Drama, German and European literature of the 18th and early 19th, late 19th and 20th centuries, literary theory


  • 20th Century Major Authors
  • Utopias and Millennialisms
  • The Dramatic Theater, Theory and Practice
  • Intellectual History from Nietzsche on


  • Insanity
  • The Problematics of Revolution
  • Nietzsche
  • Apocalypse Now (World Destruction in Literature)
  • Freud and Literature
  • Lyric Poetry


Shaping a Modern Ethics:  The Humanist Legacy from Nietzsche to Feminism (London: Bloomsbury academic, 2020).

The Defective Art of Poetry:  Sappho to Yeats (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Aesthetics as Secular Millennialism:  Its Trail from Baumgarten and Kant to Walt Disney and Hitler (Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell U. Press, 2013).

The Dark Side of Literacy:  Literature and Learning Not to Read (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008).

All Theater Is Revolutionary Theater (Ithaca: Cornell U. Press, 2005).

Goethe as Woman:  The Undoing of Literature (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2001).

Beyond Theory:  Eighteenth-Century German Literature and the Poetics of Irony (Ithaca:  Cornell University Press, 1993).

Theater As Problem:  Modern Drama and Its Place in Literature (Ithaca: Cornell U. Press, 1990).  Hardbound and paperback.

Hugo von Hofmannsthal:  The Theaters of Consciousness (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1988).  Paperback edition 2009.

Goethe’s Theory of Poetry:  Faust and the Regeneration of Language (Ithaca:  Cornell U. Press, 1986).

Co-editor of:  Probleme der Moderne:  Studien zur deutschen Literatur von Nietzsche bis Brecht.  Festschrift für Walter Sokel (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1983).

Modern Drama and German Classicism:  Renaissance from Lessing to Brecht (Ithaca:  Cornell U. Press, 1979).  Awarded the Modern Language Association James Russell Lowell Prize, 1980, for best book by a member of the Association.  Paperback edition, fall 1986.


“The World as Invention,” forthcoming in European Studies:  Past, Present, and Future, ed. Erik Jones (Agenda Publishing, scheduled 2020).

“The Future Lies Ahead,” in Paul Foss and Laurence A. Rickels (eds.), artUS 2011-2012:  The           Collector’s Edition (Bristol, Chicago: Intellect, 2013), pp. 82-89. Reprint of 2011.

“Poetry after Faust,” Goethe Yearbook, 20 (2013), 133-45

“‘Über allen Gipfeln’:  The Poem as Hieroglyph,” in Simon Richter and Richard Block (eds.), Goethe’s Ghosts:  Reading and the Persistence of Literature (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2013), pp. 56-76.

“Casting Out Nines:  Structure, Parody and Myth in ‘Tonio Kröger,’” in Short Story Criticism, ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau (Detroit: Gale, 2013), pp. 153-163.  Reprint of 1976.

“Goethe’s Werther:  Double Perspective and the Game of Life,” in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau (Detroit: Gale, 2012), pp. 215-224.  Reprint of 1980.

“The Future Lies Ahead” (on Warhol and Danto), artUS, 2011/Issue 31, 80-89.

 “The Thinking Machine,” Revue internationale de philosophie, 65, no. 255 (=1/2011), 7-26.

Histrionic Nationality:  Implications of the Verse in Faust,” in Goethe Yearbook, 17 (2010), pp. 21-30.

 “Freud and the Denationalization of Literature,” artUS, 2010/1, 50-57.

 “Secret Theses III:  At World’s End,” artUS, 24/25 (Winter 2008), 60-63.

 “Intransitive Autobiography:  Naked Lunch and the Problem of Personal Identity,” artUS, 24/25 (Winter 2008), 31-38.

 “The Politics of the Mörike-Debate and Its Object,” in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, vol. 201, Gale Literary Criticism Series, Kathy D. Darrow, project editor (Detroit, 2008), pp. 356-365.

“Secret Theses II:  The Novel as Armageddon,” artUS, 23 (Summer 2008), 50-53.

“Secret Theses on Literature and Politics,” artUS, 22 (Spring 2008), 34-36.

“The Irrelevance of Aesthetics and the De-Theorizing of the Self in ‘Classical’ Weimar,” in Simon Richter (ed.), The Literature of Weimar Classicism (Rochester, N.Y.: Camden House, 2005), pp. 295-321.

“The Absence of Drama in Nineteenth-Century Germany,” in Clayton Koelb and Eric Downing (eds.), German Literature of the Nineteenth Century, 1832-1899 (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2005), pp. 157-81.

“Attack of the Kleins,” artUS, 8 (May/June 2005), 50-51.

“It’s a Word! It’s a Claim! . . . Modernism and Related Instances of an Inherently Discredited Conceptual Type,” artUS, special issue 5/6 (Jan./Feb. 2005), 10-15.

“Speech, Writing and Identity in the West-östlicher Divan,” in Goethe Yearbook, 12 (2004), pp. 161-83.

“Hofmannsthal’s Theater of Adaptation,” in Thomas A. Kovach (ed.), A Companion to the Works of Hugo von Hofmannsthal (Rochester, N.Y., 2002), pp. 97-115.

“Foreword,” to each of the three volumes of Laurence A. Rickels, Nazi Psychoanalysis (Minneapolis, 2002).

“Interrupted Tragedy as a Structural Principle in Faust,” in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:  Faust, A Tragedy:  Interpretive Notes, Contexts, Modern Criticism, ed. Cyrus Hamlin (New York and London, 2001), pp. 598-611. 

“Strindberg and Ibsen: Toward a Cubism of Time in Drama,” in Modernism in European Drama:  Ibsen, Strindberg, Pirandello, Beckett, ed. Frederick J. Marker, Christopher Innes (Toronto, 1998), pp. 69-91. 

“Bridge:  Against Nothing” (on Nietzsche, Derrida, Irigaray), in Nietzsche and the Feminine, ed. Peter J. Burgard (U. Press of Virginia: Charlottesville, 1994), pp. 289-315.

“The Politics of the Mörike Debate and Its Object,” Germanic Review, 68 (1993), 60-68.

“Performance and the Exposure of Hermeneutics,” Theatre Journal, 44 (1992), pp. 431-447.

“Brecht’s Writing against Writing,” The Brecht Yearbook 17 (1992), pp. 164-179.

“Intransitive Parody and the Trap of Reading in Turn-of-the-Century German Prose,” in Fictions of Culture:  Essays in Honor of Walter H. Sokel, ed. Steven Taubeneck (New York: Peter Lang, 1991), pp. 135-167.

“Structure, Parody and Myth in Tonio Kröger,” reprint of no. 20, in Harold Bloom (ed.), Thomas Mann, Modern Critical Views (New York: Chelsea House, 1986), pp. 227-240.

“Werther and Montaigne:  The Romantic Renaissance,” Goethe Yearbook, 3 (1986), 1-20.

“Prometheus and Saturn:  The Three Versions of Götz von Berlichingen,” German Quarterly, 58 (1985), 335-47.

“Cinema, Theater and Opera:  Modern Drama as Ceremony,” Modern Drama, 28 (1985), 1-21.

“Utopia to the Second Power:  Literary Interpretation as Social Thought,” without the title, as a review article on Hermand, Orte. Irgendwo, in German Quarterly, 56 (1983), 106-112.

“The Generic Constant in Lessing’s Development of a Comedy of Institutions and Alienation,” German Quarterly, 56 (1983), 231-242.

“Strindberg and Ibsen: Toward a Cubism of Time in Drama,” Modern Drama, 26 (1983), 262-281.

“Levels and Movements of Consciousness in Goethe’s Faust,” Theatre Journal, 34, no. l (March, 1982), 5-19.

“Trinitarische Humanität:  Dichtung und Geschichte bei Schiller,” in Friedrich Schiller:  Kunst, Humanität und Politik in der späten Aufklärung:  Ein Symposium, ed. Wolfgang Wittkowski (Tübingen:  Niemeyer, 1982), pp. 164-180.

 “Stefan Georges ‘Ursprünge’:  Zur Deutung des ‘Siebenten Rings,’“ CASTRVM PEREGRINI, 31 (1982), no. 155, pp. 28-51. 

“The Classical, the Romantic and the Tragic in Part Two of Goethe’s Faust,” Studies in Romanticism, 19 (1980), 529-550.

“‘Ursprünge’:  The Secret Language of George’s Der siebente Ring,” Germanic Review, 55 (1980), 74-81.

“Goethe’s Werther:  Double Perspective and the Game of Life,” German Quarterly, 53 (1980), 64-81.

“Nietzsche’s Idea of Myth:  The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics,” PMLA, 94 (1979), 420-433.

“The Idea of the Audience in Lessing’s Inexplicit Tragic Dramaturgy,” Lessing Yearbook, XI (1979), 59-68.

 “The Two ‘Study’ Scenes and the Pentagram in Goethe’s Faust,” Essays in Literature, 5 (1978), 223-237.

“Reason, Error and the Shape of History:  Lessing’s Nathan and Lessing’s God,” Lessing Yearbook, IX (1977), 60-80.

“Goethe’s Egmont as a Politician,” Eighteenth-Century Studies, 10 (1977), 351-366.

“Interrupted Tragedy as the Structure of Goethe’s Faust,” Mosaic, XI/1 (Fall, 1977), 37-51.

“Death and the Fools,” German Life & Letters, 30 (1976-77), 65-72.

“‘Vorspiel auf dem Theater’:  The Ironic Basis of Goethe’s Faust,” German Quarterly, 49 (1976), 438-455.

“Casting Out Nines:  Structure, Parody and Myth in Tonio Kröger,” Revue des Langues Vivantes, 42 (1976), 126-146.

“Missed Meetings in Hofmannsthal’s Der Schwierige,” Forum for Modern Language Studies, 12 (1976), 59-64.

“Hofmannsthal’s Return,” Germanic Review, 51 (1976), 28-40.

“Werther and Chandos,” Modern Language Notes, 91 (1976), 552-558.

“Kleist’s Puppets in Early Hofmannsthal,” Modern Language Quarterly, 37 (1976), 151-167.

“Hans Karl’s Unmysterious Return,” Essays in Literature, 2 (1975), 230-244.

“Idea, Reality and Play-Acting in Der Tor und der Tod,” Orbis Litterarum, 30 (1975), 262-276.

with Frank G. Ryder, “The Irony of Goethe’s Hermann und Dorothea:  Its Form and Function,” PMLA, 90 (1975), 433-446.

 “The Role of Vorwitz in Hofmannsthal’s Das Salzburger Groβe Welttheater,” Symposium, 29 (1975), 13-29.

“Chandos and his Neighbors,” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift, 49 (1975), 315-331.

“The Smallest World Theater,” Mosaic, VII/2 (Winter, 1975), 53-66.

“‘Tis Sixty Years Since,” review article on Strich, Die Mythologie in der deutschen Literatur, in German Quarterly, 45 (1972), 684-702.

“Language in College,” Bulletin of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, 3, no. 4 (May, 1972), 18-20.10.  “The Future of the Infinitive,” The Serif, 8, no. 3 (Sept. 1971), 14-19.

Book Reviews

on W.B. Worthen,  Print and the Poetics of Modern Drama, Modern Drama, 50 (2007), 651-53.

on David E. Wellbery et al, eds., A New History of German LiteratureModern Language Quarterly 68 (2007), 578-82.

on Clark S. Muenzer, Figures of IdentityGoethe Yearbook, 3 (1986), 232-36.

on Ronald Speirs, Brecht’s Early Plays, in Modern Drama, 27 (1984), 273-274.

on Gabriele Girschner, Goethes Tasso, in Goethe Yearbook, II (1984), pp. 241-2.

on Göres, Goethes Leben, in GQ, 56 (1983), 501.

on John Geary, Goethe’s Faust, in GR, 58 (1983), 121.

on Anthony J. Niesz, Dramaturgy in German Drama, in GQ, 55 (1982), 581-582.

on Hans-Jürgen Schings, Der mitleidigste Mensch . . ., in JEGP, 81 (1982), 537-538.

on Grimm/Hermand (eds.), Karl Marx und Friedrich Nietzsche, in Monatshefte, 72 (1980), 349-352.

on Richard Unger, Hölderlin’s Major Poetry, in GQ, 51 (1978), 218-219.

on Daviau/Buelow, The “Ariadne auf Naxos” of Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss, in GQ, 50 (1977), 183-184.

on two Hölderlin items, in GQ, 47 (1974), 128-129.

on Sigurd Burckhardt, The Drama of Language, in GQ, 46, Memb. Dir. (Sept. 1973), 135-138.

on F. W. Wodtke (ed.), Gottfried Benn:  Selected Poems, in GQ, 44 (1971), 614-617.

on Walter Silz, Hölderlin’s Hyperion, in GQ, 44 (1971), 383-387.

on Leroy R. Shaw, The Playwright & Historical Change, in GQ, 44 (1971), 75-79.

Awards, Grants and Honors

Keynote speaker at Indiana University Graduate Student Conference, Feb. 2011

Maxwell Lecturer, Rutgers University, April 2002

Keynote speaker at the annual Dies Universitatis of the Friedrich-Schiller Universität in Jena, June 2001

Modern Language Association James Russell Lowell Prize, 1980, for Modern Drama and German Classicism

Guggenheim Fellowship, 1979-80

ACLS Fellowship, 1976-77

First Name: 
Kenan Professor
Computing ID: 
Office Address: 

New Cabell Hall, Room 225


Drama, German and European literature of the 18th and early 19th, late 19th and 20th centuries, literary theory

  • Columbia University, Ph.D. 1975 extra muros
  • Oxford University (Oriel College), B.A. 1962, M.A. 1967
  • Columbia College, A.B. 1960 summa cum laude


5:00pm | Solarium Room. April 7 & 8, 9:00 am. New Cabell Hall 236
11:00am | Shea House