Peter Schwartz

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor of German & Comparative Literature
STH 615
BA, Harvard University
MA, Columbia University
PhD, Columbia University

Fall 2015 Office Hours: Monday 1:00-2:00pm,  Thursday 11:00-1:00pm, and by appointment

Professor Schwartz teaches courses in German and comparative literature and in film. His special interests include the Enlightenment (as historical event and unfinished process), European neoclassicism and modernism, American, French, Dutch and Japanese literature, early film and photography, the critical work of the Frankfurt School, literary and musical folk genres, visual propaganda, and the “science of culture” (Kulturwissenschaft) of the art historian Aby Warburg and his circle.  He is the author of After Jena: Goethe’s Elective Affinities and the End of the Old Regime (Bucknell UP, 2010) and of articles on Goethe and his age, Georg Büchner, Aby M. Warburg, Michael Haneke, and the Faust tradition in its relation to media history; his most recent publication is an iconographic study of Chinese Communist paper money and Soviet silent film (2014).  He is currently preparing a complete translation of a classic work of literary genre theory, André Jolles’s Simple Forms (1930).



After Jena: Goethe’s Elective Affinities and the End of the Old Regime (Bucknell University Press, 2010).

Articles and book chapters

“The Ideological Antecedents of the First-Series Renminbi Worker-and-Peasant Banknote or What Mao Tse-tung May Have Owed to Dziga Vertov.” Transcultural Studies 1 (2014): 8-94.

“’I’ll burn my books!’  Faust(s), Magic, Media.”  In Simon Richter and Richard A. Block, eds., Goethe’s Ghosts and the Persistence of Literature; Essays in Honor of Jane K. Brown (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2013), 186-214.

“Clarus, Woyzeck, and the Politics of Accountability.”  In Matthew Wilson Smith, ed., Georg Büchner: The Major Works (New York: Norton, 2012), 368-73.

“The Void at the Center of Things: Figures of Identity in Michael Haneke’s ‘Glaciation’ Trilogy.”  In A Companion to Michael Haneke, ed. Roy Grundmann (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 337-353.

“Aby Warburgs Kriegskartothek. Vorbericht einer Rekonstruktion.”  In Kasten 117. Aby Warburg und der Aberglaube im Ersten Weltkrieg, ed. Gottfried Korff (Tübingen: Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde, 2008), 39-69.

“Why Did Goethe Marry When He Did?” Goethe Yearbook 15 (2008): 115-130.

“Germans are to Greeks as French are to Romans: Metamorphoses of a Topos in German Literature, 1755-1819.” Myths, Foundation Texts and Imagined Communities, ed. Martin Prochazka & Ondrej Pilny (Prague: Litteraria Pragensia, 2005), 207-225.

“Eduard’s Egotism: Historical Notes on Goethe’s Elective Affinities.” The Germanic Review, Vol. 76, Nr. 1 (Winter 2001): 41-68.

“An Unpublished Essay by Goethe? ‘Staatssachen. Über mündliche deutsche Rechtspflege in  Deutschland’.”  The Germanic Review, Vol. 73, Nr. 2 (Spring 1998): 107-131.

 Review essay

“Goethe at 251.” The Germanic Review, Vol. 75, Nr. 4 (Fall 2000): 323-326 [review of: W. Daniel Wilson, Das Goethe-Tabu: Protest und Menschenrechte im klassischen Weimar; Karl Hugo Pruys, Die Liebkosungen des Tigers. Eine erotische Goethe-Biographie; Nicholas Boyle, Goethe: The Poet and the Age. Vol. 2: Revolution and Renunciation (1790-1803)]

Book reviews

Martin Dönike,  Pathos, Ausdruck und Bewegung. Zur Ästhetik des Weimarer Klassizismus 1796-1806Monatshefte 99, Nr. 4 (Winter 2007): 571-573.

Werner Schlick, Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandtschaften: A Middle-Class Critique of Aesthetic Aristocratism.   Monatshefte 96, Nr. 2 (Summer 2004): 292-294.

Jutta Linder, ‘Falsche Tendenzen’. Der Staatsdiener Goethe und der DichterLessing Yearbook XXXV (2003): 338-9.

Courses taught

CAS WR 150   The Social Contract
CAS XL 100    Finding a Voice: An Introduction to Literature
CAS XL 222    Introduction to Comparative Literature (Western Tradition)
CAS XL 470    Topics in Comparative Literature: Monsters and Robots
CAS LG 250    Introduction to German Literature in Translation:
The Difficulty of Being Human
CAS LG 282    Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
CAS LG 387    Weimar Cinema
CAS LG 340    Topics in German Civilization: Germany after 1989
CAS LG 350    Introduction to German Literature:
True Crime. Guilt, Crime, Society and Justice in
German Literature, 1782-1991
CAS XL 351    The Faust Tradition
/ LG 283
CAS LG 452    The Age of Reason and Revolution
CAS LG 453    Romanticism

Peter Schwartz’s CV