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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Dr Rey Conquer


Teaching Fellow in German and Film

Room Number: Arts 1 2.01A
Office Hours: Mondays 12–1


I grew up in Nottingham and have since lived, studied and worked in Prague, Berlin and Oxford, where I taught for five years before moving to Queen Mary. I teach German and Film part time in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film; I’m otherwise a freelance writer, researcher and editor.


FLM5027/GER5027/GER6027: German Narrative Fiction in Text and Film

GER6200: German to English translation


Research Interests:

My background is in German literature and visual culture of the early twentieth century. I’m interested in translations and transpositions between media, forms and modes: my first book dealt with how to ‘read colour’ in German Modernist poetry, and I’ve also worked on translation, film adaptation, art criticism as a literary genre, and the intersection between poetry and architecture.

An interest in religion and the avant garde, the subject of my postdoc at The Queen’s College, Oxford, led me to work on the Guernseyan poet and monk Dom Sylvester Houédard, who I’ve spoken about on Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme, and on the contemporary artist Jesse Darling. I now write regularly on religion in art – from Dürer to Derek Jarman – for the journal Art + Christianity.

I’m particularly interested in the problem that religious belief in art and literature poses to the secular imagination, and have organised a number of seminar series and reading groups on this, as well as co-editing a journal special issue on imagining the beliefs of others in German literature from the Enlightenment to the present. I’ve also written or spoken about the novels of Barbara Pym and Rose Macaulay in this context. I am currently looking at this problem from the opposite direction: the commissioning of works of art for religious contexts from secular artists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the UK.



My first book, Reading Colour: George, Rilke, Kandinsky, Lasker-Schüler (Peter Lang, 2019)looked at colour in German modernist poetry. It was awarded the Institute of German Studies/Peter Lang Early Career Researcher Prize. A collection of essays on imagining the beliefs of others in German literature, co-edited with Joseph Twist, came out in summer 2023. I’ve published articles on Stefan George’s translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets and Rilke’s writing on sculpture, and a short piece on a church by the architect Rudolf Schwarz is forthcoming.


My criticism has been published in the Times Literary Supplement, Burlington Contemporary, The Tablet and others. Longer essays – on topics including the theology of performance art, queer morality, and human–animal relations – have appeared or will appear in LA Review of BooksArt+Christianity, Cambridge Humanities Review and Oxonian Review.

Poetry, performance etc.

I’ve published poems in Zarf, Amberflora and elsewhere. Since 2022 I’ve been part of The Fair Organ, a multimedia folk song research collective.

Public Engagement

I have recently spoken about the concrete poet and Benedictine monk Dom Sylvester Houédard on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking. For an introduction to his life and work you can also read my review of a show at Richard Saltoun gallery here. I have also reviewed books relating to German literature and thought for the TLS, most recently Navid Kermani, and Los Angeles Review of Books, and I was on the Minor Books Podcast discussing Rose Macaulay’s Towers of Trebizond and the work of the Swiss journalists and travel writers Ella Maillart and Annemarie Schwarzenbach.

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