Editor Sought for the Goethe Yearbook

Call to fill the position of editor for the Yearbook of the North American Goethe Society

As the current editors have successfully served their five-year term, the Society is now welcoming applications to fill the position for the next five year term.

For scholars interested in serving as the next editor, please send a letter of application, c.v., and a brief 500-word statement about your scholarly engagement with German literature in the Goethezeit, as well as your vision for the Yearbook. Please include in your statement the extent of institutional support you may receive during your term. Joint applications for co-editorship are welcome.

Please send applications by June 15, 2017 to Daniel Purdy, dlp14@psu.edu.

From the President

This coming Fall, November 3-5, 2017, we will be gathering together for the next Atkins Goethe Conference on the campus of Penn State University. Established with an endowment from Mr. Stuart Atkins to honor his parents Lillian and Stuart P. Atkins, this year’s international Atkins conference again hopes to attract a wide range of Goethe scholars from all over the world to present their newest research on German culture across the period of Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s life, 1749-1832.

Re-Orientations around Goethe, the topic for this Atkins Conference, encourages us to revive the vital questions that so dramatically transformed life around 1800 by demonstrating how they still matter in our own era. We have the opportunity to confirm that the principles of the Enlightenment have not been superseded in the global world, that the realization of true freedom requires us to cultivate the entire person not just a single skill, that the experience of nature can still transform our lives. Goethe’s writing and the work of his contemporaries remind us that the beauty of poetry and philosophy outlasts the political maneuvers of courtiers and adventurers. At the same time, Re-Orientations around Goethe provides us with the occasion to explore the long history of our own era by discovering that many contemporary debates about the environment, media, scientific knowledge, global politics, gender, and sexuality also had their place in the eighteenth century.

Submissions for papers and panels have already started arriving, so I urge you to send your 200-word proposals by April 15 to goethesociety-l@lists.psu.edu. See the Call for Papers here.

Heidi Schlipphacke, John Smith, and I will organize the papers into panels by the end of May so that everyone has ample time over the summer.

The Goethe Society has just recently allocated funds to reimburse travel costs for select graduate students, non-tenure track scholars, and foreign academics who present a paper at the conference. This is a new program, so please let your students and colleagues know that they can request such support when they send in their proposals by including a travel budget.

In addition to panels of academic papers on Friday and Saturday, we will also hold a dissertation workshop, organized by the Goethe Society’s Vice President, Catriona MacLeod. This workshop has been very successful over the past conferences as it has provided students with supportive peer responses, while introducing new colleagues to the Society. Please let your students know that their chapter proposals are welcome.

Along with the panels of Society members, two familiar and renowned Goethezeit scholars from Germany will provide keynote addresses. We are very pleased that Helmut Schneider, Professor emeritus from the Universität Bonn, and Eva Geulen, director of the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung and Professor at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, will speak to us.

Fall is a beautiful time in Central Pennsylvania. The Penn State campus is easily accessible by automobile, bus, and air travel. The local University Park airport (SCE) is ten minutes from the university and it provides connections to major hubs in the Northeast. Rooms have been set aside at the Nittany Lion Inn on campus, and other arrangements are being made as you read this. We can’t wait to see you in November.

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

From the Vice President

Call for Goethezeit dissertation

In order to encourage and support research in the Age of Goethe, the Goethe Society of North America organizes dissertation workshops at its international Atkins conferences, held every three years. As you know, this year’s conference will be held in State College, PA.

Participating students, who are selected on the basis of their dissertation prospectus and a letter from their adviser, are all awarded a Gloria Flaherty Scholarship in the amount of $500 plus a waiver of the conference fee. More importantly, they participate in panel discussions, where they are engaged in conversation by senior scholars in their field who direct comments and questions to their projects.

All applicants are expected to join the GSNA (for just $10!). Membership includes the Society’s newsletter twice each year, as well as a copy of the Yearbook of the Goethe Society of North America. See our web site for more information.

The dissertation workshop will be held on Sunday, November 5, 2017. Graduate students interested in participating are asked to submit a c.v., one dissertation chapter, and a prospectus by April 1, 2014, along with a letter from the dissertation advisor briefly evaluating the student’s project and describing its progress.

Submit your materials, and direct any questions, to Catriona MacLeod at cmacleod@sas.upenn.edu.

With this continuing commitment, the GSNA hopes to contribute to the academic and intellectual success of graduate students engaged in Goethe studies and quite possibly to identify new talent for the Goethe Yearbook and our book series.

Catriona MacLeod
University of Pennsylvania

From the Editor of the Book Series

We want to announce a change to our editorial policy: in response to multiple author inquiries, and with the strong support of the GSNA board, we have begun accepting proposals for edited essay collections. As always though, we remain very committed to publishing your single-authored monographs.

Vance Byrd’s fascinating study, A Pedagogy of Observation: Nineteenth-Century Panoramas, German Literature, and Reading Culture, will be going into production soon. Look for it in the coming months!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me with any inquiries.

Karin Schutjer
University of Oklahoma

From the Yearbook Editors

Volume 24 of the Goethe Yearbook is currently in the final stages of typesetting and should be in your mailboxes by late spring. It will contain a special section on the “Poetics of Space and Place in the Goethezeit,” co-edited by Elliott Schreiber and John B. Lyon, as well as standalone articles on Caroline de la Motte Fouqué, on widow-burning in Karoline von Günderrode, on ontology and signification in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Sandmann, on “Educational Environments in Goethe and Kleist,” on F.H. Jacobi’s Allwill, and on Goethe’s Divan as reflected in Thomas Lehr’s novel September. Fata Morgana (2010). Once again we are very pleased that this volume brings together very diverse scholarship, and that our contributors once again run the gamut from graduate students to emeriti. And our new book review editor Sean Franzel has brought together more than 20 thoughtful reviews of recent publications relevant to the Goethezeit.

We are well on our way towards putting together the twenty-fifth volume of the Yearbook. It will contain a special section on “What Goethe heard,” edited by Mary Helen Dupree. However, it will also contain a large number of standalone articles. As always, we would be thrilled if you submitted a manuscript, or encouraged your students and colleagues to do so. Manuscript submissions should reach us by late May, preferably earlier. 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. Note that the entire run of back issues is available on Project MUSE.

Finally, Volume 25 will be the last Goethe Yearbook under our auspices. So please give some thought to putting your name forward when the GSNA begins its search for our successors. We have really loved our time shepherding this wonderful journal, and we are quite sure you would too!

Adrian Daub
Stanford University

Elisabeth Krimmer
University of California at Davis


From the Book Review Editor

As always, I encourage you to let me know if there are particular areas of research that you are interested in reviewing for the Goethe Yearbook. Please send books for review and suggestions for books for review to:

Professor Sean Franzel
Department of German and Russian Studies
University of Missouri
428 Strickland Hall
Columbia MO, 65211
Telephone: (573) 882-4328
Fax: (573) 884-8456

From the Secretary-Treasurer

Good news! This year we also offer 3-year memberships from 2017 through 2019 for all categories, see table below. This option will be available only every three years, i.e., in each year of the Atkins Goethe Conference (2017, 2020 etc.). The rates are the same as the regular annual dues times three, but if you choose the 3-year option and pay via PayPal, the processing fees will be included.

Besides saving money, the other benefit of this new option is convenience: Your membership dues will be covered until the next Atkins Goethe Conference. That way, whenever you receive the CFP for the Atkins Goethe Conference, you know that it is time to renew your GSNA membership. I hope that you will take advantage of this option.

Of course, there is also still time to pay your membership for the past year 2016. Please remember that the next Goethe Yearbook will be sent only to members who paid their dues for 2016. If you are uncertain about your current dues status, please contact me at cweber@fsu.edu.

  1 year 3 years (2017-19)
junior member $25 $75
senior member (tenured faculty) $35 $105
patron (please consider becoming one) $100 $280
emeritus $10 $30
student $10 $30
institution $40

Sussman Prize: Call for Submissions

The executive committee seeks nominations or self-nominations for its annual Richard Sussman Essay Prize for the best essay published in 2016 on Goethe’s contributions to the sciences and on Goethe in the history of science.

Please submit a copy of the essay (electronic version preferred) by April 15, 2017 to the Society’s Vice-President, Catriona MacLeod: Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures, University of Pennsylvania, 745 Williams Hall, 255 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305 (cmacleod@sas.upenn.edu).

The following articles are eligible:

  1. articles written by a North American scholar (defined by institutional affiliation at the time of publication); or
  2. articles written by a current member of the GSNA; or
  3. articles published in the Goethe Yearbook.

NB: Articles by current GSNA board members are not eligible. GSNA members are encouraged to submit their own articles for consideration.

GSNA Essay Prize: Call for Submissions

The executive committee seeks nominations or self-nominations for its annual GSNA Essay Prize that honors the best essays on Goethe, his times, and/or contemporary figures, published in the year 2016. Each prize carries an award of $500.

Please submit a copy of the essay (electronic version preferred) by April 15, 2017 to the Society’s Vice-President, Catriona MacLeod: Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures, University of Pennsylvania, 745 Williams Hall, 255 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305 (cmacleod@sas.upenn.edu).

The following articles are eligible:

  1. articles written by a North American scholar (defined by institutional affiliation at the time of publication); or
  2. articles written by a current member of the GSNA; or
  3. articles published in the Goethe Yearbook.

NB: Articles by current GSNA board members are not eligible. GSNA members are encouraged to submit their own articles for consideration.

Call for Papers: Joint Panel at MLA 2018

The Goethe Society of North America and the MLA forum on Comparative Literature and Culture Studies of the 18th century invite proposals for the following collaborative panel:

New Philology, Media Ecology

This panel invites papers that engage media philology (Medienphilologie) and/or media ecology in their relation and application to 18th-century literary texts. What is media philology? Why is the nexus of philology and media of current interest? Why does the Anglo-American world embrace media ecology rather than philology? And what are the unique contributions of media philology and media ecology, respectively? All approaches addressing these questions are welcome, particularly in relation to media and mediality, intermediality, the archive, philology and antiquarian studies, and disciplinary boundaries within the Humanities.

1-page abstracts by March 15, 2017, to Birgit Tautz at btautz@bowdoin.edu and Nicholas Rennie at nicholas.rennie@rutgers.edu.


Call for Papers: MLA 2018

Panel sponsored by the Goethe Society of North America, proposed by Fritz Breithaupt (University of Indiana)

Goethe’s Narrative Forms

Given Goethe’s sense of style and his many astounding insights, it is easy to forget Goethe the story-teller. Narratives are everywhere in Goethe’s work, including his poetry that is rich in implicit narratives. But what are the larger or smaller narrative patterns that emerge from his stories? What is his (implicit) theory of narrative events in Die Novelle but also his dramas? What are the specific ways the perspectives of characters make up stories in Goethe’s texts? How do suspense, doubt, ambiguity, and plurality of possible versions establish the narratives in his texts? What role does retrospection and framing play? Which affects structure the plot lines? What is the narrative interplay between the every-day life and the exceptional mental states of the characters?

Please send abstracts of approx. 1 page and bio blurb to Fritz Breithaupt at fbreitha@indiana.edu by March 17.


Call for Papers: 2017 Atkins Goethe Conference

Re-Orientations around Goethe

2017 Atkins Goethe Conference
Organized by the North American Goethe Society
November 3-4, 2017
Pennsylvania State University

Send 200-word paper proposals to goethesociety-l@lists.psu.edu by April 15, 2017.

From Kant’s Copernican Revolution and France’s political earthquake to Goethe’s rediscovery of the Orient, spatial metaphors, such as re-orientation allow us to examine how art, politics, philosophy, and science were redefined in the seminal decades around 1800.

Not only does “Reorientation” invoke the important revolutions of the era, but it also encourages us to reconsider our understanding of the historical period’s distinguishing characteristics. How do we decide what the essential features of the “Goethezeit” are? By focusing on the artistic, social, and philosophic changes during Goethe’s lifetime, can we isolate the era’s unique qualities?

The spatial focus of this tri-annual Goethe Society conference leads us to reconsider the intellectual practices that caused writers to set and erase conceptual boundaries, from Enlightenment epistemology to the Romantic fascination with losing one’s way to the invention of World Literature. With an inevitable dialectical turn, the logic of spatial categories also invites us to reconsider the organization of history, so that we may find different temporalities and experiences of time by looking back.

Reorientations will expand the already burgeoning scholarship on the relationship of German culture with Europe’s expanding domination over the globe. We will encourage scholars to re-evaluate the place of German thought within the broader discourses of science, trade, and colonialism throughout the world. Goethe’s espousal of world literature is most certainly a re-orientation of media networks away from the national.

Even as Reorientations urges us to explore spatial turns within literature, but it also acknowledges that recent scholarship has also moved from the geographical to the atmospheric realm, so that meteorological and climactic concerns in poetry and prose have found a crucial new importance. By reconsidering these familiar terms we can draw connections between the culture around Weimar and our own environmental crises and informational ecologies.

Re-orientations will examine both how the era from 1749 to 1832 brought with it massive political, intellectual and artistic revolutions, but also how scholarship on this period has refocused critical analysis on questions such as the interaction of humans with their environment, or the inter-dependencies between philosophy and science. Is the reorientation of aesthetics onto Naturphilosophie also a redeployment of images and terms from religious discourse? To what extent does the increasing prominence of concepts such as “fluidity,” “porosity,” or “plasticity” give voice to a new orientation in the scientific study of nature and aesthetics?

Reorientations emboldens us to find a new understanding of Romantic irony and Idealist self-consciousness. The term speaks to Idealism’s critical self examination of philosophical consciousness: the basic notion that subjectivity is not only orientated towards the outside world, but also back onto itself so that it engages in observations about its own subject-object relationships.

Reorientations spurs us to reconcile the era’s devotion to Classical culture with modern notions of progress and advancement. We will consider how literature re-orients itself away from the conventions of established genres onto the experiences of subjectivity. How were the ends of the Enlightenment, which Kant, Lessing, and Mendelssohn considered far from attained, re-directed by subsequent generations? How were established literary genres, such as tragedy, rerouted from the misfortunes of monarchs to the misadventures of more humble individuals? How did the novel become ever more minutely concerned with the socialization of the individual? On the level of the text, Reorientations also calls attention to the sudden redirections in plot within familiar narratives, –the unexpected turn of events that reveal previously unrecognized truths.

Reorientations rouses us to consider the demise of the Holy Roman Empire and the redrawing of Central European boundaries under Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna. Reorientations speaks to the domestic politics of an era that also called for the emancipation of women, Jews, slaves. Anthropological thinkers fixated on previously unrecognized features in order to reorient the classificatory systems used to define the “human”. The era saw the discovery of childhood as well as the first formulations of racial theories organizing humans according to skin color.

We will also question the extent to which literature reflects the era’s transformation of social institutions, whereby groups such as the nuclear family were re-codified in order to fulfill specialized biological and pedagogical purposes. To what extent did the literature of the Goethezeit reorient gender identity and sexuality?

From the President

Members of the Goethe Society gathered this year in San Diego at the German Studies Association convention where there were inspiring panels on Goethe, some sponsored by the Society such as “Goethe at Play,” others emerging spontaneously. Vice President Catriona MacLeod together with the Directors at large, Heidi Schlipphacke and John Smith, awarded prizes for the best essay at the annual reception. This year we thank Elizabeth Powers, long-time Goethe Society member and scholar, for her endowment of the Richard Sussman Essay Prize for the best essay on Goethe’s contribution to the sciences and the history of science during the Goethezeit.

Many of us are sad to see Simon Richter step away from the editorial board of the Goethe Book Series at Bucknell University Press. Simon has had tremendous influence on the growth of the Goethe Society. He was the first editor of the Goethe Yearbook after Thomas Saine retired. Later he became president of the Society. Simon has always been very conscious of his responsibility to carry forward the intellectual aspirations of the first members of the Goethe Society and he has been kind in passing along that sense of continuity to the scholars who have come after him. With an ear to Simon’s recollections about the older generation, we sent out a call for recollections about the first years of the Goethe Society. Meredith Lee and Ehrhard Bahr have gathered together their memories to recount the practical and intellectual goals in founding the North American Goethe Society. You can find their histories included here in this newsletter.

The next conference of the Goethe Society will be held November 3-4, 2017 at Penn State University. A full description of the overarching topic “Re-Orientations around Goethe” was included in the previous newsletter and a formal Call for Papers will be published later this fall. We look forward to your joining us next year. Penn State University is serviced by the University Park Airport (SCE), which has connections to major airline hubs. We look forward to proposals for individual papers and collective panels. More information will be coming soon.

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

From the Executive Secretary

Greetings from Maine (where we have another gorgeous fall)!

Writing this note, I am still inspired by the great panels on “Goethe and Play” at this year’s GSA (organized by Elliott Schreiber and Edgar Landgraf). But it is already time to think ahead to next year! GSA will meet in Atlanta, October 5-8, 2017. Please send me proposals for GSA panels no later than November 15th, 2016!

Meanwhile, we can look forward to two exciting panels at the MLA 2017: one, on “Goethe and Refugees,” organized by Karin Schutjer and me, and one on “What Goethe Heard,” organized by Mary Helen Dupree in collaboration with the Executive Committee on 18th and early 19th century literature. Panel proposals for MLA 2018 will be due December 1st, 2016!

Informal discussions at GSA suggested that there are many ideas for new initiatives, as well as questions and suggestions, hibernating among you! Please send all of them my way, including but not limited to new programming, ideas on recruiting more members, collaboration and support. Email me at btautz@bowdoin.edu.

Best wishes, Birgit

Birgit Tautz
Bowdoin College

2016 Business Meeting

On October 1, 2016, members of GSNA gathered at the GSA conference for our annual business meeting and cash bar. President Daniel Purdy ran the business meeting, beginning with a report on overall standing of the society, programming initiatives such as Global Goethe and the preparation of the next Atkins Goethe Conference. The conference will take place November 3-4, 2017 on the campus of Penn State University. Daniel, and our two directors-at-large, Heidi Schlipphacke and John Smith, have begun the planning process. Heidi and John are looking forward to paper and panel submissions on “Re-Orientations around Goethe.”

Heidi, John, and Vice President Catriona MacLeod formed the Prize and Awards committee this summer, reading many excellent essays on Goethe, his century, and interdisciplinary inquiries of Goethezeit. Catriona read the wonderful citations detailed in her report. She presented the prizes to two winners in attendance, Heather Sullivan and Howard M. Pollak-Milgate. We all were gratified to honor such robust and exciting scholarship, not only in the award-winning essays but also in the Goethe Yearbook and in the book series.

Elisabeth Krimmer reported on the upcoming volume of the Goethe YB, and I read Karin Schutjer’s report on the book series. Please see Catriona’s, Elisabeth’s, and Karin’s reports in this newsletter to read about all the recent and forthcoming innovative projects.

Finally, Christian Weber assured us of the society’s financial strengths in his report, including discussions about introducing multi-year membership options. Attendees floated various ideas of interest and concern to the GSNA, and we wrapped up by my calling attention to recent books by members and upcoming, society-sponsored conference panels at MLA and ASECS, all of which are an excellent complement to the stellar panel series at GSA (on Goethe and play, organized by Elliott Schreiber and Edgar Landgraf).

Birgit Tautz
Bowdoin College