Peter Schwartz

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

Spring 2018 Office Hours: Mondays 1:00-2:00pm and Thursdays 11:00-1:00pm

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).  His complete translation of a classic work of literary genre theory, André Jolles’s Simple Forms (1929), was published by Verso Books (London) in February 2017, and he is writing a book about Aby Warburg’s response to the First World War.




After Jena: Goethe’s Elective Affinities and the End of the Old Regime (Bucknell University Press, 2010). 358 pages.

Reviews: ECCB: The Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography n.s. vol. 36 (for 2010):  442-45, Eighteenth-Century Studies 45.4 (2012): 613-16, German Quarterly 84.1 (Winter 2011): 110-12, German Studies Review 35.2 (May 2012): 402-403, Goethe-Jahrbuch 128 (2011): 357-58, Goethe Yearbook 18 (2011): 308-09, Monatshefte 105.2 (2013): 332-34, Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 49.2 (2013): 254-56.

Scholarly translations: 

André Jolles, Simple Forms (London: Verso Books, 2017), with a foreword by Fredric Jameson and a critical introduction by Peter J. Schwartz. 272 pages

Review: Marta Figlerowicz, “How To Do Things With Genres,” Los Angeles Review of Books, 30 March 2017:

André Jolles, “Legend” (an abridgement of one chapter from Simple Forms [1929]), with a short introduction.  PMLA 128, No. 3 (May 2013): 728-743.

Selections from Johann Christian August Clarus, The Legal Accountability of the Murderer Johann Christian Woyzeck, Demonstrated with Documentary Evidence According to the Principles of the Science of Public Health (1825).  In Matthew Wilson Smith, ed., Georg Büchner: The Major Works (New York: Norton, 2012), 199-208.

Articles and book chapters

“’Guckt euch selbst an!’ Büchner’s Woyzeck and the Pericope Adulterae.” In Robert Gillett and Ernest Schonfeld, eds., Georg Büchner: Contemporary Perspectives (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 79-91.

“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)]

Marta Figlerowicz, “How To Do Things With Genres,” Los Angeles Review of Books, 30 March 2017:

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 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 in 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, 1782-199
CAS XL 351
/CAS LG 283
The Faust Tradition
CAS LG 452 The Age of Reason and Revolution
CAS LG 453 Romanticism
KHC XL 103 Problems in Propaganda and Persuasion
CAS XL 100 Explorations in World Literature: Leaving Home


Peter Schwartz’s CV