Monthly Archives: July 2014

What do you think?

Dear GSNA Members:

Let us know what you think of the new design. All comments, concerns, and ideas are welcome (and will be made anonymous, if you wish). We will pool your suggestions, and the board will take them up at the Atkins Conference in Pittsburgh this fall.

The Webmaster

Call for Papers: 2015 ASECS

Goethe Society of North America (GSNA) Session at ASECS, Los Angeles, March 2015

The Idea of Europe in the Goethezeit

Convener, John H. Smith, Dept. of European Languages and Studies, University of California, Irvine

The decades around 1800 in German-speaking countries saw major developments in the arts, society, politics, and philosophy that fostered thinking about both nationalism and cosmopolitanism. But the idea of “Europe,” which one could say lies between those two poles, also became a focus. Paul Michael Lützeler explored the topic of “Goethe and Europe” in his South Atlantic Quarterly essay (2000), which we can take as a point of departure for this session. We will explore the way Europe was conceived in relation to questions of both national identity and universalism for thinkers of the late Enlightenment, Classicism, Idealism, and Romanticism.

Please send 250-word proposals to John H. Smith by September 5, 2014.

From the Editor of the Book Series

Our latest book, How Origins Matter: The History of Heredity in Romanticism, by Christine Lehleiter, is in production. Other projects are under review or being revised. We continue to  encourage submissions from our members, their friends, and those who find us in other ways.

Jane K. Brown
University of Washington

2014 GSA Panels

Special GSNA Sessions at the
Annual Convention of the German Studies Association
September 18-21, 2014, in Kansas City, Missouri

Organizer: John Lyon, University of Pittsburgh

The Poetics of Space in the Goethezeit I: Political Spaces

Moderator: Tove Holmes, McGill University
Commentator: John Lyon, University of Pittsburgh

  1. Christian Weber, Florida State University:
    “An Explosive Compression of Space: Kleist’s Anecdotal ‘Tagesbegebenheiten’ in the Berliner Abendblätter
  2. Hamid Tafazoli, University of Luxembourg:
    “Poetologische Funktion des Raumes in Goethes West-östlichem Divan
  3. Joseph O’Neil, University of Kentucky:
    “Goethe and the Spatial Trope in Political Theology”
The Poetics of Space in the Goethezeit II: Spatial Configurations in the Wilhelm Meister Novels

Moderator: Hamid Tafazoli, University of Luxembourg
Commentator: Christian Weber, Florida State University

  1. Colin Benert, DePaul University/ University of Chicago:
    “The Space of Memory in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre
  2. Jason Groves, Yale University:
    “The Shock of the Earth: Geoaesthetics in the Goethezeit
  3. Christina Hinz, Johns Hopkins University:
    “Spatial Movements and Astronomical Formations in Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre oder Die Entsagenden
The Poetics of Space in the Goethezeit III: Literary Landscapes, Soundscapes, and Mindscapes

Moderator: Joseph O’Neil, University of Kentucky
Commentator: Elliott Schreiber, Vassar College

  1. Tove Holmes, McGill University:
    “Viewing Spaces: Literary Landscapes around 1800”
  2. Alexander Sorenson, University of Chicago:
    “Hearing das Unerhörte: Sense and the Space of Haunting in Gottfried August Bürger’s Lenore and Heinrich von Kleist’s Das Bettelweib von Locarno
  3. Stephanie Großman and Stefan Halft, University of Passau:
    “Entering the Romantic Mindscape: Changing Concepts of Space in Eichendorff’s Marmorbild and Hoffmann’s Die Bergwerke zu Falun

From the President

Das Römische Karneval ist ein Fest, das dem Volke eigentlich nicht gegeben wird, sondern das sich das Volk selbst gibt.

Mark this date on your calendar!

OCTOBER 23-26, 2014:

Not quite three years ago we gathered in Chicago for our second international conference, which Mr. Stuart Atkins generously endowed in honor of his parents, Lillian and Stuart P. Atkins. With Mr. Atkins’s continuing generosity, as well as additional support from the University of Pittsburgh, we will gather for the second time in six years in Pittsburgh to convene the Goethe Atkins Conference again—in the spirit of Goethe’s characterization of the Roman Carneval—as a festive event of intellectual exchange that our community of North American Goethe scholars organizes for itself.

At the end of this note you can find links that will take you, virtually for now, to the conference site. So if you have not already, please go there to (1) submit a proposal for a paper and/or a panel by APRIL 1; (2) submit a proposal for the dissertation workshop, also by APRIL 1; (3) register for the conference AS SOON AS POSSIBLE; and (4) register at the conference hotel by AUGUST 1. (NB: There are other university events that weekend that would gladly use the rooms we’ve reserved, so I strongly recommend that you make your hotel reservations as soon as you are sure that you plan attending!)

We are looking forward to organizing as many as twenty sessions for Friday and Saturday. And while the flow of electronic submissions of proposals has begun, there is still time to prepare and submit one by the April 1 deadline. I urge our graduate student members who are dissertating to submit their proposals as well. With this work then complete, Heather Sullivan, Horst Lange, and I will move quickly ahead with the task of choreographing the contributions into an exciting program.

Beyond the usual array of sessions, we will feature two eminent keynote speakers, Jane Brown of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken of the Freies Deutsches Hochstift in Frankfurt. And we will continue for the third time, with the help of Daniel Purdy, to organize the highly successful Dissertation Workshop, as well as the Presidential Forum, where Astrida Tantillo, Ellis Dye, and Simon Richter will exchange views on the current (or perpetual) crisis in the humanities from a Goethean perspective. Finally, I am still working to convene a roundtable discussion or workshop with representatives of international Goethe Societies and other cultural institutions in order to discuss projects of cooperation, as well as exchange views on how best to foster our shared mission as mediators of Goethe and his Age across national borders.

In addition to all the “serious” events, there will also be ample opportunity in Pittsburgh to gather as friends and celebrate our shared scholarly passions. We will be providing useful information about the city’s cultural resources and restaurants on the conference website, but I can already mention three events on the program that I think you’ll want to attend. The opening reception will be held early Thursday evening on the University campus near the conference hotel. So please plan your flights accordingly. There will be plenty to eat and to drink there, but for those who are still hungry, you will be close to an array of restaurants that serve the university communities in this part of the city. I also hope that you will have time during your stay to visit an exhibition of rare books and other Goetheana in the Special Collections Room of the Hillman Library that I am putting together. Its provisional title is “Reading Goethe and Goethe as Reader.”

On a final, celebratory note, I’m excited to report success in locating our conference banquet on Saturday evening in the Andy Warhol Museum. So please be sure to book your return flights on Sunday and not before! I’ve already acquired funds to help underwrite this event, which will include an exhibition of all the Goethe serigraphs by Warhol, as well as some comments on this familiar image by the Museum Director, Eric Shiner. We will have the entire museum to ourselves for a few hours, and plans for a small Goethe installation at the museum are currently under discussion with a younger artist who has Pittsburgh roots.

I hope to see many of you this fall, which is a lovely season in this region west of the Alleghenies. You will, I am sure, find our city and campus welcoming. If you attended one of our events in Pittsburgh or Chicago, you know how lively and enjoyable they can be. If you did not, please think about beginning your triennial trek to the Atkins Goethe Conference this October.

Auch schmeicheln wir uns, solchen Personen zu dienen, welche dem Römischen Karneval selbst einmal beigewohnt und sich nun mit einer lebhaften Erinnerung jener Zeiten vergnügen mögen; nicht weniger solchen, welchen jene Reise noch bevorsteht und denen diese wenigen Blätter Übersicht und Genuß einer überdrängten und vorbeirauschenden Freude verschaffen können.


Visit the 2014 Atkins Conference web site!

See especially the tabs on

Submit a Proposal
Dissertation Workshop
Hotel Reservation
Registration will open soon

Clark Muenzer
University of Pittsburgh

From the Secretary-Treasurer

In an ongoing effort to increase the strength of the society, the GSNA is always looking for new members. We ask for your assistance in this endeavor. If you know of any scholars or other interested parties who are interested in the Age of Goethe, but are not yet members, would you please encourage them to join the society? We are particularly interested in recruiting younger scholars—current and recent graduate students—to ensure the society’s future for decades to come. Joining is simple. Thanks for your support in this endeavor.

Claire Baldwin
Colgate University

From the Newsletter Editor

It’s official. After the first newsletter was mailed in 1980, Goethe News and Notes 33.1 (Spring 2013) is the last number you will receive in hard copy.

We hate to add to the woes of the U.S. Postal Service, we hate even more to alienate those among you who prefer the yellow missive, but the decision to end paper distribution was really long overdue. Switching to electronic delivery is not only environmentally friendly but it also makes economic sense. It allows us to keep our membership dues low (here, our Secretary-Treasurer would like me to remind you to pay your 2013 dues, if you haven’t already done so) while continuing to provide the kinds of services you have come to expect from the Goethe Society – from our publications, conferences, panels, and prizes to the support of young scholars, like-minded organizations, and the occasional worthwhile endeavor.

If you know you are on our listserv (you are if you have received your fair share of quotation queries over the past few years), you need do nothing. If you are not on the listserv, or if you are unsure, or if you would like to receive the newsletter on a different email account, just send your name and email address to

We appreciate your understanding and hope you agree that the move to electronic dissemination is in the best interest of our Society.

Burkhard Henke
Davidson College

From the Yearbook Editors

Volume 21 of the Goethe Yearbook is well on its way. It contains eleven original articles that reflect the diversity of our society: there are contributions by several generations of German scholars, including pieces by David Wellbery and Katharina Mommsen, as well as innovative articles on women writers (Unger, Günderode) and several fascinating interdisciplinary pieces, ranging from an analysis of illustrations of Goethe’s works to a discussion of contemporary psychological and medical theories of ill humor in relation to Goethe’s Werther and an economic reading of Goethe’s Faust. In addition, the volume features sophisticated theoretical approaches to Goethe’s works, including an article on concepts of space in Alexis und Dora and one on notions of sacrifice in Faust. Finally, there is a study of Goethe reception around 1900 and a discussion of Albrecht von Haller’s works. We would like to use this opportunity to express our gratitude to Stanford University whose generous financial support made it possible to hire a copyeditor and thus has expedited the process considerably.

We are delighted to announce that volume 22 of the Goethe Yearbook will feature a special section on Goethe and ecocriticism. The editors of this section, Dalia Nassar and Luke Fisher, invite contributions on environmental aesthetics, ethics, and philosophy, ecopoetics, Goethe’s legacy in the environmental movement, and environmental activism. Find the Call for Papers below. The deadline is March 31, 2014. Please note that, in addition to this special section, we will continue to publish contributions on all aspects of Goethezeit literature and culture in the next yearbook. We hope to hear from many of you and particularly welcome contributions by younger scholars. Please direct all correspondence to Adrian Daub at and Elisabeth Krimmer at Manuscript submissions should follow the Chicago Manual of Style and confine themselves to less than 35 pages. For specific questions about scholarly citations, please consult the Yearbook’s style sheet.

As always, the entire run of back issues is available on Project MUSE.

Adrian Daub
Stanford University

Elisabeth Krimmer
University of California at Davis

CFP: 2014 Goethe Yearbook

CFP for a Special Section of the 2014 Goethe Yearbook
Goethe and Environmentalism
Guest Editors: Dalia Nassar and Luke Fischer

Over the past few decades, new movements have emerged in literary studies and philosophy (ecocriticism, ecopoetics, environmental philosophy etc.) that are concerned with the relationship between humanity and the natural environment, and the cultural dimension of the environmental crisis. While much attention has been given to the environmental legacy of romanticism, only a small amount of scholarship has focused on Goethe. In light of the central significance of nature in Goethe’s literary, theoretical and scientific texts, it could be argued that Goethe was a major forerunner of the environmental movement and that his ideas continue to be relevant in the present context. The aim of this special section of the Goethe Yearbook is to bring together various perspectives on Goethe’s relevance for environmental thought and, more specifically, to shed light on the environmental significance of Goethe’s legacy and on the potential of his ideas to contribute to contemporary debates in the environmental humanities. We welcome the submission of articles on Goethe’s significance for the following topics:

  • Environmental aesthetics
  • Ecocriticism
  • Ecopoetics
  • Environmental philosophy
  • Environmental ethics
  • Environmental management
  • Goethe’s legacy in the environmental movement
  • Environmental activism

Submission deadline: March 31, 2014

Please send submissions to the guest editors at: and

Please note that, in addition to this special section, we will continue to publish contributions on all aspects of Goethezeit literature and culture in the next yearbook. We hope to hear from many of you and particularly welcome contributions by younger scholars.

Adrian Daub
Stanford University

Elisabeth Krimmer
University of California at Davis

2014 Atkins Goethe Conference

Imagining Worlds: Aesthetics and its Institutions in the Age of Goethe
University of Pittsburgh, 23-26 October 2014

The Goethe Society is delighted to announce the 2014 Atkins Goethe Conference, to be held in Pittsburgh next year.

Learn more about the conference.

We are soliciting papers of 20 minutes, as well as proposals for panels, that address the wide range of cultural, scientific, philosophical, and socio-political practices during the Age of Goethe that imagined and constructed meaningful worlds. The goal of the program is to consider the various ways that Goethe and his contemporaries understood and used aesthetic categories across the range of disciplines, as well as the impact of their work on aesthetic theoreticians and practitioners from the 19th through 21st centuries. We want to organize sessions that consider not only the nature of art, but also the theoretical and institutional roles of art and aesthetics in the construction of nature and science, self and society, culture and politics, etc. Papers/panels might address:

  • Topics in the fine arts (music and opera; dance; theater; painting, drawing, and sculpture; architecture; gardens) or decorative arts
  • Art as a literary motif
  • The aesthetics of genre in Goethe and his contemporaries
  • Aesthetic self-fashioning and aesthetic education in Weimar
  • The role of oppositional aesthetic categories in constructing social and political spaces (the beautiful vs. the sublime, the ugly, or the grotesque; harmony vs. carnival or chaos; purity vs. corruption or pollution; etc.)
  • Critiques of aesthetic categories and institutions from the 18th-21st centuries
  • Nature and Art: continuities and discontinuities
  • Cultural institutions (collecting; collected works; museums; schools; libraries; the theater; reading; salons; publishing; etc.)
  • Aesthetic sociality (Geselligkeit): conversation and epistolary correspondence
  • Festivities as socio-aesthetic form
  • Representation (image; metaphor; symbol and allegory; representing affect), including representations of Goethe in art from the 18th century to the present

To be considered, please submit a proposal (250 words) by 1 April 2014.

Direct any inquiries to Clark Muenzer.

2012 Essay Prize

terhorstCongratulations to Eleanor ter Horst on her award-winning article, “Masks and Metamorphoses: The Transformation of Classical Tradition in Goethe’s Römische Elegien,” German Quarterly 85.4 (2012): 401-19.

Professor Horst (Clarion University) has written a learned and spirited essay which expertly draws links between Goethe’s Römische Elegien, and the French Renaissance poet Joachim de Bellay, Horace’s Odes, Ovid’s Erotic Arts, and Aeschylus’s Oresteia, among other Classical fore bearers. Professor Horst elucidates the dialogue between these many poets to contemplate the lifespan of erotic poetry when compared to the decayed monumentality of Roman antiquity. Without ever overtly referencing “dialectical logic,” the essay’s argument shifts gently back and forth, balancing between Goethe’s sensitive appropriation of Latin poetry and his Modernist sense of distance from the ancient world.

As Goethe scholars, we are always challenged by our more contemporary colleagues to explain what possible new topics one can find in the old man’s work. The answer lies not in extracting some sliver of a previously unnoticed insight, but to synthesize the already well-established and well-read commentary on Goethe, in order to combine it with new theoretical questions in a style that makes the eighteenth century come to life in our own present. Professor Horst has done just that.

She traces the scholarly and poetic discussion of the elegy as a genre. Her argument follows Goethe’s self-reflection on the division between the public and private. She is particularly attuned to the poem’s representation of intimacy in the media age of hyper sensationalism and the best seller. Professor Horst argues with speed and grace. Her learned article displays her thorough research into two centuries of commentary on the Römische Elegien without ever falling into a ponderous pace. Her style remains light and nimble, even at its most canonical moments of explication. She structures her argument along a rapidly shifting succession of oppositions, constantly substituting one familiar contrast for a surprising juxtaposition: north-south, ancient-modern, barbaric-civilized, always with an eye to the sexual resonance of each. In a surprising turn, Professor Horst explains the cross-gender, castrating connotations of the word “Gallier.” Even Luther’s Biblical German makes an unexpected appearance in her discussion of Goethe’s mythic sexual politics. The allusions in Professor Horst’s essay are so rich and so deftly intertwined, they leave the reader exhausted and in wonder at her writerly dexterity and editorial skill in composing such a finely crafted essay.

From the Editor of the Book Series

Our latest book, Aesthetics and Secular Millenialism by Benjamin K. Bennett, was announced in the spring newsletter. Since then we have accepted one manuscript, pending approval by the Bucknell Press board, another about to go out for review, and several projects that claim to be waiting in the wings from scholars at a variety of ranks.

We continue to encourage submissions from our members, their friends, and those who find us in other ways. We welcome all approaches and perspectives. Please contact me if you are interested in submitting a manuscript.

Jane Brown
University of Washington