Why does literature matter? Why are the arts so critically important to us? These are questions I seek to address with my research. I explore the reasons why people devote themselves to writing and storytelling, and also to why we read, watch, or listen to such stories. I am interested in art’s capacity to impact or even transform what people think of themselves, of their social connections, or of the world we live in. Such concerns regularly guide me in my study of aesthetics and poetics, of literary theories as well as lectures about the arts. In my scholarship, I take a curious look at what writers say about their own work, and also about how the writing, films, music, or pieces of art by others have helped them grow.

Not only am I fascinated by such connections between the arts, their makers, and their audiences, I also like to explore the connections between literature and the sciences, politics, or philosophy. This fascination led me to engage emerging concepts of time and identity in a post-historical era, for example. To this end, I traced expressions of disillusionment with the Enlightenment project in various literary texts of the twentieth and twenty-first century and related them to a want for new concepts, ideas, or paradigms. But this fascinations with connections made to and by works of art also led me to explore the ramifications of Actor-Network-Theory and to discuss its claims about societal purposes for the arts.

I began my career as a scholar of German literature but have outgrown that label since. In pursuing my interests in interarts aesthetics and poetics, I have become much more of a Comparativist. While I still find literature written in German to be highly relevant and exciting, I also engage other artistic media, like film or music, and many internationally acclaimed writers from around the world have become central to the critical debates I contribute to.


PhD, Harvard University, 2008

MAT, University of Utah, 2002

MA, University of Münster, 2001

Blog Posts

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    MLA 2023, San Francisco:

    Session 193 – Poetics, Poiesis, Poeticity

    Wim Wenders on Poetry in Cinema: Thoughts on Poiesis and the Pragmatics of Poeticity

    Gundela Hachmann

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    Active 1 year, 1 month ago