From the Editor of the Book Series

The monograph series currently has several projects at different stages in the pipeline. Meanwhile we were very busy over the summer reviewing proposals.

We have one announcement:  Simon Richter has resigned from the board because of his workload related to other important commitments. The choice was hard for Simon: he has been involved with the series since its founding. He deserves our tremendous thanks for this service as well as for all of his many other contributions to the ongoing vitality of the GSNA. I’m also very grateful to our continuing hardworking board members: Jane Brown, Martha Helfer, and Astrida Tantillo.

We remain, as always, very eager to see your proposals. Please send a prospectus and sample chapter to me by email. You’re also welcome to send an optional introduction, if available. Our entire editorial board evaluates proposals and generally responds within 4-6 weeks.

Please direct proposals or inquiries to me at I hope to hear from you!

Karin Schutjer
University of Oklahoma

From the Yearbook Editors

Vol. 24 of the Goethe Yearbook is currently being copy-edited and will be on its way to the printer soon. This volume will feature a special section co-edited by John Lyon and Elliott Schreiber on the “Poetics of Space in the Goethezeit,” with contributions on blind spots as projection spaces in Goethe’s Elective Affinities (Tove Holmes); on the topography and topoi of Goethe’s autobiographical childhood (Anthony Mahler); on disorientation and the subterranean in Novalis (John Lyon); on selfhood, sovereignty, and public space in Die italienische Reise, “Das Rochus-Fest zu Bingen,” and Dichtung und Wahrheit (Joseph O’Neil); on Goethe’s theater of anamnesis and the exposure of the temporal subject in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Colin Benert); and on spatial mobilization and tactical displacements in Kleist’s Berliner Abendblätter and the “Tagesbegebenheiten” (Christian Weber).

In addition, there are original contributions on the horror of coming home in Caroline de la Motte Fouqué’s “Der Abtrünnige” (Sara Luly) and on Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi’s Eduard Allwills Papiere (Monika Nenon); on genre and mourning practices in two poems by Karoline von Günderrode (Stephanie Galasso) and on absolute signification and ontological inconsistency in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Der Sandmann (Gabriel Trop).

We are extremely pleased that the Goethe Yearbook is able to collect so many far-ranging contributions from a diverse group of scholars year after year. Thank you to all who have submitted, thank you to all who read submissions for us. We are now accepting contributions to Vol. 25. As always, we hope to hear from many of you and particularly welcome contributions by younger scholars.

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.

Adrian Daub
Stanford University

Elisabeth Krimmer
University of California at Davis

2015 Essay and Sussman Prizes

This year we were in the fortunate position to be able to award two prizes for the Goethe Society Prize for the best essay on Goethe or the Goethezeit published in 2015. (Find previous award winners here.)

Our first of two prizes goes to Stephanie Hilger for her original and fascinating article “Orientation and Supplementation: Locating the ‘Hermaphrodite’ in the Encyclopédie,” published in Volume 22 of the Goethe Yearbook (2015). In her essay, she looks closely at entries on the hermaphrodite in various editions of the Encyclopèdie, ou Dictionnaire rasionné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (1751-72). Hilger deftly situates her analysis of attempts to represent the hermaphrodite within the contemporary discussion of queer phenomenology, that is, positionality and orientation. In an elegant, bold and convincing manner, Hilger highlights the tortured project of defining and representing the hermaphrodite, a figure that, according to Enlightenment thought, should not really exist. Hilger masterfully lays out the placement and optics of various entries on the hermaphrodite, revealing the seemingly competing tendencies of referencing mythical representations of hermaphrodites and representing ambiguously gendered anatomies in accord with the 18th-century scientific turn. In light of her nuanced readings of Enlightenment attempts to fix and understand the intersex body, Hilger concludes that the “Encyclopedic Age – what Foucault calls the Classical Age – is classical also in the sense that it reveals its anchoring in those Western foundational myths that it purports to transcend” (183). For those of us interested in encylopedism and the organization of knowledge as well, we will find here intriguing observations concerning the hybrid/ hermaphroditic form of the encyclopedia itself. Hilger’s essay provides a compelling intervention into scholarly discussions of the hermaphrodite that usually focus on this figure in the 19th– and 20th centuries, offering a window onto this figure’s pivotal place within shifting paradigms for understanding the human body, sex and gender.

The second winner of this year’s GSNA prize for best essay will not come as a surprise to most of us who have been reading new work in Goethe studies these past years, indeed decades. The prize goes to Heather Sullivan for her essay, “Nature and the ‘Dark Pastoral’ in Goethe’s Werther,” also published in the Goethe Yearbook 22. Heather has been at the forefront of employing ideas from “ecocriticism” and demonstrating the mutual benefits of reading Goethe through its lens. Far from a rote “application” of a method, however, she simultaneously thinks with Goethe’s own conceptions of nature. Most important in this essay, as in many of her others, she looks not just at Goethe’s theoretical pronouncements on science but on his literary production. She takes Timothy Morton’s statement seriously that in writing and thinking about ecology, the form matters as much as the content. In this essay in particular, she concentrates on what she terms “dark pastoral” in Goethe’s Werther—a term she coins after Morton’s “dark ecology.” This focus allows her to bring out the deep ambivalences in Goethe’s conception of nature (echoed in the varieties of natural descriptions). Furthermore, her reading challenges the typical subjectivist approach to the novel and to nature in the novel (as a mere reflection of poor Werther’s states of mind). Precisely her fusion of theory, science, and literature makes her essay stand out.

Heather I. Sullivan and Catriona MacLeod

We also decided to award an honorable mention to an exceptional paper by Jacob Denz, “Rigorous Mediacy: Addressing Mother in Hölderlin’s ‘Am Quell der Donau,’ ‘Die Wanderung,’ and ‘An die Madonna,’” which appeared in MLN.

Denz convincingly interprets the womb, via analyses of this figure in Kant and Hegel, as a synecdoche for the maternal, ultimately a synecdoche itself for a notion of organic totality that presents a crisis for Hölderlin. Denz’s sophisticated and highly original close readings of the Hölderlin poems are each a tour-de-force, offering a model for the kind of sustained close work with literature that yields profound insights into the creative and reading processes alike. Denz situates nuanced close analysis within a discussion of some of the pressing philosophical questions of the time in a manner that provides a riveting and utterly enlightening reading experience.

We are extremely fortunate to have a new prize this year, the Richard Sussman Prize for scholarship on Goethe or the Goethezeit more generally and science.

Howard M. Pollack-Milgate’s highly innovative essay “Gott ist bald 1 ∙ ∞ – bald 1/∞ – bald 0”: The Mathematical Infinite and the Absolute in Novalis” appeared in the journal Seminar in February 2015. In lucid prose, Pollack-Milgate offers an elegant exegesis of Novalis’ understanding of the infinite. Novalis’s concept of Potenzierung is daunting.  This essay is a tour de force of sorts, for it makes a clear and compelling case to scholars of Romanticism and lay readers alike for a reconceptualization of Romantic notions of the infinite in terms of an emerging science of calculus. Pollack-Milgate shows us that Novalis studied early texts on calculus and that he then borrowed the language and thought presented by mathematicians to conceive of the infinite in a dual manner, as the meeting, so to speak, of the curve and the line, of the differential and the integral. Pollack-Milgate deftly connects mathematical and philosophical conceptions of the infinite to poetic ones, showing us that “the infinite allows for contradictions to be resolved (as in the meeting point of parallel lines or asymptotes)” (68). As complex as this topic sounds, Pollack-Milgate’s masterful presentation of it manages easily to convince that calculus serves as an illuminating allegory for Romantic notions of the infinite.

Howard Pollack-Milgate and Catriona MacLeod

Thanks to the special section of the Goethe Yearbook 22 on “Goethe and Environmentalism” there were numerous excellent essays on Goethe and science and so we are happy to offer, in addition to the inaugural Sussmann Prize, an honorable mention to Fred Amrine for his essay, “The Music of the Organism: Uexküll, Merleau-Ponty, Zuckerkandl, and Deleuze as Goethean Ecologists in Search of a New Paradigm.” Amrine brings together a wonderful range of 20th-century thinkers—the subtitle of his talk is quite a mouthful!—in order to demonstrate the way they have been exploring and “normalizing” a “paradigm shift” (à la Thomas Kuhn) that Goethe helped to initiate. All of them offer a different, non-mechanistic, non-binaristic approach to nature. In this essay, as in so much of his other work that likewise deserves honorable mention, Fred has made a powerful case for the Aktualität of Goethe. We could say that Goethe planted the seeds that have blossomed in so many later thinkers, or that Goethe played the theme that has undergone many wonderful variations. Indeed, that latter metaphor is particularly apt in this case because the specific way Fred ties these thinkers together is through their use of music as a way of talking about natural phenomena.

Catriona MacLeod
University of Pennsylvania

Goethe Yearbook 23 (2016)

  1. Jane K. Brown, “Building Bridges: Goethe’s Fairy-Tale Aesthetics.” 1-17.
  2. Frederick Amrine, “Goethe as Mystagogue.” 19-39.
  3. Jocelyn Holland, “Observing Neutrality, circa 1800.” 41-57.
  4. Wendy C. Nielsen, “Goethe, Faust, and Motherless Creations.” 59-75.
  5. Lauren Nossett, “Impossible Ideals: Reconciling Virginity and Maternity in Goethe’s Werther.” 77-93.
  6. John H. Smith, “Kant, Calculus, Consciousness, and the Mathematical Infinite in Us.” 95-121.
  7. Eleanor Ter Horst, “The Classical Aesthetics of Schlegel’s Lucinde.” 123-140.

Special Section on Visual Culture in the Goethezeit

  1. Joel B. Lande, “Acquaintance with Color: Prolegomena to a Study of Goethe’s Zur Farbenlehre.” 143-169.
  2. Gabrielle Bersier, “‘Hamiltonian-Hendelian’ Mimoplastics and Tableau of the Underworld: The Visual Aesthetics of Goethe’s 1815 Proserpina Production.” 171-194.
  3. Beate Allert, “J. W. Goethe and C. G. Carus: On the Representation of Nature in Science and Art.” 195-219.
  4. Catriona Macleod, “Brentano’s Remains: Visual and Verbal Bricolage in Gockel, Hinkel und Gackeleia (1838).” 221-243.
  5. Tanvi Solanki, “A Book of Living Paintings: Tableaux Vivants in Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandtschaften (1809).” 245-270.
Book Reviews:
  1. Faust: A Tragedy; Parts One and Two, Fully Revised. Trans. Martin Greenberg. Introduction by W. Daniel Wilson. (Christopher R. Clason). 271-272.
  2. Lotte meine Lotte: Die Briefe von Goethe an Charlotte von Stein, 1776–1786 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and: Der Briefschreiber Goethe by Albrecht Schöne. (Elizabeth Powers). 273-276.
  3. Goethe: Kunstwerk des Lebens, Biographie by Rüdiger Safranski. (Elizabeth Powers). 276-279.Goethes Erotica und die Weimarer “Zensoren.” by W. Daniel Wilson. (Ehrhard Bahr). 279-281.
  4. Goethe, der Merkantilismus und die Inflation: Zum ökonomischen Wissen und Handeln Goethes und seiner Figuren by Heike Knortz and Beate Laudenberg. (William H. Carter). 281-282.
  5. Wanderers Verstummen, Goethes Schweigen, Fausts Tragödie; oder, Die große Transformation der Welt by Michael Jaeger. (Christopher Chiasson). 282-284.
  6. Mit einer Art von Wut: Goethe in der Revolution by Gustav Seibt. (Waltraud Maierhofer). 284-285.
  7. Goethe’s Allegories of Identity by Jane K. Brown. (Simon Richter). 285-288.
  8. Die Weimarer Klassikerstätten: Vom Kriegsende bis zur Gründung der Nationalen Forschungs- und Gedenkstätten der klassischen deutschen Literatur in Weimar; Ereignisse und Gestalten: Eine Chronik, 1945–1949 ed. by Wilfried Lehrke. (Daniel Wilson). 288-289.
  9. Light in Germany: Scenes from an Unknown Enlightenment by T. J. Reed. (Martha B. Helfer). 290-291.
  10. Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770–1815 by Matt Erlin. (Arnd Bohm). 291-292.
  11. Literarische Schriften I, Band 1.1, “Sebaldus Nothanker.” by Friedrich Nicolai, and: Literarische Schriften I, Band 1.2, “Freuden des jungen Werthers”; “Eyn feyner kleiner Almanach”; “Anhang zu Friedrich Schillers Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1797.” ed. by Hans-Gert Roloff. (James Hardin). 293-296.
  12. Krieg und Frieden im 18. Jahrhundert: Kulturgeschichtliche Studien ed. by Stefanie Stockhorst. (Jonathan Blake Fine). 296-298.
  13. Kostümierung der Geschlechter: Schauspielkunst als Erfindung der Aufklärung by Beate Hochholdinger-Reiterer. (Pascale Lafountain). 298-300.
  14. Empire of Chance: The Napoleonic Wars and the Disorder of Things by Anders Engberg-Pedersen. (Yale Almog). 300-302.
  15. Lesen, Kopieren, Schreiben: Lese- und Exzerpierkunst in der europäischen Literatur des 18. Jahrhunderts ed. by Elisabeth Décultot. (Margaretmary Daley). 302-305.
  16. German Literature as World Literature ed. by Thomas Oliver Beebee. (Mary Bricker). 305-307.
  17. Kant’s Organicism: Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy by Jennifer Mensch. (Elizabeth Effinger). 307-309.
  18. Geordnete Spontaneität: Lyrische Subjektivität bei Achim von Arnim by Jan Oliver Jost-Fritz. (Christian P. Weber). 309-310.
  19. Fugitive Objects: Sculpture and Literature in the German Nineteenth Century by Catriona MacLeod. (Samuel Frederick). 310-312.
  20. The Tragedy of Fatherhood: King Laius and the Politics of Paternity in the West by Silke-Maria Weineck. (Anita Ludic). 312-314.
  21. Out of Place: German Realism, Displacement, and Modernity by John B. Lyon. (Tove Holmes). 314-316.
  22. Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities by James Turner. (James Hardin). 316-318.
  23. Autonomy after Auschwitz: Adorno, German Idealism, and Modernity by Martin Shuster. (Thomas L. Cooksey). 318-320.

From the Editor of the Book Series

As I step into this new position, I’m thrilled to announce that not only will our three current editorial board members—Martha Helfer, Simon Richter, and Astrida Tantillo—continue to serve, but our outgoing editor Jane Brown has agreed to stay on as well as a member of the board. We’re all very pleased that the series will continue to profit from Jane’s keen editorial judgment and marvelous intellectual insight. Both previous editors, Jane and Astrida, have built a strong, collaborative foundation on which the series can grow.

As a reminder, here is the series description from the Bucknell UP website:

New Studies in the Age of Goethe, sponsored by the Goethe Society of North America, aims to publish innovative research that contextualizes the “Age of Goethe,” whether within the fields of literature, history (including art history and history of science), philosophy, art, music, or politics. We encourage the submission of high-quality manuscripts and welcome all approaches and perspectives. We are especially interested in interdisciplinary projects, creative approaches to archival or original source materials, theoretically informed scholarship, work that introduces previously undiscovered materials, or projects that re-examine traditional epochal boundaries or open new channels of interpretations.”

Currently we have three manuscripts at various stages in the pipeline and are always eager to receive more. Consider submitting your own work and meanwhile spread the word! The series offers unique advantages for its authors: from our excellent board, a highly attentive, collegial review process; from the GSNA, supplementary funds for advertising and design, special opportunities for publicity, and, in general, the benefit of the society’s wonderful scholarly network.

Please direct proposals or inquiries to me at I hope to hear from you!

Karin Schutjer
University of Oklahoma

From the Yearbook Editors

As Volume 23 of the Goethe Yearbook is getting ready for publication, we are busy putting together what is looking to be an even larger 24th volume. A special section on “Space and Place in the Goethezeit,” guest-edited by John Lyon and Elliott Schreiber, will collect six essays by eminent and up-and-coming scholars. Eight contributions outside of this focus will bring together scholars from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds and career stages. The review section, edited for the first time by Sean Franzel, will provide an overview of new publications on Goethe and his age.

We continue to be excited by the way in which the Yearbook manages to reflect the diversity among scholars of the Goethezeit, and the immense spirit of intellectual community that shines through in the reviews. In that spirit, we continue to ask scholars at any stage of their career to get in touch, to submit their work, and to review.

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.

Adrian Daub
Stanford University

Elisabeth Krimmer
University of California at Davis

2016 GSA Panels

Special GSNA Sessions at the Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association
San Diego, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2016

Organized by Edgar Landgraf and Elliott Schreiber

Goethe at Play: Theories, Narratives, and Practices of Play in the Goethezeit (1)

Moderator: Elliott Schreiber (Vassar)
Commentator: Edgar Landgraf (Bowling Green)

  1. Ian McNeely (U of Oregon), “Kant for Kindergarteners: The Pedagogy of Play during the German Educational Revolution”
  2. Christiane Frey (NYU), “The Games of the Rule: Knowing and Playing 1799/1800”
  3. Nicholas Rennie (Rutgers), “Play with Memory: Faust
Goethe at Play: Theories, Narratives, and Practices of Play in the Goethezeit (2)

Moderator: Nicholas Rennie (Rutgers)
Commentator: Nicole Calian (U of Washington)

  1. Patricia Simpson (U of Montana), “Playthings: Goethe’s Favorite Toys”
  2. Elliott Schreiber (Bowling Green), “Literary Fairytales and Imaginative Play (Goethe, Tieck, Andersen)”
  3. Michael Powers (Tufts), “Play, or the First Poetry”
  4. Christian Weber (Florida State), “Erotic Play in Poetry: Uz, Klopstock, Goethe”
Goethe at Play: Theories, Narratives, and Practices of Play in the Goethezeit (3)

Moderator: Michael Powers (Tufts)
Commentator: Christian Weber (Florida State)

  1. Sam Heidepriem (U of Michigan), “Free Play in Kant, Schiller, and Poststructuralism”
  2. Christoph Rauen (U Kiel), “Das Spiel als Modell autonomer Kunst um 1800 (Nicolai, Musäus, Schiller, Goethe)”
  3. David Martyn (Macalester), “Authorship as Play: Schleiermacher’s Translingual Poetics”


From the Executive Secretary

I am delighted to continue my work for GSNA as your new executive secretary!

Let me start with many thanks: to Karin Schutjer, for doing such a marvelous job and helping along the transition, everybody at the executive committee and particularly Burkhard Henke for helping me keep deadlines and disseminate information. Thanks to all of you for sending me ideas, suggestions, and conference panel proposals – but please no books or reviews. Please send them to Sean Franzel, who is doing a marvelous job.

The call for panel proposals for MLA 2017 has gone out already, but here is a list of current and upcoming deadlines:

  • ASECS, 15 March 2016 for the 2017 convention
  • GSA, 15 November 2016 for the 2017 convention
  • MLA, 1 December 2016 for the 2018 convention

For the 2016 GSA, Elliott Schreiber and Edgar Landgraf have arranged an impressive series of panels on Goethe at Play. Three panels, sponsored by our society, have been submitted to the program committee. You can see details below. Clearly, we’ll be well represented in San Diego!

In the meantime, happy spring and please do not hesitate to contact me!

Birgit Tautz
Bowdoin College

From the President

As we commence this new term in the Goethe Society, I would like to thank the outgoing officers who have worked so hard over the last years. President Clark Muenzer initiated the Society’s international cooperation with Weimar, while organizing a wonderful conference in Pittsburgh, where after the lively panels we were able to visit the Andy Warhol Museum to contemplate Goethe as a Pop Art icon. For all his service to the Society from its very inception, we thank Clark and look forward to his continued presence in our gathering. As Executive Secretary, Karin Schutjer managed the Society’s many operations, maintained a clear memory of how we had done things in the past, and proposed elegant solutions to complex questions. As the Book Series editor, Jane Brown, set the standard for Goethe scholarship in the Society’s publications. In meetings, we always looked to her for the wise recommendation, just as we were inspired by her ground-breaking keynote address at the conference. Claire Baldwin kept us all honest, up-to-date, and running smoothly as Treasurer by maintaining the membership roll and tending the Society’s endowment. As Directors-at-large, Heather Sullivan and Horst Lange wore many hats to pull off multiple feats of administration and scholarship. They were instrumental in organizing the conference and adjudicating the essay prize. As Book Review Editor, Birgit Tautz encouraged and reminded the members of their scholarly commitments. By guiding the Yearbook’s reviews, she pulled together our republic of Goethe scholars.

The Society’s offices will be filled by both new and familiar colleagues. Catriona MacLeod brings her experience in Goethe scholarship and in the Society to the office of Vice President. She will organize the essay prizes, which are now growing in number, as well as the dissertation workshop for the upcoming conference. The new Directors-at-Large, Heidi Schlipphacke and John Smith, will contribute their expertise to organizing the Society’s conference and essay prizes as well. Christian Weber will bring his disciplined focus to the position of Treasurer. We look forward to Birgit Tautz serving as Executive Secretary. Adrian Daub and Elisabeth Krimmer will continue to edit the Goethe Yearbook. Their next volume will be much anticipated. Sean Franzel steps in as the new Book Review editor. Karin Schutjer will assume the responsibilities of the Book Series. And most subtly of all, Burkhard Henke will continue directing the Society’s media operations as Webmaster and Editor of the Newsletter.

Goethe Society History

As the Society has been in existence for more than a generation and the newest members have only a distant image of the Goethe Society’s founding, we will start writing a history of the Goethe Society. Thus we will call on the earliest members to send us their written memories or photographs of the first years. If you have any recommendations, please contact me at

Global Goethe Initiative

The Goethe Society will undertake a new digital humanities project: Global Goethe.

Global Goethe will ask how Goethe operates as a transnational brand. How does the name translate into cultural capital? Does the invocation of Goethe ease the barriers to cross-border dialogue?

Global Goethe will ask if the discussion of world literature as a concept and a practice has turned Goethe into a new type of icon. To what extent do references to Goethe serve to legitimate world literature as an academic discourse? How important is the illusion that Goethe as an historical figure stood outside the current system of capital, migration, and global competition? To what extent was Goethe’s own writing already defined within an international reception of culture, from Tasso and Shakespeare onwards? Our well-honed instinct to resist culture industries should not prevent our appreciation of how literary prestige helps facilitate writing and art. Nor should we presume that our present has produced the first iteration of Goethe as global icon. The global representation of Goethe has its own history.

We will consider to what extent Goethe was engaged in creating himself into an international celebrity, at least along the lines of Byron’s nineteenth-century fame. How do global allusions to Goethe go beyond the familiar legends of cultural legitimacy? Do the familiar tropes of globalization overwhelm critical engagement with Goethe’s writing? What values and ideologies does the invocation of Goethe sustain? How many different cosmopolitan invocations of Goethe can we find? Are there variations between local, national, metropolitan, and international adaptations of Goethe’s writing? How important are translations in enabling these different cultural regimes? To what extent does the global Goethe operate in conjuncture with German institutions? Can we write a history of the many different Goethes that have been given official sanction since at least 1832?

While we surely must acknowledge the ideological investment in authenticity, we would ideally like to gather together an archive of multivalent local perspectives deploying Goethe’s work. What different interpretations of Goethe are being developed across Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America? To that end, we will start to work together with other institutions, organizations, and German scholars to develop a network of comparative studies, performances and translations of Goethe’s work.

Over the next years, we will create a digital archive of performances, translations, critiques, and visualizations from around the world so that we can develop a multifaceted critical understanding of world literature in and through Goethe’s writing. At the same time the North American Goethe Society, in conjunction with allied organizations, will develop conferences, panels, seminars, and publications more precisely defining the global implications of Goethe’s work. Most importantly we will establish collaborations with partner institutions—other Goethe Societies, and not just those in Germany—with whom we could elaborate new projects on this theme. More information will be announced in the coming months. Anyone with specific proposals or questions, please write to me at

Upcoming Atkins Conference

Re-Orientations around Goethe

The next tri-annual Atkins conference of the North American Goethe Society will be held November 3-4, 2017 on the campus of Penn State University.

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 temporal 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, 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. Reorientations 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” reflect 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 reveals 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, and 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?

In the end, a Goethe conference focused on Reorientations will find new objects of study, so that we may develop new viewpoints on familiar and well-established questions of the Goethezeit. It encourages us to look back for a sense of direction in overcoming the contradictions and dead ends in our own era, while also raising the expectation that we permit the present to set a new course in Goethe Studies.

Reorientation contains within itself a tension, even a contradiction, which we wish to exploit. On the one hand, it refers to the act of returning to one’s original path as a response to the ways in which modernity has led us astray, so that we might rediscover stable means of engaging with society, nature, and art. On the other, reorientation urges us to revive the Goethezeit’s revolutionary aesthetics, politics, and philosophy.

Please submit paper (250 words) and panel proposals to Heidi Schlipphacke,, and John Smith,, by April 15, 2017. Decisions about submissions will be announced by May 15, 2017.

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

New Books by Members

Gustafson, Susan E. Goethe’s Families of the Heart. New Directions in German Studies. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.


Throughout his literary work Goethe portrays characters who defy and reject 18th and 19th century ideals of aristocratic and civil families, notions of heritage, assumptions about biological connections, expectations about heterosexuality, and legal mandates concerning marriage. The questions Goethe’s plays and novels pose are often modern and challenging: Do social conventions, family expectations, and legal mandates matter? Can two men or two women pair together and be parents? How many partners or parents should there be? Two? One? A group? Can parents love children not biologically related to them? Do biological parents always love their children? What is the nature of adoptive parents, children, and families? Ultimately, what is the fundamental essence of love and family?

Gustafson demonstrates that Goethe’s conception of the elective affinities is certainly not limited to heterosexual spouses or occasionally to men desiring men. A close analysis of Goethe’s explication of affinities throughout his literary production reveals his rejection of loveless relationships (for example, arranged marriages) and his acceptance and promotion of all relationships formed through spontaneous affinities and love (including heterosexual, same-sex, nonexclusive, group, parental, and adoptive).

Call for Papers: 2017 MLA

Panel sponsored by the Goethe Society of North America, proposed by Karin Schutjer (University of Oklahoma) and Birgit Tautz (Bowdoin College)

Refugees, Migrants, and Exiles in the Age of Goethe

This panel examines figurations, metaphors, and constellations of displacement, engaging with questions of belonging, home, and escape, broadly construed. Papers may explore these questions in Goethe’s as well as contemporaries’ works. While we consider biographical approaches, we are particularly interested in fictional, psycho-geographical, and historical treatments, including, for example, adaptation and reception of antiquity or the Bible, French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the Grand Tour, or resettlement due to environmental change, colonization or development projects.

1-page abstracts by 1 March to and

2015 Election Results

Congratulations to our newly elected officers!

Vice President: Catriona MacLeod
Directors-at-Large: Heidi Schlipphacke and John H. Smith
Secretary-Treasurer: Christian Weber

Joining them are Karin Schutjer as our new book series editor, Birgit Tautz, who replaces Karin as executive secretary, and Sean Franzel as the new book review editor of the Goethe Yearbook.

Congratulations to all!

New board members
From left to right: Karin Schutjer, Catriona MacLeod, John Smith, Christian Weber, Birgit Tautz, and Sean Franzel.

From the President

“Die Wanderjahre sind nun angetreten.”

In my March column I reflected on some of the changes we have witnessed over the past five years that have accompanied our Bildung as a scholarly society. And with an election upon us in a few weeks, there will be further change coming that again will poise us to explore new initiatives while sustaining what has worked so well in the past. But after more than three decades of growth and maturation, the Society might also be ready to declare the end of its Lehrjahre, which have been set largely on the North American stage, and plan for a future that increasingly includes “global” activities, in Goethe’s conceptual sense of the ubiquitous lexeme “world” as a utopian space of ongoing passages. “Daß wir uns in ihr zerstreuen, / Darum ist die Welt so groß.”

Toward the end of May I attended the Hauptversammlung of the Goethe-Gesellschaft in Weimar, where together with Jane Brown, who over the years has guided us through so many successful passages, I met with President Golz and Vice President Bohenkamp-Renken, as well members of the Vorstand, to discuss a range of new opportunities for cooperation between our societies. I am happy to report that these conversations were very promising. Among the topics we covered were (1) establishing a joint, or reciprocal, membership option between the GSNA and the Goethe-Gesellschaft; (2) identifying ways for the Goethe Yearbook and the Jahrbuch der Goethe-Gesellschaft to foster scholarly cooperation; (3) considering jointly sponsored events for younger scholars; (4) promoting opportunities for the leadership of both organizations to participate regularly in the other’s meetings and events; (5) working together and with other institutions (like the Klassik Stiftung Weimar and the Freies Deutsches Hochstift) to create opportunities for research and study in both Germany and North America; (6) working to expand current and create new study opportunities in Weimar/Jena for American undergraduates; (7) jointly sponsoring international events with a focus on Goethe and his Age.

With so many ideas on the agenda (even tentatively), we will need to set priorities and achieve a few successes. Here, then, are some of my thoughts. I invite all interested members to post their comments and suggestions. Feel free also to respond to the suggestions of others. The discussion will be threaded. We will begin prioritizing the focus of future discussions during our executive and business meetings at the GSA meeting this October.

Reciprocal Membership Option

Jane Brown and I discussed the advantages and possibilities for establishing a reciprocal member option for both societies with Jochen Golz and Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken. I also met with the administrative staff of the Gesellschaft (Petra Oberhauser and Cornelia Brendel), who together with the President and Vice-President brought the matter to the Vorstand. In our final meeting President Golz reported that the board had backed our initiative. We are currently working out the details and will have a final proposal off to the Goethe-Gesellschaft by the end of the year. The key issue will be the dues structure (which differs for the two organizations), but I expect the cost to be about €80 and $80 for regular members and about half that for student members and retirees. Reciprocal members would receive both yearbooks, and the dues could be paid online.

Yearbook/Jahrbuch Cooperation

 Professors Bohnenkamp-Renken and Golz agreed that we should seek ways to “link” our publications. Here are three possibilities that the editors might discuss. Some could happen quickly, while others would take more planning and time:

  1. Each publication could regularly publish the “Table of Contents” for the upcoming/current issue of the other.
  2. The book review sections could try to coordinate some of their work: this might involve reviewing and publishing dual reviews of “important” books. Or it could involve the Goethe-Jahrbuch reviewing English language books that might otherwise escape the attention of German readers.
  3. The editors could discuss devoting portions of issues to topics of mutual interest. These could develop from jointly sponsored conferences, workshops, or symposia, or they could focus on global issues during the Age of Goethe.
Jointly Sponsored Events for Young Scholars

Each society hosts a major event at its conference to assist younger scholars in their professional development. A next logical step would be to host a joint event in non-conference years that assembles younger colleagues from Europe and North America to share and discuss the results of their research. These events could alternate between the continents. Such events would help to establish networks of younger scholars from both sides of the Atlantic, thereby establishing a solid foundation for future cooperation.

Study Abroad

The Klassik Stiftung Weimar has jointly sponsored courses in Weimar and Jena for students from abroad, who in addition to EU countries, have come largely from Asia and the Near East. That program is now in transition and its sponsors would welcome our thoughts about sending advanced American undergraduates and first- or second-year graduate students to an international summer program. I had an exploratory meeting with Dr. Thorsten Falk in Weimar to discuss this and related possibilities for bringing American students to Weimar and Jena. One option would be for the GSNA to sponsor a program that assembled the “best” students from a number of our institutions in order to help assure having the numbers and quality we need for success.

Possibilities for Cooperation with Other Organizations

 Many of the possibilities for scholarly cooperation that were raised with the Goethe-Gesellschaft are also relevant for other institutions. Both Thorsten Falk (Klassik Stiftung Weimar) and Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken (Freies Deutsches Hochstift) were receptive to such conversations. A good place to start might be around the topic “Goethe/The Age of Goethe and Globality.” It could include “Romanticism” as a global phenomenon, since Romanticism is a pressing interest in Frankfurt, where the Museum of German Romanticism will soon begin construction of its new home next to the Goethe-Haus.

I have already distributed these thoughts about internationalizing our mission to our current officers and board members, and I am sure we will consider ways to move ahead at our upcoming meeting. Please let us know where you think we ought to move first.

Well aware of Goethe’s reminder that true thankfulness cannot be expressed in words, I will nonetheless conclude my last official note by acknowledging the many friends and colleagues who have so happily planned and guided our activities over the past three years and more. Adrian Daub, Elisabeth Krimmer, and Birgit Tautz, I’m both delighted and relieved to say, will continue their work with the Goethe-Yearbook, which encloses new riches each year within its familiar blue linen covers. And Burkhard Henke, thank goodness, is still prepared to lend us his knowledge of the virtual world, as well as his talent for design and effective communication, as our webmaster and editor of the newsletter. Along with me, however, our dedicated secretary-treasurer Claire Baldwin, whose tireless work is noticed by most only when their dues remain unpaid, will become a regular member after many years of dedicated service, as will my friends Heather Sullivan and Horst Lange, who got to know me better than most in their work as directors-at-large. No GSNA office, and especially this one, is honorific. And while I continue to receive kind words about last year’s conference, like everything we undertake, it required a collective effort, which meant countless hours for Horst and Heather. And what can I say about my two colleagues and close friends, Jane Brown and Karin Schutjer? After years of service in many roles, including the Presidency, Jane will be handing over the editorship of the book series to Karin next year. Thank you, Jane, for your willingness always to say “yes” when asked to promote the Society’s work with your administrative talent, your intellect, and your wisdom. You’ll be missed at our meetings, I’m sure, but somehow I know that when approached again, you’ll still be willing to help. And thank you, Karin, for your remarkable and selfless dedication during your years as Executive Secretary. No office of our Society is more crucial and less visible, especially when things run as flawlessly as they have under your leadership. You inspire trust, and I can imagine no one better suited to work as our book series editor than you. I’ll end my valedictory remarks by turning to Daniel Purdy, who will be leading the Society as our President through 2018. Like Jane and Karin, Daniel has served us in some of the most responsible, challenging, and time-consuming positions we have. There will be no learning curve here, only intellect and energy. Daniel, I wish you the best over the next three years. If they are anything like the past three years have been for me, they will bring you a full measure of professional joy. I offer heartfelt thanks to all the officers and members who gave me this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to seeing many of you in October and at our gatherings next year.

Clark Muenzer
University of Pittsburgh

2015 Elections

Members will receive an invitation by email to vote for the Society’s Vice President, who will automatically accede to the presidency in two years, two Directors-at-Large, and the Secretary-Treasurer, who is running unopposed. The voting deadline is September 30, 2015.

Vice President:
  • Catriona MacLeod
  • Karin Wurst
  • Mary Helen Dupree
  • Joseph O’Neil
  • Heidi Schlipphacke
  • John H. Smith
  • Christian Weber


For Vice President (vote for one):

Catriona MacLeod is Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of German at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is beginning a second term as Chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. She received her Ph.D. in German from Harvard in 1992, and after spending a year as Randall McIver Junior Research Fellow at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford became Assistant Professor of German at Yale. Since 1999 she has been at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a member of the graduate groups in Comparative Literature and History of Art, and is also affiliated with Cinema Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. MacLeod is the author of Embodying Ambiguity: Androgyny and Aesthetics from Winckelmann to Keller (Detroit, MI: Wayne State U P, 1998) and Fugitive Objects: Sculpture and Literature in the German Nineteenth Century (Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 2014) – the latter was awarded the 2014 Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize for best book in Romanticism Studies. She has co-edited two collected volumes in Word and Image Studies, and with her Penn colleague Bethany Wiggin is co-editor of the forthcoming book Un/Translatables: New Maps for Germanic Literatures (Northwestern UP). Since 2011 MacLeod has been Senior Editor of the journal Word & Image. She is currently working on a new book project that combines her interests in aesthetics, art, intermediality, genre, and gender: provisionally titled Romantic Scraps, the book is an interdisciplinary study of the role of small, fragmentary, shadowy, and obsolete remainders (to use Francesco Orlando’s term) in German literary and visual culture of the first half of the nineteenth century. Most recently, her writing on paper cuts in the Weimar salon of Johanna Schopenhauer has appeared in the DVjs.

“I owe a huge personal and professional debt to the Goethe Society and its members, with whom I have been connected since my first years on the tenure track. Over those years, I have had the opportunity to serve as Director-at-Large and as Book Review Editor of the Goethe Yearbook, and have been extremely happy to take part twice in the workshop for dissertation writers that is such a fruitful part of the Atkins Conferences. The integrity and inclusiveness of the Society are values that I would strive to uphold and further, while maintaining a focus on the daring diversity of intellectual interests and approaches that is, not least, a hallmark of Goethe’s own career. Today, the humanities continue to be under scrutiny in North American higher education. And within the humanities, foreign language education has been subject to particular retrenchment. When we teach Goethe’s Divan, his theories of translation, and his concept of Weltliteratur, we have in our hands a powerful tool that can be deployed to show the importance of multilingualism in an age of homogenized Global English. Goethe’s manifold explorations of the natural world have never seemed more relevant for the humanities (or indeed humanity) at large, or for opening up dialog with our colleagues in the sciences. I can put my own international, strongly interdisciplinary profile to good use for the Society. I would like to deepen our ties with our associated societies in Germany and elsewhere, as well as facilitate exchanges with groups in other disciplines such as history of art. As a Romanticist too, I am especially interested in collaborating productively with the Frankfurter Hochstift. Above all, I see it as vital, within the Goethe Society, to foster the intergenerational networks that will continue to sustain and invigorate our field as well as German Studies more broadly.”


Karin A. Wurst is Professor of German Literature and Culture at Michigan State University. She received her Staatsexamen from the University of Tübingen and her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Her books have focused on representations of the family, women’s drama, cultural consumption in 18th-century Germany, and narration: Das Schlaraffenland verwilderter Ideen. Narrative Strategien in den Prosaerzählungen von J.M.R. Lenz (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2014); Fabricating Pleasure: Fashion, Entertainment, and Consumption in Germany (1780-1830), German Literary Theory and Cultural Studies (Wayne State University Press, 2005). Karin A. Wurst and Alan Leidner, Unpopular Virtues: J.M.R. Lenz and the Critics. A Reception History (Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1999). She edited and introduced Eleonore Thon’s “Adelheit von Rastenberg. Texts and Translation Series. (New York: MLA, 1996). Edited and introduced J.M.R. Lenz als Alternative? Positionsanalysen zum 200. Todestag (Köln, Wien, Weimar: Böhlau, 1992). Other book publications include Frau und Drama im achtzehnten Jahrhundert (Köln, Wien: Böhlau, 1991). “Familiale Liebe ist die wahre Gewalt.” Zur Repräsentation der Familie in Lessings dramatischem Werk” (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988). Her articles focus on 17th– and 18th-century Germany and issues of gender, cultural and aesthetic representation. They have appeared in German Quarterly, Daphnis, German Studies Review, Lessing Yearbook, Text + Kritik, Seminar, Women in German Yearbook, Goethe Yearbook, and the Lenz Jahrbuch. She has been active in concerns of the profession and is deeply involved with the reform of Graduate Studies in German in particular, and the Humanities, in general. She has served as President of the Society for German Baroque and Renaissance Studies, and has experience as the two-term book review editor for the German Quarterly. Her teaching interests include literary and cultural theories, feminist theory, women’s literature, and material culture. From 2006 to 2014 she served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University; she currently serves as Special Advisor to the Provost on Intercultural Learning and Student Engagement.

“Vibrant professional organizations continue to be an important nexus for professional development, innovative research, and for nurturing the next generation of students, graduate students, and other professionals with a passion for literary and cultural studies. The Goethe Society of North America has a strong track record of vitality that I would be very excited to build on. Recent innovations by the previous leadership to place the Goethe Yearbook in Project Muse and JSTOR, the linkages to other professional societies and the introduction of a dedicated book series, and the stellar triennial conferences positioned the Goethe Society of North America well. My commitment as officer of the Goethe Society would be to continue best practices in fostering state-of-the-art scholarship and also provide a forum to serve the needs of the next generation of teacher-scholars so that they are able to make Goethe and his time come alive for our students. A historical frame of reference will continue to be important for a strong liberal arts education, where understanding the cultural past serves as another marker of providing depth to arguments, offering another way to look at an issue, breaking the tyranny of the commonsensical. Furthermore, one of the roles of a professional society is to assist the often beleaguered Graduate Programs in German who might be tempted to (or might be under pressure to) focus on the contemporary. Offering relevant fora for scholarly and pedagogical exchange and discussion under the auspices of the Goethe Society can counteract the potential isolation of faculty and graduate students without a community of scholars in 18th-Century Studies at their home campus through formal and informal mentoring opportunities. I would be particularly interested in discussing with the membership what kinds of interventions to these marginalizing developments we could envision or which new activities the Goethe Society of North America should engage in to assure an energetic and lively future during this time of significant retrenchment in the Humanities and the shrinking of German Programs. In particular, I would be interested in connecting the fine, innovative and often quite interdisciplinary scholarship on Goethe and his time by our members and foster more explicit connections to cutting-edge pedagogies in literary and cultural studies to assure that our graduate students will be highly competitive candidates in a changing job market where student-centered learning is becoming increasingly more important. While honoring the scholarly tradition of the Goethe Society, I would continue to build networks not only among scholars around the world but on our own campuses to better align ourselves with campus concerns and demonstrate our relevance to intercultural learning and other strategic priorities of our colleges and universities. I would support expansion of Goethe scholarship into the Digital Humanities to expand research methods and visualization enhancements. Most importantly, I would see it as one of the most urgent task to engage the membership in productive conversations about the meaningful role of German in general and Goethe Studies in particular in the academy and how to inspire students to engage in our field as an important area of the liberal arts. I would be honored to help us think through these complex issues with a sense of proactive optimism.”


For Director-at-Large (vote for two):

Mary Helen Dupree is Associate Professor of German at Georgetown University. She holds a Ph.D. in German Literature from Columbia University. Her book The Mask and the Quill: Actress-Writers in Germany from Enlightenment to Romanticism was published in 2011 by Bucknell University Press as part of the GSNA-sponsored series, New Studies in the Age of Goethe. Her research focuses on intersections of literature and performance culture in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with particular emphasis on gender; more recently, she has been working on questions of sound, the voice, and auditory history from 1750 to the present. Her work has appeared in the Goethe Yearbook, the German Quarterly, and the Lessing Yearbook, as well as several edited volumes. She is also the co-editor, together with Sean B. Franzel, of the forthcoming volume Performing Knowledge, 1750-1850 (De Gruyter, 2015). In 2009, she organized a series of panels at ASECS on Goethe’s Wahlverwandtschaften on behalf of the Goethe Society, and has since organized and participated in numerous panels and conferences on Goethe and his contemporaries. Currently, she is Treasurer of the Lessing Society and Vice President of the American Goethe Society, a D.C.-based organization committed to promoting German culture in the area. Her current book project is focused on the theory and practice of literary declamation around 1800.

“I believe that the Goethe Society has a critical role to play in promoting diverse and rigorous scholarship and helping to make sense of the many challenges facing our field of study today. I have been particularly pleased with the consistent way in which the Society has supported new and innovative scholarship and has reached out to up-and-coming scholars in the field, for example through the dissertation workshops at the Atkins conference. However, the future of Goethe scholarship depends on our ability not only to connect with the next generation of graduate scholars, but also to maintain a strong presence in undergraduate curricula and research. As Director-at-Large, I would look forward to working together with the other members of the Executive Committee to promote this goal, for example by sponsoring an undergraduate research panel at the Atkins conference. I would also be very excited to help the Society identify new areas of collaboration with other organizations, such as the MLA and the Lessing Society.”


Joseph O’Neil studied German, French, and Spanish as an undergraduate student, earned his M.A. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University (Bloomington) and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Modern German Literature and Culture from Indiana. His studies in Germany include an undergraduate year in Mainz and a dissertation year in Berlin under the auspices of the DAAD. He has taught German language, literature, and culture at all levels, first as a lecturer at Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX) and now as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky. He has published articles in Angelaki: A Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, the Goethe Yearbook, and Seminar. His manuscript Figures of Natality: Reading the Political in the Age of Goethe is under contract with Bloomsbury Press.

“My purpose as a director-at-large of the GSNA would be to continue the good work done by the current and former officers of the Society. I appreciate and embrace the diversity of the GSNA, which I think is exemplary for our profession, whether in German or the humanities in general. My own work is broadly Goethezeit-oriented; it brings aspects of the work of Goethe, Lessing, Kleist, and Schiller into a different focus through twentieth-century literary, cultural, and political theory. I think that it is important to recruit younger members from the dwindling ranks of those focused on the Goethezeit while we continue to grow our revenues from sources other than dues through online accessibility. Very recently, I have tried to expand the presence of the GSNA for younger scholars by proposing a GSNA-sponsored panel at the Kentucky Foreign Languages Conference, which attracts graduate students and junior faculty especially in German. My experience of the GSNA even before I became a member has been that the Society provides the strongest and most supportive foundation for professional life. Fritz Breithaupt, Martha Helfer, and Horst Lange were crucial to my moving from an initial interest in the twentieth century to Goethe, and so I want my commitment to the Society to reflect what I see as its commitment to me in the connections I have made and the wealth of knowledge and insight our members provide about Goethe and his age for junior scholars. As one sometimes involved in the editing of Colloquia Germanica and a regular organizer of panels in our period at the KFLC, I have some insight into the complexity of the fantastic editorial and organizational work of my colleagues who are responsible for the Goethe Yearbook, the Atkins conference, and the book series. I think this equips me at least to understand how much I don’t yet understand about the positions for which the Board is responsible and would allow me to work constructively and productively with the Yearbook editors and the editor of the New Studies in the Age of Goethe, and to do my part in organizing the conference. I would look forward to the privilege of serving the Society in any way I can while becoming more involved in and knowledgeable about its workings.”


Heidi Schlipphacke is Associate Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been a member of the Goethe Society since 2000. Her research focuses on kinship, gender and aesthetics in the German Enlightenment and in post-fascist Austrian and German literature and film. She has published essays on 18th-centry literature and thought (Goethe, Lessing, Gellert) as well as on 20th-century literature, film and critical theory. Her monograph on nostalgia appeared in 2010 (Bucknell University Press). She is a member of the editorial board of the Goethe Yearbook, of the Journal of Austrian Studies, of Pacific Coast Philology and of the series “New Directions in German Studies,” published by Bloomsbury Press. Her current work on polygamy and surface reading in eighteenth-century literature combines a reflection on approaches to reading literature with an attention to eighteenth-century debates about monogamy and polygamy.

“It would be an honor to serve as a director-at-large for the Goethe Society, an organization that has long held an important role in my intellectual and professional development. Were I to serve as a director-at-large for the Goethe Society, I would look forward to working with the President, the Vice President, and the other members of the board further to promote dialogue amongst scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds in Goethe Studies. I am also particularly keen on encouraging graduate students and young scholars to approach the eighteenth century with new eyes. I would be very interested in helping expand funding opportunities for graduate students working on eighteenth-century topics to attend the tri-annual conference as well as the various Goethe Society sessions at conferences throughout the year. The Goethe Society is a uniquely welcoming and intellectually exciting community, and I would hope to help encourage young scholars across the disciplines to discover this fact for themselves.”


John H. Smith is a professor of German in the Department of European Languages and Studies at the University of California, Irvine. From January, 2012, until June, 2013, he held the Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. His scholarship has focused for 30 years on German intellectual and literary history. He has published studies on Hegel (The Spirit and Its Letter: Traces of Rhetoric in Hegel’s Philosophy of Bildung) and philosophies of agency (Dialectics of the Will: Freedom, Power, and Understanding in Modern French and German Thought). His most recent book is Dialogues between Faith and Reason: The Death and Return of God in Modern German Thought (Cornell UP, 2012). He is currently working on the creative place of the infinitesimal calculus in the German philosophical and literary tradition.

“As Director-at-large I would look forward to working in tandem with my co-director, as I am an exceedingly collaborative academic. (Consider the seminar I am co-organizing with Fred Amrine and Astrida Tantillo at the GSA conference in D.C.) Together we might entertain the following kinds of enterprises:

  • Extend the creativity and excitement of the tri-annual conference by encouraging pre- and post-conference workshops of smaller groups of scholars working on related fields of Goethe scholarship. Not only are such intense, discussion-based meetings themselves stimulating and productive, and not only might they generate coherent essay-volumes, but they can also prove invaluable for those early in their careers. One model for these workshops is the one that Elizabeth Millán (Philosophy, DePaul University) and I organized after the first GSNA conference and which led to the special section of the Goethe Yearbook XVIII on “Goethe and Idealism.” [N.B. I would not encourage the growth of the conference itself, since bigger is not necessarily better.]
  • Continue to foster work on Goethe that intersects with other disciplines, from philosophy to the sciences, from classics to the other literary traditions with which Goethe’s own work conversed.

Some possible directions for a future conference could be: Goethe(zeit) and Problems of Periodization (how to fit Goethe into different periods, Goethezeit as a period, recent periodization studies, etc.); Human(ism) and the Non-Human in the Goethezeit (on the one hand, the notion of Humanität looms large around 1800, but on the other, there are important reflections on nature, animals, organic and inorganic forces, etc.); Dialogues: Goethe and … (placing Goethe in conversation with his contemporaries or other figures). These are just some ideas that come to mind. I would enjoy brainstorming with my co-director to find a capacious and relevant conference theme.”


For Secretary-Treasurer:

Christian Weber received an M.A. from the University of Bonn and a Ph.D. from Indiana University, with intermezzi also at Oxford University and Ohio State University. Since 2008 he has been Assistant Professor of German at Florida State University, where he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure this year. His overarching research project concerns a critical and phenomenological investigation of the imagination. Goethe’s poetry offers a great resource for the study of processes of the productive imagination, as Weber argues in his book Die Logik der Lyrik: Goethes Phänomenologie des Geistes in Gedichten (Freiburg: Rombach, 2013). He is currently working on a second part that deals with the poetologic of later Goethe poems. In articles, he explored the interplay of the senses and imagination in the formation of language, the world-transforming power of metaphors, and how the imagination turns ideological in the form of nationalism.

“One of the first things I did when moving to the U.S. and commencing my graduate studies at Indiana University was to join the GSNA. What a great decision this was. Over the years, the society has truly become my academic home. I have attended many GSNA organized panels at different venues and organized some of them myself. Those who met me at conferences know that I am very passionate about Goethe’s poetry and Weltanschauung, and I feel lucky to have gotten to know so many of you who are sharing this passion. Now that my Lehrjahre have ended after receiving tenure at Florida State University, I am more than happy to return the favors and services that I have enjoyed from many members of this great society. It feels a bit ironic, though, that I was nominated for the post of GSNA Secretary-Treasurer, which uncannily returns memories of my way past banking career that I have successfully repressed until now. But hopefully I will be able to make good use of those experiences in this position. I look very much forward to contributing my ideas to further increase the welfare of the GSNA, which includes an advertising campaign to attract also more international members.”