Monika Schmitz-Emans

Literary Theory and Comparative Literature, Bochum
Fellowship: 01.10.2017–31.03.2018

monika.schmitz-emans(at)rub.de

Vita

Degree in German, Philosophy, Italian, and Pedagogy in Bonn. 1984 doctorate in German Studies on Jean Paul’s approaches to a theory of language. 1983–1989 academic staff (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) at the Germanistisches Seminar of the University of Bonn. 1989–1994 teaching contracts at the Universities of Bonn, Essen, and Jena. 1992 Habilitation on the Poetics of Decipherment and Writing at Bonn. 1992 Professor of European Literature of the Modern Period at the Fernuniversität in Hagen. Since 1995 Professor of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. 1999–2005 Chairperson of the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft. 2002 Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (USA). Since 2007 President of the Jean-Paul-Gesellschaft. 2009 Tateshina Visiting Lecturer of the Japanische Gesellschaft für Germanistik. 2011 Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison (USA).

Fields of Research

Literature of the 18th–21st centuries; comparative literature; literary theory and poetics; text-image relationships; relationships between literature and other arts; literature, book formats, and the aesthetics of the book 

Project outline

Autobiographical Alphabets

Lexicographical ways of writing, which have been used in different accentuations throughout recent literature, have in the past decades given new impulses also to biographical and autobiographical writing. Authors of various cultures and language-areas shape their literary self-portraits, as well as portraits of other people, in the form of (usually alphabetic) sequences of articles that recall dictionary entries. This is often combined with reflections on the chosen form, concerned, among other things, with the self-conception of the (auto-) biographical undertaking in each case. Framed by (real and apparent) paratexts and supported by the resources of graphics and book design, (auto-) biographical alphabets thus present multifaceted contributions to a poetics of (auto-) biography. The pioneer of literary self-presentation in alphabetic-lexicographic form in the 20th century is Alberto Savinio. But already in Jean Paul the idea of an autobiography pegged to the alphabet had been at least formulated. Important variations of the autobiographical or autofictional alphabet include those by Roland Barthes, Carlos Fuentes, and Juri Rytchëu.

Publications (Selection)

  • Schrift und Abwesenheit. Historische Paradigmen zu einer Poetik der Entzifferung und des Schreibens. Bonner Habilitationsschrift. 1995.
  • Die Sprache der modernen Dichtung. München 1997.
  • Die Literatur, die Bilder und das Unsichtbare. Spielformen literarischer Bildinterpretation vom 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert. Würzburg 1999.
  • Seetiefen und Seelentiefen. Literarische Spiegelungen innerer und äußerer Fremde. Würzburg 2003.
  • Einführung in die Literatur der Romantik. Darmstadt  2004.
  • Fragen nach Kaspar Hauser. Entwürfe des Menschen, der Sprache und der Dichtung. Würzburg 2007.
  • Poetiken der Verwandlung. Innsbruck, Wien, Bozen 2008.
  • Franz Kafka. Epoche - Werk - Wirkung. München 2010.
  • Literatur-Comics. Adaptationen und Transformationen der Weltliteratur. Berlin, Boston 2012.