From the President

Last November we held the Goethe Society’s triennial Atkins Conference at Penn State University on the theme of Re-Orientations around Goethe. As in our previous meeting, 85 North American and European scholars contributed presented talks. All together, we had thirty events, including keynote addresses by Helmut Schneider from the University of Bonn and Eva Geulen from the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung at the Humboldt University of Berlin. The Presidential Forum provided a glimpse of the diversity of orientations around Goethe’s work, which was then expanded by a Pop Up Rare book exhibit on “Goethe Re-oriented,” sponsored by the Eberly Family Special Collections Library.

I am most grateful to everyone who helped run the conference. Heidi Schlipphacke and John Smith helped delicately balance the many paper proposals into focused panels. My colleague, Tom Beebee, organized the logistics here on campus. Catriona MacLeod set up the dissertation workshop for graduate students writing on Goethe topics while also leading the committee to award prizes for the best essays on the Goethezeit. Christian Weber was a steady hand on the financial side of the conference.

Some of our officers have changed roles. Birgit Tautz and Patty Simpson have taken up the editorship for the Goethe Yearbook and Elliott Schreiber has stepped in to fill the responsibilities of the Executive Secretary in organizing events at national conferences.

This spring the Goethe Society will be preparing for the next round of elections in the fall semester. In the summer, Burkhard Henke will send out announcements regarding the candidates and the online voting procedure. Our schedule will be to gather your nominations for Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, and two Directors-at-Large by May 1; send out email ballots by September 1; gather the votes by September 23; so that we can announce the results at the GSA business meeting on September 28. The new officers will fill their positions starting on January 1, 2019, with the current Vice President, Catriona MacLeod, succeeding to the Presidency.

If you have nominations please do not hesitate to send an email to John Lyons,, chair of the nominating committee, which also includes Mary Helen Dupree,, and Leif Weatherby,

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

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