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Lorna Martens

Professor of German and Comparative Literature

New Cabell Hall, Room 239

Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30 pm.- 4:30 pm., and by appointment.

Comparative literature 18th-20th centuries, modern German and Austrian literature, women's studies, GDR literature, poetry, narrative and narrative theory, cognitive approaches to literature


Comparative literature 18th-20th centuries, modern German and Austrian literature, women's studies, GDR literature, poetry, narrative and narrative theory, cognitive approaches to literature


  • Cognitive Approaches to Literature
  • Narrative Theory
  • Autobiography and Autobiography Theory
  • Turn-of-the-Century Literature
  • Freud and Others
  • German Expressionism and its European Contexts
  • Lyric Poetry 
  • Women Writers: Women on Women


  • Modern Poetry: Rilke, Valéry, Stevens
  • Literary Theory
  • Freud and Literature
  • Kafka and His Doubles
  • Women, Childhood, Autobiography
  • Narratives of Childhood


As Told by Herself:  Women's Childhood Autobiography,1845-1969.  (Madison, WI:  University of Wisconsin Press, 2022), 306pp.  .

(A history of women’s childhood autobiographies worldwide)

The Promise of Memory: Childhood Recollection and its Objects in Literary Modernism (Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press, 2011).

(On adult memories of childhood; Proust, Rilke, Benjamin.)

The Promised Land? Feminist Writing in the German Democratic Republic (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001), 273 pp.
(A Women's Studies title.)

Shadow Lines: Austrian Literature from Freud to Kafka (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996), 291pp.
(Literary analysis of major writers of the 1890-1924 period.)

The Diary Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 307pp.
(First history of the diary novel, concentrating on French, German, and English works; some Russian and Scandinavian; genre theory; interpretations of major works by writers such as Defoe, Gide, Rilke, Frisch, Butor, and Doris Lessing.)


Rilke’sSchauen.’” In The Tender Gaze: Compassionate Encounters on the German Screen, Stage, and Page, edited by Muriel Cormican and Jennifer Marston William (Rochester, New York:  Camden House, 2021), 159-176.

“Corporeality, Materiality, and Unnamed Emotions in Rilke’s Dinggedichte.”   In Feelings Materialized: Emotions, Bodies, and Things in Germany, 1500-1950, edited by Heikki Lempa, Derek Hillard, and Russell Spinney.  (New York:  Berghahn, 2020), 235-251. 

“Autofiction in the Third Person, with a Reading of Christine Brooke-Rose’s Remake,” in Autofiction in English, ed. Hywel Dix (Cham, Switzerland:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 49-64.

“Mood, Voice, and the Question of the Narrator in Third-Person Fiction,” Narrative 25:2 (May 2017), 182-202.  

"Framing an Accusation in Dialogue: Kafka’s Letter to His Father and Sarraute’s Childhood.” European Journal of Life Writing[Online], 5 (2016): MC61-MC76. Web. 28 Nov. 2016

 “‘The Words at My Back’: Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior and the Power of Discourse,” in Critical Insights: The Woman Warrior, ed. Linda Trinh Moser and Kathryn West (Amenia, NY: Grey House Publishing, 2016), pp. 109-124.

“The Truth Criteria of Autobiography: Doris Lessing and Telling the Truth,” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 29.2, 319-340 (2014).

"Gender, Psychoanalysis, and Childhood Autobiography: Christa Wolf's Kindheitsmuster," in From Kafka to Sebald: Modern Civilization and Narrative Form, ed. Sabine Wilke (New York: Continuum, 2012) 145-165.

"Nostalgia and Childhood Autobiography," in The Proceedings of Eleventh Cultural Studies Symposium "Memory and Nostalgia" (Izmir: Ege University Publishing House, 2009): 193-208.

"Constructing Interiority in Eighteenth-Century Narrative Fiction: Wieland's Geschichte des Agathon," in German Quarterly 81.1 (2008): 49-65.

"Ich-Verdoppelung und Allmachtsphantasien in Texten des frühen Hofmannsthal: 'Erlebnis', Das Bergwerk zu Falun, 'Reitergeschichte,'" in Sprachkunst 33 (2002): 215-238.

"The Institutionalization of Conflict as an Interpretative Strategy in Freud's Interpretation of Dreams," in Agonistics: Arenas of Creative Contest, ed. Janet Lungstrum and Elizabeth Sauer (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997), pp. 129-151.

"Naked Bodies in Schnitzler's Late Prose," in "Die Seele ist ein weites Land": Kritische Beiträge zum Werk Arthur Schnitzlers, ed. Joseph P. Strelka (Bern: Lang, 1997), pp. 107-129.

“'Der Schwung der Figur': Rilke's Debt to Valéry," Comparative Literature 47 (1995): 215-234.

"Kunst und Gewalt: Bemerkungen zu Hofmannsthals Ästhetik," Austriaca, 37 (1993): 155-165.

"A Dream Narrative: Schnitzler's 'Der Sekundant,'" Modern Austrian Literature, 23, Nr. 1 (1990), 1-17.

"Art, Freedom, and Deception in Kafka's 'Ein Bericht für eine Akademie,'" Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift, 61 (1987), 720-732.

"Musil and Freud: The Foreign Body in 'Die Versuchung der stillen Veronika,'" Euphorion, 81 (1987), 100-118.

"The Theme of the Repressed Memory in Hofmannsthal's Elektra," The German Quarterly, 60 (1987), 38-51.

"Geschlecht und Geheimnis: Expressive Sprache bei Stefan Zweig," in Stefan Zweig heute, ed. Mark H. Gelber (New York: Peter Lang, 1987), pp. 44-65.

"Autobiographical Narrative and the Use of Metaphor: Rilke's Techniques in Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge," Studies in Twentieth Century Literature 9 (1985), 229-249.

"Saying 'I'", Stanford Literature Review, 2 (1985), 27-46.

"Mirrors and Mirroring: 'Fort/da' Devices in Texts by Rilke, Hofmannsthal, and Kafka," Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift, 58 (1984), 139-155.

"Secrets, Speech, and Silence: Stefan Zweig's Concept of Expressive Language," Hebrew University Studies in Literature, 10 (1982), 181-207.

“Irreversible Processes, Proliferating Middles, and Invisible Barriers: Spatial Metaphors in Freud, Schnitzler, Musil, and Kafka," in Focus on Vienna 1900, ed. Erika Nielsen, Houston German Studies 4 (München: Fink, 1982), 46-57.

"Empty Center and Open End: The Theme of Language in Michel Butor's L'Emploi du temps," PMLA, 96 (1981), 49-63.

Book Reviews

Review Articles

The Wall in My Backyard: East German Women in Transition, edited by Dinah Dodds and Pam Allen-Thompson (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994) and Helen H. Frink, Women After Communism: The East German Experience (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2001), Signs 29 (2004), 939-942.

"The Hellenistic Age of Narratology" (reviewing Ann Fehn, Ingeborg Hoesterey, and Maria Tatar, eds., Neverending Stories: Toward a Critical Narratology)Semiotica 109-1/2 (1996): 187-93.


Kellner, Renate.  Der Tagebuchroman als literarische Gattung.  Thematologische, poetologische und narratologische Aspekte.  Berlin:  De Gruyter, 2015. German Quarterly  90.1 (2017), 103-105.

Barbara L. Surowska, Auf Rilkes Wegen. Warshauer Studien zur Kultur-und Literaturwissenschaft, ed. Karol Sauerland. (Frankfurt a.M.: Lang, 2012). Forthcoming in Arbitrium.

Leeder, Karen and Robert Vilain, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Rilke. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. German Quarterly 84.4 (2011) 513-515.

Silke von der Emde. Entering History: Feminist Dialogues in Irmtraud Morgner's Prose. Bern: Peter Lang, 2004. German Quarterly 79.1 (2006), 123-4.

Cheryl Dueck. Rifts in Time and in the Self: The Female Subject in Two Generations of East German Women Writers. Amsterdamer Publikationen zur Sprache und Literatur, vol. Cola Minis and Arend Quak, eds.  (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004), in Seminar 42:1 (2006), 90-92.

Henk De Berg, Freud's Theory and Its Use in Literary and Cultural Studies: An Introduction (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2003), in German Quarterly, 77 (2004), 115-116.

Timothy J. Casey, A Reader's Guide to Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus (Galway: Arlen House, 2001), in Journal of English and Germanic Philology 102:3 (July 2003), 417-419.

Judith Ryan, Rilke, Modernism, and Poetic Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), in Modern Language Quarterly 65:1 (2002), 126-130.

Massimo Cacciari, Posthumous People: Vienna at the Turning Point, trans. Rodger Friedman, in German Quarterly, 73 (2000), 215-216.

Karl Eibl, Kritisch-rationale Literaturwissenschaft, in Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 10 (1983), 392-98.

Expressionism Reconsidered, ed. Gertrud Pickar & Karl Eugene Webb, in German Quarterly, 54 (1981), 237-8.

Karl Ludwig Pfeiffer, Sprachtheorie, Wissenschaftstheorie und das Problem der Textinterpretation: Untersuchungen am Beispiel des New Criticism und Paul Valérys, in Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 6 (1979), 405-10.

Frederick Will, The Fact of Literature, in Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 5 (1978), 133-37.

Awards, Grants and Honors

Page Barbour grant for “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Memory” conference (2016)

University of Virginia Summer Grant 2013

Arts and Sciences Support for Research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, April-May 2013

Faculty Research Grant, University of Virginia 2007

Sesquicentennial Associateship 1993-94, 1999-2000, 2005-06, 2012-2013

Fulbright Senior Fellowship to Berlin 1994-95

Guggenheim Fellowship, 1987-88

Summer Institute for the Study of Avant-Gardes, Harvard, 1987

Yale University Senior Faculty Fellowship, 1984-85

Morse Fellowship, 1981-82

DAAD Fellowship for dissertation research in Germany 1974-75

Yale University Fellowship 1970-73

Fulbright Grant to Germany 1969-70

Woodrow Wilson Fellow 1969-70

Phi Beta Kappa 1969