Wahlen stehen ins Haus!

With the invigorating Atkins Conference at Penn State behind us, the Society is looking forward to new elections to its executive board. After Elliot Schreiber succeeded Birgit Tautz as Executive Secretary in the fall, and Birgit and Patty Simpson took over the reigns as co-editors of the Goethe Yearbook from Adrian Daub and Elisabeth Krimmer, we are now looking to fill the positions of Vice President, Director-at-Large (2x), and Secretary-Treasurer.

Our nominating committee, comprised of Mary Helen Dupree, John Lyons, and Leif Weatherby, will be glad to accept nominations and self-nominations from members. If you would like to make one, please write to the committee chair, John Lyons, at jblyon@pitt.edu, by May 1.

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, jblyon@pitt.edu, chair of the nominating committee, which also includes Mary Helen Dupree, mhd33@georgetown.edu, and Leif Weatherby, leif.weatherby@nyu.edu.

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

GSNA Essay Prize: Call for Nominations

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 2017. Each prize carries an award of $500.

Please submit a copy of the essay (electronic version preferred) by April 15, 2018 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.

Sussman Prize: Call for Nominations

The executive committee seeks nominations or self-nominations for its annual Richard Sussman Essay Prize for the best essay published in 2017 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.

From the Yearbook Editors

Our first volume as editors is well underway and will feature some work showcased first at our memorable Atkins Goethe Conference at Penn State, in addition to new scholarship from North America, Europe, and Australia. As always, we welcome manuscripts on any and all aspects of Goethe, his contemporaries, and the 18th century broadly conceived, including the century’s legacy. We also are interested in broadening the discussion, in organizing special sections, and experimenting with new forms and genres of scholarly writing. Please contact us with any and all suggestions at editors@goethesociety.org!

Note that the Goethe Yearbook is a double-blind, peer-reviewed publication, widely indexed, and published with DOIs. All manuscripts should be prepared in MS Word, and in accordance with the Yearbook’s style sheet – published on our web site – and anonymized for review. Manuscript submissions should be no longer than 8,500 words.

Patricia Anne Simpson
University of Nebraska

Birgit Tautz
Bowdoin College

From the Editor of the Book Series

This fall, two titles will be appearing in the GSNA series at Bucknell University Press, New Studies in the Age of Goethe:

  • Odysseys of Recognition: Performing Intersubjectivity in Homer, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Kleist by Ellwood Wiggins (University of Washington, Seattle)
  • Pretexts for Writing: German Romantic Prefaces, Literature, and Philosophy by Seán Williams (University of Sheffield, UK)

Bucknell University Press has now transitioned to a new partnership with Rutgers University Press, which will bring several advantages including lower cover prices and GSNA-member discounts. So this is a wonderful time to send us your proposals for monographs or edited collections! Contact me at kschutjer@ou.edu.

Karin Schutjer
University of Oklahoma

New Books by Members

Tautz, Birgit. Translating the World: Toward a New History of German Literature Around 1800. Max Kade German-American Research Institute Series. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018.

From the publisher:

In Translating the World, Birgit Tautz provides a new narrative of German literary history in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Departing from dominant modes of thought regarding the nexus of literary and national imagination, she examines this intersection through the lens of Germany’s emerging global networks and how they were rendered in two very different German cities: Hamburg and Weimar.

German literary history has tended to employ a conceptual framework that emphasizes the nation or idealized citizenry; yet the experiences of readers in eighteenth-century German cities existed within the context of their local environments, in which daily life occurred and writers such as Lessing, Schiller, and Goethe worked. Hamburg, a flourishing literary city in the late eighteenth century, was eventually relegated to the margins of German historiography, while Weimar, then a small town with an insular worldview, would become mythologized for not only its literary history but its centrality in national German culture. By interrogating the histories of and texts associated with these cities, Tautz shows how literary styles and genres are born of local, rather than national, interaction with the world. Her examination of how texts intersect and interact reveals how they shape and transform the urban cultural landscape as they are translated and move throughout the world.

A fresh, elegant exploration of literary translation, discursive shifts, and global cultural changes, Translating the World is an exciting new story of eighteenth-century German culture and its relationship to expanding global networks that will especially interest scholars of comparative literature, German studies, and literary history.

Find Translating the World here, and take 30% off with code BT17 when you order through psupress.org.

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

Call for Papers: MLA 2019

Goethe’s International Relations: Imagining the Ausland 1770-1832

This panel welcomes papers on all aspects of the national/international, foreign/domestic, heimisch/fremd/unheimlich border in the age of Goethe, for example: representations of migration, wandering, displacement, and exile; comparative literary relations and world literature; the international or trans-regional reputation of and influences on Goethe or other figures of the age; foreignness, abroad or extimate; Orientalism and cosmopolitanism; border crossings and homecomings; translation and rewriting of or by Goethe and others across national and linguistic boundaries in that period.

Please send 250-word abstracts to Joseph O’Neil (joseph.oneil@uky.edu) by March 20, 2018.

2016 Richard Sussman Prize

We are pleased to announce the 2016 winner of the Richard Susan Prize for the best essay published on Goethe’s contributions to the sciences and on Goethe in the history of science. (See a list of previous award winners here.)

Jocelyn Holland, “Observing Neutrality C. 1800,” Goethe Yearbook 23 (2016): 41-57.

This is a disciplined, far-reaching investigation into the concept of neutrality in three disciplines: science, politics, and literature. Scientific discussions of neutral, that is, non-acidic or basic, chemicals connect here with political debates and reshape future readings of Goethe’s insistence on avoiding prejudices. Jocelyn’s work on “neutrality” or “Unparteilichkeit” has also given us tremendous literary insights into Wilhelm Meister’s Lehrjahre, especially the schöne Seele, but still more widely expands into other works.

2016 Essay Prize

This year, we were again in the fortunate position to be able to award two prizes for the Goethe Society Prize. Here are our two best essays on Goethe or the Goethezeit published in 2016, with congratulations to both authors! (See a list of previous award winners here.).

Gabrielle Bersier, “‘Hamiltonian-Hendelian’ Mimoplastics and Tableau of the Underworld: The Visual Aesthetics of Goethe’s 1815 Proserpina Production.” Goethe Yearbook 23 (2016): 171-94.

This essay pays fascinating and innovative attention to the visual aspects of the underworld monologue in the rather understudied play Proserpina. Bersier elegantly illuminates the transformation in the play from static pantomime (à la Emma Hamilton and her attitudes) to dance, and its overturning of former collaborator Böttiger’s Christian priorities for the art, thus providing a move into what she calls the proto-cinematic development of pantomime. She thereby also sheds new light on Goethe’s theater productions through his ongoing interest in mimoplastics and tableaux vivants.

Bryan Klausmeyer, “Fragmenting Fragments: Jean Paul’s Poetics of the Small in “Meine Miszellen.” Monatshefte 108.4 (Winter 2016): 485-509.

Bryan Klausmeyer’s scintillating article on Jean Paul and the genre of the miscellany convinced us that genre here is not a fixed genre but rather inherently a genre of non-genre producing monstrous or hybrid possibilities that exceed even the Romantic tendency to Gesamtkunstwerke as fragments. We also appreciated the careful attention this article paid both to the materiality of writing and to small or minor forms (countering Jean Paul’s reputation as an author of excruciatingly long novels). Minor forms are often underappreciated because they defy canon, yet as Bryan shows, anticipate modern tendencies such as serialization.

Call for Papers: GSA 2018

Heterodox Thinking: Goethe and the Creation of Philosophical Concepts

Panel 1: Philosophical Conceptualization and Goethe
Panel 2: Philosophical Conceptualization in Faust and the Poetry
Panel 3: Philosophical Conceptualization in the Dramatic and Narrative Fiction
Panel 4: Philosophical Conceptualization in the Scientific and Aesthetic Works

In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Richard Rorty gives prominent mention to Goethe as a philosophical contrarian who is situated “on the margins of the history of modern philosophy.” According to Rorty, Goethe, along with other heterodox thinkers (like Kierkegaard, Santayana, James, Dewey, and Heidegger) typically shocked systematic philosophy by waging war on its foundational principles, including the conceptual structures, or universals, that have traditionally supported it. Taking a cue from Rorty’s inclusion of Goethe in his lineage of “edifying” philosophers, this series of panels will consider the writer’s re-invention of philosophical concepts as part of his own philosophical edification (Bildung). If Goethe’s relation to the received opinions (doxa) of the professors of philosophy around 1800 was fraught, as he documents in “Einwirkung der neueren Philosophie,” (1820) it also prompted him to pursue an alternative kind of philosophical method, “durch die ich die Meinungen der Philosophen, eben auch als wären es Gegenstände, zu fassen und mich daran auszubilden suchte.”

We invite paper proposals for a series of four panels that will explore Goethe’s heterodox re-thinking of philosophical concepts.

Papers for three of the panels will focus on specific conceptual investments in Faust and the poetry, the plays and the narrative fiction, and the scientific and aesthetic works. Proposals for these work-specific papers, which we envision as “entries” in a Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts for Goethe, should explore the semantic range of a single linguistic marker. We are especially interested in examining concepts that Deleuze and Guattari call ”signed” (e.g., Aristotle’s “substance,” Descartes “cogito,” Leibniz’ “monad,” and Kant’s “condition.”) For Goethe these might include (1) signature words that he hijacked from the philosophical tradition, but that function differently for him: e.g., Subjekt, Idee, transzendental, Monade; (2) signature words that he coined: e.g., Urphänomen; or (3) signature words that he adapted for his own conceptual purposes: e.g., Polarität, Steigerung, Tat, Erscheinung, Bedingung. Beyond such “signature” words, papers might also explore (4) ambiguous words that change their “meanings” across several of his works or within a single work: e.g., Leiden, scheinen, Geist, trüb, Wahn, Schaudern; (5) coined words that shock: e.g., irrlichtilieren; (6) coined compound-words: e.g., Wechsel-Dauer or das Ewig-Weibliche; (7) everyday words that may not resonate philosophically for the untrained ear: e.g., Herz, Gefühl, Herrlichkeit, Wonne, Liebe, Form; (8) theological words, for example ewig or transzendent; (9) grammatical lexemes or syntactical units: e.g., the indirect object mir in the first line of “Mailied,” the wenn-clauses in Werther, or the preposition hinan in Faust; or (10) formal features (such as prosody) that create meanings: e.g., Knittelvers and Ottava Rima in Faust or the distich in the elegies.

In addition to papers on individual concepts we also welcome proposals for a panel on more general topics. Examples might include (11) historical dimensions of the philosophical concept within the western tradition; (12) the challenge of identifying/choosing the entries for the lexicon project for Goethe; (13) Goethe’s conceptualization of the concept (Begriff); (14) the relation of philosophical conceptualization in Goethe to metaphor and/or Bildlichkeit; or (15) the philosophical conceptualization of the literary symbol as process (Goethean Symbolik); (16) what should all entries in the lexicon project for Goethe include?

Papers should be about 2000 words in length, but should not exceed 2500 words. Please submit proposals of 300-500 words by January 22, 2018, to Clark Muenzer (muenzer@pitt.edu) and John H. Smith (jhsmith@uci.edu). Completed papers must be submitted by August 31, 2018.

All presenters at the GSA conference must become GSA members by February 15, 2018, see https://www.thegsa.org.

From the President

As President of the North American Goethe Society, I had the privilege of participating in the 85th Hauptversammlung of the Goethe-Gesellschaft in Weimar from June 7-10.  The Goethe-Gesellschaft serves a broad lay audience by drawing them to Weimar in order to engage in conversations with artists, teachers, other readers, and researchers. Unlike American scholarly societies, the Goethe-Gesellschaft speaks to a still robust Bildungsbürgertum that continues to celebrate Weimar culture.  In addition to bringing scholars and connoisseurs together, the Hauptversammlung also draws international representatives of other Goethe societies. This year many panels focused on Weltliteratur and the global reception of his work, so that discussions took on a very comparative approach.  One important similarity between the North American Society and the Gesellschaft in Weimar is the shared concern to attract young readers of eighteenth-century German literature.

Our own 2017 Atkins Goethe Conference is now fast approaching. From November 2-5, we will be gathering at Penn State University in the Nittany Lion Inn for meetings, lectures, dinners, and a dissertation workshop.  We look forward to your arrival in Central Pennsylvania at the height of the Fall season. Our conference will consider the topic “Re-Orientations around Goethe” in order to examine the eighteenth-century’s many kinds of revolutions in conjunction with our own era’s new critical approaches to German literature, politics, science, and art.  Directors at Large John Smith and Heidi Schlipphacke took charge of reviewing the paper proposals and organizing the panels.  This year the Society was able to provide travel funds for foreign scholars, graduate students and non-tenure track professors to attend the Atkins conference. These funds were drawn largely from royalties generated by the online publication of the Goethe Yearbook. Vice President  Catriona MacLeod will also award prizes during the conference for the best essays in eighteenth-century studies. Our connection to German scholarship will be well maintained through two keynote speakers, Helmut Schneider from the University of Bonn and Eva Geulen from the Humboldt University in Berlin.

At the Atkins conference, we will also begin an important transition among the positions of our Society’s officers. Patricia Simpson and Birgit Tautz, the new editors of the Yearbook, will also be attending the conference as they take on their new responsibilities.  Please feel free to speak with them about their plans and your interest in publishing in the Yearbook. For the last five years, Elisabeth Krimmer and Adrian Daub have done an excellent job editing the Goethe Yearbook. They have published lively and rigorous volumes. Because of their hard work the Yearbook continues to hold a prominent position in eighteenth-century studies not only in the United States and Canada but also in Germany.  We are most grateful for their attentive work and we wish them success as they continue in their own scholarship and teaching.

A few last technical details: The lecture rooms will all be equipped with video projectors, but we ask that you bring along your own laptop computers if you want to show images. Please make sure to register in advance so that we can pass your meal preferences along to the caterers. As our Society continues to attract new scholars, we urge you to renew your membership. Finally, Daylight saving time will come to an end on November 5, so please make sure to adjust your clocks and enjoy the extra hour.

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

From the Yearbook Editors

Volume 25 of the Goethe Yearbook features a special section on acoustics around 1800, edited by Mary Helen Dupree, which includes, among others, contributions on sound and listening in Ludwig Tieck’s Der blonde Eckbert (Robert Ryder) and on the role of the tympanum in Herder’s aesthetic theory (Tyler Whitney).

The volume also contains essays on Goethe and stage sequels (Matthew Birkhold), on figures of armament in eighteenth-century German drama (Susanne Fuchs), on the dialectics of Bildung in Wilhelm Meister (Galia Benziman), on the Gothic motif in Goethe’s Faust and “Von deutscher Baukunst” (Jessica Resvick), on Goethe and Salomon Maimon (Jason Yonover), on Goethe’s “Novelle” (Ehrhard Bahr), on Schiller’s Bürger critique (Hans Richard Brittnacher), on Charlotte Schiller and Charlotte von Stein (Linda Dietrick), on the international world order in Goethe’s Iphigenie (Chenxi Tang), and on gender and violence in Iphigenie (Patricia Simpson).

Volume 25 is the last one in our five-year tenure as editors and we would like to thank everybody who has written or reviewed articles for us and everybody who read these publications. It has been a privilege to edit the Goethe Yearbook and a wonderful opportunity to get to know many eighteenth-century scholars and their work. We will miss the Yearbook, but are delighted to know that, with the appointment of Birgit Tautz and Patricia Simpson, it will be in excellent hands.

Adrian Daub
Stanford University

Elisabeth Krimmer
University of California at Davis


From the Executive Secretary

As I am stepping down as Executive Secretary, I’d like to thank all members for the always constructive cooperation. And, of course, as we are looking forward to the Atkins Goethe Conference at PSU, I don’t want to forget to mention our excellent panels at the GSA in Atlanta: two on Goethean thought, organized by Michael Saman and Fritz Breithaupt, and one on Semiosis and Poiesis in the Age of Goethe (1750–1830), organized by Christian Weber.

The next call for proposals is coming up soon: 1 December 2017, for MLA 2019.

Birgit Tautz
Bowdoin College