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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles





I work on the ‘auditory imaginary’ in literature. My PhD examines conceptions and representations of hearing and listening in German modernist writing with particular reference to the works of Rilke, Kafka, and Walter Benjamin. My other academic interests include aesthetics and media studies, performance and art history, and comparative studies from the eighteenth century onwards.

I am also interested in the role of the arts in the rehabilitation of prisoners, and have been both a participant and mentor on Learning Together courses at HMP Whitemoor offered by the university’s Institute of Criminology and the Faculty of Divinity.

Qualifications and affiliations

Visiting Student at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, FU Berlin (2020)

MPhil in European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures (2017) 

BA in Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge (2016)


Key publications: 



Roberts, Syamala, ‘Konturen’ and ‘Trübungen’: Der Tod in Venedig and Rilke’s ‘Dritte Elegie’, Publications of the English Goethe Society, 88:2 (2019), 108-119 [



Roberts, Syamala, 'Grenzgänge zum Anorganischen bei Rilke und Celan by Friederike Felicitas Günther', in Austrian Studies, 27 (2019), 269–270. 



Book Review: The Age of Noise in Britain: Hearing Modernity by James G. Mansell, LSE Review of Books, 2017 [

Book Review: Foucault: The Birth of Power by Stuart Elden, LSE Review of Books, 2017 [

Teaching and Supervisions


Ge10 (Modernist Fiction) 

Other topics by arrangement

Department: German
Supervisor: Dr. Lucia Ruprecht
College: Jesus
AHRC subject area: Languages and literature
Title of thesis: Conceptions of Hearing in German Modernist Writing
 Syamala  Roberts