Torben Jelsbak

Torben Jelsbak

Associate Professor

My main research area is modern Danish and Scandinavian literary history in a European perspective. 

My previous research has focused on the early 20th century avant-gardes in art and literature, both in a European and a Nordic context. Another key interest in my work is the tradition of "Cultural Radicalism" - an intellectual and artistic reform movement emanating from Georg Brandes' and the Modern Breakthrough in Scandinavian literatures in the last decades of the 19th century. 

I am currently the head of the research group MoSka (Moderne Skandinaviske litteratur- og kulturstudier)  

Recent publications

Torben Jelsbak and Anna Sandberg (eds): Dansk-tyske krige. Kulturliv og kulturkampe, Forlaget U Press, 355 pp., 2020.

Jens Bjerring-Hansen, Torben Jelsbak and Anna Estera Mrozewicz (eds): Scandinavian Exceptionalisms. Culture, Society, Discourse = Berliner Beiträge zur Skandinavistik vol. 29, 534 pp., 2021

Torben Jelsbak and Lill-Ann Körber (eds.): New Geographies of Scandinavian Studies. Moving Maps, Reciprocal Images, Emerging Communities = Folia Scandinavica Posnanienia vol. 33, 2023.

Research Projects

Contributor to the Project "Digital Main Currents/Digitale Hovedstrømninger" (2017-2020), funded by The Carlsberg Foundation

Co-director of the Network New Geographies of Scandinavian Studies (2019-2024), funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark



I am currently involved in several international research networks and collective research projects.

I have contributed to the project "Digital Main Currents" (Carlsberg),, and, together with Lill-Ann Körber (Aarhus University), I am in charge of the DFG-network "New Geographies of Scandinavian Studies",   


Fields of interest

Literary history and media history, sociology of literature, intellectual history, discourse analysis, literary stylistics, cultural studies, popular culture, urban studies

Primary fields of research

Scandinavian Modernity, European Avant-Garde art and culture around World War I (Futurism, Expressionism, Dadaism), First World War, the German Occupation (1940-1945), Nordic Cultural Radicalism from Georg Brandes to Klaus Rifbjerg.


Courses forming part of the study programme in Danish:

  • Literary history (2. term)
  • Modern literature (3. term)
  • The selective subject "Texts, books and bits"
  • The selective subject "Copenhagen: Modernity and Pluralism"
  • MA courses on Modern Danish literature in interaction with culture and media history


I offer supervision on Danish and Nordic literary history from antiquity up until today and I welcome interdiciplinarity – including projects and theses formulated in the border zone between literature, cultural studies, sociology and media history.

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