hus (room 1024)
Postal address Postboks 1003 Blindern 0315 Oslo

Academic interests

Narratology; Poetics; Cognitive Literary Studies; Autobiography and Life-Writing Studies; Postcolonial Literature and Theory


I studied English and Psychology at the University of Freiburg in Germany and then went to Queen Mary University of London for doctoral studies, which culminated in my first monograph on J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Narrative Transgression: A Reconsideration of Metalepsis (Palgrave, 2017). Subsequently, I took up a post as the scientific coordinator of a PhD Program in Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Giessen and stayed on as a research fellow of the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, where I was active in research groups on “Cultural Narratology,” “Identity,” and on the “Interface between Literature and Life Sciences.” From 2018 to 2020, I was a visiting research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, University of Oxford, where I currently co-run a project on "Autofiction in Global Perspective." In 2019, I took up my current position at the University of Oslo, where I teach in the department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages and conduct research on the intersection of fictional and autobiographical writing.

Ongoing research

Autofictional Cognitive Poetics: Hybrid Writing, Texts, and Reading from the Eighteenth Century to the Twenty-First

In my current research, I investigate the intersection of fictional and autobiographical writing from the eighteenth century to the present day by drawing on rhetorical narrative theory, cognitive poetics, and cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

I talk about the project with Mari Lilleslåtten from the Humanities Faculty. The interview is available here.


I’m a participant of the research and education initiative, Literature, Cognition and Emotions (LCE), which is one of the Faculty of Humanities five promoted initiatives. LCE is an interdisciplinary hub that brings together literary studies, linguistics, psychology and neurosciences in a new conversation about literature.

Courses taught at UiO

LIT2340  Sjangerstudium: The Novel: Origins and Development of an Experimental Genre in the Long 18th Century and Beyond

LIT4310A/LIT4310B Litteraturteoretisk studium I: Cognitive Literary Studies

LIT4380A/LIT4380B Verdenslitteratur / World Literature

LIT 4360A/B Litterært tekststudium: Illness Narratives: Representations of Bodies and Minds in Drama, Poetry, and Prose from Shakespeare to the 21st Century

Tags: Comparative Literature, Cognitive Poetics, Narratology, Life Writing, Autobiography, Autofiction, Postcolonial Literature, J.M. Coetzee

Selected publications


J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Narrative Transgression: A Reconsideration of Metalepsis. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. (

Edited books:

The Autofictional: Approaches, Affordances, Forms. Edited together with Hannie Lawlor. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022. open access (

Edited special issues:

“Autofiction, Emotions, and Humour: A Playfully Serious Affective Mode.” Special issue of Life Writing 19.1 (2022). Edited together with Arnaud Schmitt

“Anglo-German Cultural Relations.” Special issue of eTransfers: Journal for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies 3 (2015). Edited together with Melissa Schuh

Articles and book chapters:

“Autobiographies/Autrebiographies/Biographies.” Bloomsbury Companion to J. M. Coetzee. Ed. Andrew van der Vlies and Lucy Graham (forthcoming)

“Fictionalization of Testimony.” Culture as Testimony: An International Handbook of Theory and Practice. Ed. Roger Woods and Sara Jones. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. Co-authored with Melissa Schuh and Carmen-Francesca Banciou (forthcoming)

Editorial to “Autofiction, Emotions, and Humour: A Playfully Serious Affective Mode.” Special issue of Life Writing 19.1 (2022): 1-11. Edited and co-authored with Arnaud Schmitt

“From Autofiction to the Autofictional.” Introduction to The Autofictional: Approaches, Affordances, Forms. Ed. Alexandra Effe and Hannie Lawlor. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022. 1-18. Co-authored with Hannie Lawlor

“A Cognitive Perspective on Autofictional Writing, Texts, and Reading.” The Autofictional: Approaches, Affordances, Forms. Ed. Alexandra Effe and Hannie Lawlor. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022. 61-81. Co-authored with Alison Gibbons

“Ben Lerner’s 10:04 and the “utopian glimmer of [auto]fiction.” Modern Fiction Studies 67.4 (2021): 738-757

“Autofiction in the Anthropocene: Ben Lerner’s 10:04.” Literature and Literary Studies in the 21st Century: Cultural Concerns—Concepts—Case Studies. Ed. Ansgar Nünning, Vera Nünning, and Alexander Scherr. Trier: WVT (2021). 167-184

“Forms at Work in Testimony: A Cognitive New Formalist Approach.” Forms at Work: New Formalist Approaches in the Study of Literature, Culture and Media. Ed. Elizabeth Kovach, Imke Polland, and Ansgar Nünning. Trier: WVT, 2021. 185-201

“Postcolonial Criticism and Cognitive Literary Studies: A New Formalist Approach to Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 56.1 (2020): 97-109

“Coetzee’s Summertime as a Metaleptic Conversation.” JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory 47.2 (2017): 252-275

“Fighting Real Fires with Fictional Flames: J. M. Coetzee’s Literary Response to Political and Discursive Crises.” Literature and Crises: Conceptual Explorations and Literary Negotiations. Ed. Elizabeth Kovach, Ansgar Nünning, and Imke Polland. Trier: WVT, 2017. 131-142

Editorial to “Anglo-German Cultural Relations.” Special issue of eTransfers: Journal for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies 3 (2015): 1-2. Co-authored with Melissa Schuh

Reviews and editorials:

“Autofiktion als Utopie // Autofiction as Utopia ed. by Yvonne Delhey, Rolf Parr, and Kerstin Wilhelms (review).” The European Journal of Life Writing (forthcoming)

“Experiments in Life-Writing: Intersections of Auto/Biography and Fiction ed. by Lucia Boldrini and Julia Novak (review).” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 42.2 (2019): 381-384

“Metalepsis and/as Hermeneutics.” Review of Julian Hanebeck’s Understanding Metalepsis. DIEGESIS 6.2 (2017): 203-206 “J. M. Coetzee and the Politics of Style by Jarad Zimbler (review).” English Studies 97.6 (2016): 681-682

Published Jan. 11, 2019 11:09 AM - Last modified June 2, 2022 4:21 PM