Peter Schwartz

Associate Professor of German & Comparative Literature

Fall 2023 Office Hours: M 3:30-5:00, Th 3:30-5:00

Professor Schwartz teaches courses in German and comparative literature and in film. He also teaches in the Core Curriculum and in Kilachand Honors College. His special interests include European neoclassicism, romanticism and modernism, early film and photography, the critical work of the Frankfurt School, literary and musical folk genres, 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, the Faust tradition in its relation to media history, Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck, the films of Michael Haneke, and the war archive of the German cultural historian Aby Warburg. Recent and forthcoming publications include the English translation from the German of André Jolles’s classic work of genre theory Simple Forms (2017), an iconographic study of Chinese Communist paper money and Soviet silent film (2014), an essay on Warburg and cinema (2020), and a co-edited volume of essays on Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann’s collective documentary video project Labour in a Single Shot (2022).



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.


Labour in a Single Shot: Critical Perspectives on Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki’s Global Video Project (Amsterdam University Press, 2022), ed. Roy Grundmann, Peter J. Schwartz and Gregory Williams.

Scholarly translations

Detlef Gericke, “Foreword,” and Antje Ehmann, “Workshop Journals, 2011-2014,” in Labour in a Single Shot: Critical Perspectives (Amsterdam University Press, 2022), ed. Roy Grundmann, Peter J. Schwartz and Gregory Williams. 13-27 & 51-96.

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

Reviews: Marta Figlerowicz, “How To Do Things With Genres,” Los Angeles Review of Books, 30 March 2017:; Jan Baetens, Critical Inquiry, August 29, 2018:; David Martyn, “The Morphology of Simple Forms – Then and Now,” Arcadia 2018; 53(2): 445-452; Geertjan de Vugt, “André Jolles: Vormen, Gebaren, en Formules,” De Nederlandse Boekengids / The Dutch Review of Books, 3/6 (December 2018-January 2019), 45-7.; Andrew Teverson, Marvels & Tales 3.1 (2019): 207-209

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.


“Attitudes Toward Work. On the Historical Metamorphoses of Psychotechnology.” in Labour in a Single Shot: Critical Perspectives on Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki’s Global Video Project (Amsterdam University Press, 2022), ed. Roy Grundmann, Peter J. Schwartz and Gregory Williams.

“Labour in a Single Shot: Critical Perspectives – Editors’ Introduction,” co-written with Roy Grundmann and Gregory Williams, in Labour in a Single Shot: Critical Perspectives. Ed. Roy Grundmann, Peter J. Schwartz and Gregory Williams (Amsterdam University Press, 2022), 29-49.

“Rube Stories and Paradigmatic Crimes as Narrative Modulators at Thresholds of Cultural Change.” Cosmo: Comparative Studies in Modernism (Turin) 18 (2021): 83-93.

“Aby Warburg and Cinema, Revisited.” New German Critique 139 (Feb. 2020): 105-40.

“’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.

“Formulating a Thesis; or: Chaos and Cosmos.” Journal of the Core Curriculum [Boston University], Number XXV (Spring 2016): 49-62.

“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 CI 101 Global Cinemas I
CAS CI 102 Global Cinemas II
CAS WR 150 The Social Contract
CAS XL 222 Introduction to Comparative Literature (Western Tradition)
The Migration of Stories
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 / XL 470 Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
CAS LG 340 Schuldfragen: Germany Since 1989
CAS LG 387/ CI 320 Weimar Cinema
CAS LG 388/ CI 394 World Cities: Berlin – Image and Reality
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
CAS LG 455 German Culture Before 1945
KHC XL 103 Problems in Propaganda and Persuasion
CAS XL 100 Explorations in World Literature: Leaving Home
CAS CC 101 Core Humanities I: Ancient Worlds
CAS CC 102 Core Humanities II: The Way: Antiquity and the Medieval World
CAS CC 201 Core Humanities III: Renaissance, Rediscovery, and Reformation

Peter Schwartz’s CV