ao. Univ.-Prof. i.R. Mag. Dr. Franz-Karl Wöhrer

WÖHRER Franz K. was associate professor of English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria until his retirement in Oct. 2015. He studied English, philosophy and psychology at the University of Vienna (MA 1977; PhD 1982). He was lecturer at the University of Lancaster (GB) in the Department of German Studies from 1976-77, and spent a year on a research grant for library studies at Oxford (1977-78).

He has specialized in the interdisciplinary research of mysticism and spirituality in (English) literature from the Middle Ages to the present. In his interdisciplinary approach to mystical writings he relies substantially on insights derived from the psychology of consciousness (notably C. Albrecht) and Christian spiritual theology (esp. G.B. Scaramelli).

His books include his post-doctoral thesis (habilitation) Phänomenologie Mystischer Erfahrung in der Englischen Lyrik des 17. Jhdts.-Versuch einer Interdisziplinären Hermeneutik Erlebnismystischer Texte (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2003. pp. 498), and as co-editor (with John Bak, University Lorraine) and contributor to the collection of critical essays British Literature and Spirituality: Theoretical Approaches and Transdisciplinary Readings (Münster: LIT, 2013).

He has also published several articles on the Medieval English Mystics (The Cloud-Author, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich) and the sacred poetry of George Herbert. He contributed numerous articles on topics related to the English mystics and English spirituality in the Bio-Bibliographische Kirchenlexikon (Herzberg, 1994-98) and the Wörterbuch der Mystik (Stuttgart: Kröner, 1990).

He has long-term teaching experience in academe and supervised numerous diploma- and MA-theses, and several doctoral dissertations. His special fields in teaching are Elizabethan Poetry and Drama, the Metaphysical Poets, Anglophone Literature for Teaching in the Austrian EFL Classroom, Witchcraft in English Literature and Culture, Contemporary Irish Fiction, Contemporary Irish Women Writers, Australian Aboriginal Literature.

In 2009 he convened the International Conference Interdisciplinary Approaches to Spirituality in the Literatures of the English Speaking World at the University of Vienna (jointly with John Bak, University of Lorraine). His current research interest is focused on the interface between spiritual literature, theology, psychology and neuroscience.

He has recently translated into English and edited the ground-breaking psychological study of Carl Albrecht Psychologie des Mystischen Bewußtseins. Bremen: Grünewald, 1951. The book will be published with commentaries and a critical introduction in April 2018 (Crossroad, New York) entitled Carl Albrecht's Psychology of Mystical Consciousness

His German translation of Peter Whelan's play The Herbal Bed (1996) was published in the autumn of 2017, entitled Das Kräuterbeet. Die Geheime Liebe von Susanna, Shakespeares Tochter.

He is currently working on a commented English edition of Albrecht's study Das Mystische Erkennen (1958).


Selected Articles

“Recent Behaviourist Approaches to Mystical Experience and the Heuristic Function of the Humanities in the Future Study of Spirituality.” Storey, Francois and Claude Le-Fustec, eds. Approches Transdisciplinaires de la Spiritualité. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2015.

“ ‘The Sense of Presence’ as a Mode of Mystical Experience in the Mystographical Poems of George Herbert: An Interdisciplinary Approach.” Wöhrer, Franz K., and John S. Bak, eds. British Literature and Spirituality: Theoretical Approaches and Transdisciplinary Readings. Wöhrer, F. K. and John Bak, eds. Münster: LIT, 2013. 1-30.

“A Multidisciplinary Approach to Spiritual Literature: Some Theoretical Considerations and Practical Examples.” Kaenel, André, Claire Omhovère and Richard Samin, eds. Questioning Interdisciplinarity, Nancy: Nancy UP, 2009. 131-47. 

 “Zur Phänomenologie des ‘geistlichen Schlafs‘ (goostly sleep) in der englischen Mystik des Spätmittelalters.“ Haug, Walter and Wolfram Schneider-Lastin, eds. Deutsche Mystik im Abendländischen Zusammenhang. Neu Erschlossene Texte, neue Methodische Ansätze, neue Theoretische Konzepte. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2000. 725-48.

“The Cloud of Unknowing : A Late Medieval Example of Apophatic Spiritual Guidance.” Studies in Spirituality (Louvain, Belgium) 7 (1997): 113-44.