Catriona MacLeod works in the area of German eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, aesthetics, and the visual arts. Her recent publications have focused on various aspects of intermediality, including narrative theory, ekphrasis, and description; objects and stuff; “minor” and “miniature” genres; and the presence of sculpture in literature and film.
Much of her recent work has been devoted to word and image studies and material culture in the context of German Classicism and Romanticism. MacLeod is now working on a new book project, Romantic Scraps: Cutouts, Collages, and Inkblots, which explores how Romantic authors and visual artists cut, glue, stain, and recycle paper; generating paper cuts, collages, and ink blot poems in profusion, and even combining them in what are for their time striking new hybrid forms such as the picture books of fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) and medical doctor and poet Justinus Kerner (1786-1862). The book has been supported by a fellowship in 2018 from the ACLS.
She is the author of Embodying Ambiguity: Androgyny and Aesthetics from Winckelmann to Keller (Wayne State University Press). Her most recent book, Fugitive Objects: Literature and Sculpture in the German Nineteenth Century, appeared in 2014 with Northwestern University Press and was awarded the Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize for best book in Romanticism Studies. MacLeod also co-edited the volume Un/Translatables: New Maps for Germanic Literatures, which appeared in 2016. That project resulted in two articles on displaced philologies connecting Kafka with his first translators into English, Edwin and Willa Muir, with reference to their role in Scottish modernist language debates over vernaculars.
Past Secretary of the International Association of Word and Image Studies, MacLeod is the co-editor of two volumes in the area of interarts scholarship: Elective Affinities: Testing Word and Image Relationships (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009) and Efficacité/Efficacy: How to Do Things with Words and Images? (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011). Since 2011, she has been senior editor of the journal Word & Image. In 2015, she was elected Vice President of the Goethe Society of North America, and became President in January, 2019.
At the University of Pennsylvania, MacLeod was the 2011 recipient of the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching in the School of Arts and Sciences.
MacLeod studied at the University of Glasgow, Scotland (M.A.) and at Harvard (Ph.D.).