Thinking the European Republic of Letters

We will study Europe from the perspective of its transnational intellectual heritage. The starting point for our research group is the need to understand Europe not just in terms of politics, economics, and geography, but also as an intellectual endeavour. Thus, we will specifically stress the continuing centrality of a Europe of Ideas. It is in Europe where philosophy emerged as a specific form of rationality and where it has arguably played a bigger role for the self-understanding and self-reflection of its populations than anywhere else. Without it, Europe would be literally unthinkable.

Anicet Charles Gabriel Lemonnier: In the Salon of Madame Geoffrin in 1755

Closely related to the shapes and traditions of European thought are the languages and literatures of Europe. Together they form the European Republic of Letters: a complex network of intellectual and artistic expressions, influences, practices, genres and institutions across epochs, borders, languages and media. By achieving a sense of understanding for the co-emergence of European philosophy and literature, we wish to acknowledge the historic and systematic diversity of thought and to argue for the persistent necessity of a European Republic of Letters.

The group’s historical focus is on the modern period from the Renaissance and Humanism until today. Whereas in the Classics, medieval and early modern studies, philosophy, rhetoric and poetics are often studied together, this is seldom the case in contemporary academic philosophy. Ideals of knowledge taken from the natural sciences and mathematics have dominated for a long time at the expense of literary contextualisation and analysis. In literary studies, on the other hand, philosophy has often been met by scepticism in the name of theory. This group will go beyond such intellectual stereotyping and stress the essential interdependence of scientific, normative, aesthetic, and historical modes of thinking in a Europe in touch with the rest of the world.











Research group members

Members from the University of Copenhagen

Name Title Phone E-mail
Anna Lena Sandberg Associate Professor +4535328156 E-mail
Birthe Hoffmann Associate Professor +4535328176 E-mail
Christian Benne Professor +4535330085 E-mail
Christian Dahl Associate Professor +4535329269 E-mail
David Possen Part-time Lecturer +4535328100 E-mail
Jan Rosiek Professor +4535328349 E-mail
Julio Hans C. Jensen Associate Professor +4535328455 E-mail
Katrine Helene Andersen Associate Professor   E-mail
Martin Fog Lantz Arndal PhD Fellow +4535333901 E-mail
Niklas Olsen Professor +4551299676 E-mail
Tina Jane Lupton Professor +4593509415 E-mail
Tue Andersen Nexø Associate Professor +4535321268 E-mail

External members

Benjamin Boysen, Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Anne-Marie Søndergaard Christensen, PhD, University of Southern Denmark

Mette Blok, PhD, Roskilde University

Irina Hron, Postdoc, University of Gothenburg

Martin Pasgaard

Troels Thorborg Andersen

Brian Kjær Olesen


For further information regarding the research group, contact:

Group coordinators

Christian Benne
Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies

Sabrina Ebbersmeyer
Associate professor
Department of Communication

Centre Coordinator

Emil Eiby Seidenfaden
Centre coordinator
SAXO Institute