From the Editor of the Book Series

We are proud to announce the recent publication of two excellent new volumes in the series 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)


“This is an intelligent, serious, patient, and innovative work. It is also beautifully written: nimble, unaffected, crystal-clear, and often entertaining.” (Nicholas Rennie, Rutgers University)

Literary recognition is a technical term for a climactic plot device. Odysseys of Recognition claims that interpersonal recognition is constituted by performance, and brings performance theory into dialogue with poetics, politics, and philosophy. By observing Odysseus figures from Homer to Kleist, Ellwood Wiggins offers an alternative to conventional intellectual histories that situate the invention of the interior self in modernity. Through strategic readings of Aristotle, this elegantly written, innovative study recovers an understanding of interpersonal recognition that has become strange and counterintuitive. Penelope in Homer’s Odyssey offers a model for agency in ethical knowledge that has a lot to teach us today. Early modern and eighteenth-century characters, meanwhile, discover themselves not deep within an impenetrable self, but in the interpersonal space between people in the world. Recognition, Wiggins contends, is the moment in which epistemology and ethics coincide: in which what we know becomes manifest in what we do.


Pretexts for Writing:  German Romantic Prefaces, Literature, and Philosophy
By Seán M. Williams (University of Sheffield, UK)


Pretexts for Writing discusses the history of the literary and philosophical self-authored preface in the German speaking world around 1800 with an intensity and analytical depth previously unachieved in scholarship.” (Till Dembeck, University of Luxembourg)

Around 1800, print culture became a particularly rich source for metaphors about thinking as well as writing, nowhere more so than in the German tradition of Dichter und Denker. Goethe, Jean Paul, and Hegel (among many others) used the preface in order to reflect on the problems of writing itself, and its interpretation. If Sterne teaches us that a material book enables mind games as much as it gives expression to them, the Germans made these games more theoretical still. Weaving in authors from Antiquity to Agamben, Williams shows how European – and, above all, German – Romanticism was a watershed in the history of the preface. The playful, paradoxical strategies that Romantic writers invented are later played out in continental philosophy, and in post-Structuralist literature. The preface is a prompt for playful thinking with texts, as much as it is conventionally the prosaic product of such an exercise.

As always, we’re eager to entertain your proposals, whether for a single-authored monograph or a collection of essays. Contact Karin Schutjer I hope to hear from you!

Karin Schutjer
University of Oklahoma