Erik Tonning


Professor , British Literature and Culture


Department of Foreign Languages

Research groups


ERIK TONNING is Professor of British Literature and Culture in the University of Bergen (from 2015). In 2011-2014 he was Research Director of the ‘Modernism and Christianity’ project funded by the Bergen Research Foundation/Trond Mohn Foundation. He completed an undergraduate degree at Bergen (1999) and an MA at Oslo (2001), before going on to the University of Oxford for his DPhil (2006). He has held a Norwegian Research Council postdoctoral grant (2006-2009) for a project on ‘Samuel Beckett and Christianity’, and has also been affiliated with the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent’s Park College (2005-2010). In 2010, he held a Tutorial Fellowship at Regent’s Park College, Oxford. He has published two monographs, Samuel Beckett’s Abstract Drama: Works for Stage and Screen 1962-1985 (2007), and Modernism and Christianity (2014). He has also published severl co-edited volumes including Samuel Beckett: Debts and Legacies (Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui 22, 2010), Broadcasting in the Modernist Era (2014) and Modernism, Christianity and Apocalypse (2015). He is Series Editor (with Prof. Matthew Feldman) of the two book series Historicizing Modernism and Modernist Archives from Bloomsbury Academic.


Producer for the theatre performance Samuel Beckett in Bergen: Rockaby/Berceuse and Footfalls (with actor Rosemary Pountney and director Tore Nysæther) at Den Nasjonale Scene, Bergen.

Co-curator for the exhibition Art in Battle, due to open September 2015 at the KODE art museum, Bergen. (This exhibition was preceded by a public conference in September 2014, and Tonning is also the textual editor for the exhibition catalogue, with contributions based on the conference.)


Prof. Tonning taught for a range of Oxford colleges and the Oxford English Faculty for its English BA (2005-2010) before taking up his current teaching post in Bergen.

He has supervised PhD projects on T. S. Eliot, David Jones and mysticism; on the Christian think-tank 'The Moot'; on Ezra Pound and religion; on Samuel Beckett and Psychology; and on literariness in William Wordsworth and Virginia Woold. He welcomes supervision on both the PhD and MA level on any aspect of modernism and religion; on modernist writers like Samuel Beckett, W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, David Jones, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, and Joseph Conrad; on relationships between fascism and religion in modernism; and in general theses dealing with 19th and 20th century intellectual history in relation to 'secularisation' and/or religious renewal and theology. Theses with an archival element in their methodology, including the field of 'genetic critcism' are likewise welcome. Furthermore, he would be pleased to supervise theses in any aspect of 20th century drama, and theses dealing with theories of tragedy and tragi-comedy (even beyond the 20th century). Beyond this, he is happy to consider supervising any 19th and 20th century topic in British Literature and Culture.