Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Dominic Williams

Montague Burton Fellow in Jewish Studies

0113 343 1561

Fine Art Room 1.13

BA Manchester, MA Exeter, PhD Leeds

Holocaust testimony and memorialisation, especially the Scrolls of Auschwitz and representations of the Auschwitz Sonderkommando; contemporary Jewish poetry; Anglo-American modernism and antisemitism; twentieth-century British Jewish literature and culture

Research Interests

  • Holocaust testimony and memorialisation
  • The Scrolls of Auschwitz
  • Representations of the Auschwitz Sonderkommando
  • Contemporary Jewish poetry
  • Anglo-American modernism and antisemitism, esp. Pound, Lewis and Eliot
  • Twentieth-century British Jewish literature and culture

The main focus of my current research is on representations of the Auschwitz Sonderkommando, ranging from the framing of their testimony in post-war trials to novels and films in which they appear as characters to their presence in sub-cultural forms such as comics and extreme metal music.


ARTF3034 From Trauma to Cultural Memory

ARTF5031M Unfinished Business



  • Chare N, Williams D (2015) Matters of Testimony Interpreting the Scrolls of Auschwitz.

  • Chare N, Williams D (2013) Representing Auschwitz At the Margins of Testimony. Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Durão F, Williams D (2008) Modernist Group Dynamics The Politics and Poetics of Friendship. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Journal articles

  • Williams D (2018) “Figuring the Grey Zone: The Auschwitz Sonderkommando in Contemporary Culture”, Holocaust Studies.
    DOI: 10.1080/17504902.2018.1472880, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/131959/

  • Williams DP (2017) “Punch and the Pogroms: Eastern Atrocities in John Tenniel’s Political Cartoons, 1876–1896”, RACAR. 42.1: 32-47.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/120294/

  • Chare N, Williams DP (2016) “Questions of Filiation: From the Scrolls of Auschwitz to Son of Saul”, Mémoires en jeu / Memories at stake. 2: 63-72.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/120296/

  • Williams DP, Marinkova M (2015) “Affective Trans-scapes: Affect, Translation, and Landscape in Erín Moure’s The Unmemntioable”, Contemporary Women's Writing. 9.1: 73-92.
    DOI: 10.1093/cww/vpu036

  • Williams D (2010) ““NO HISTORY TO SPEAK OF”: JEWISHNESS AND MODERNISM IN JOHN RODKER'S MEMOIRS OF OTHER FRONTS (1932)”, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. 9.3: 289-310.
    DOI: 10.1080/14725886.2010.518443


  • Chare N; Williams D (eds.) (2013) “'The dead are my teachers': The Scrolls of Auschwitz in Jerome Rothenberg's Khurbn”, In: Chare N; Williams D (eds.) Representing Auschwitz: At the Margins of Testimony. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 58-84

Research Projects & Grants

British Academy Small Research Grant 2010-11
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship 2005-07

PhD Thesis

Modernism, Antisemitism and Jewish Identity in the Writing and Publishing of John Rodker

This thesis examines the relationship between the English Jewish writer and publisher John Rodker and the modernism of the Pound circle. Previous considerations of the antisemitism of Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot have either ignored or cited in their defence their Jewish friends and acquaintances. This thesis shows that the modernist interest in the figure of ‘the Jew’ took effect not only in their poetry and social commentary but also in the social grouping which they formed in order to produce and circulate this writing. Rodker was both a necessary figure to Pound’s theory and practice of modernism, but one who had to be kept on the margins. This resulted in his being able to articulate certain aspects of his experience as an assimilated Jew—loss, disconnection, feeling out of place—while excluding any other possible aspects, including naming himself as Jewish.

Chapter 1 shows that Pound and Eliot’s antisemitic statements and poetry functioned as part of the formation of the ‘men of 1914’, and as a means of shocking their audience through a poetry of ugliness. Chapter 2 considers a printing error in Rodker’s Ovid Press edition of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), and reads it as a sign of Pound’s failure to carry out his social and poetic project, a failure which he blamed on Jews, but, because this failure was inevitable, part of the task for carrying the project out was assigned to Jews. Chapter 3 reads Rodker’s volume of poetry Hymns (1920), and traces how his marginal position within modernism resulted in a poetry which did not directly address Jewish issues, but was affected by his Jewish social position. Chapter 4 considers Rodker and two other Jewish writers, Carl Rakosi and Louis Zukofsky, who Pound published in The Exile (1927-28), showing that Pound’s interest in these writers was combined with an unease with them that played out in editorial decisions and means of framing their work. Chapter 5 examines Rodker’s Memoirs of Other Fronts (1932). His self-descriptions of himself as a foreigner are shown to be still influenced by the Pound circle’s ideas of Jews, but also reworked through his increasing interest in psychoanalysis.



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