Professor of German Studies and of Comparative Literature
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Comparative Literature and Literary Theory (2008)
M.A., University of Pennsylvania, Comparative Literature and Literary Theory (2004)
B.A., Comparative Literature, Swarthmore College (2003)
My research focuses on the long nineteenth century, in particular the intersection of literature, music and philosophy. My first book, "Zwillingshafte Gebärden": Zur kulturellen Wahrnehmung des vierhändigen Klavierspiels im neunzehnten Jahrhundert (Königshausen & Neumann, 2009), traces four-hand piano playing as both a cultural practice and a motif in literature, art and philosophy (an English edition of the book recently appeared as Four-Handed Monsters: Four-Hand Piano Playing and Nineteenth-Century Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014)). My second book Uncivil Unions - The Metaphysics of Marriage in German Idealism and Romanticism (University of Chicago Press, 2012), explored German philosophical theories of marriage from Kant to Nietzsche. My book Tristan's Shadow - Sexuality and the Total Work of Art (University of Chicago Press, 2013) deals with eroticism in German opera after Wagner. In 2015 I published The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of late Capitalism (Oxford University Press), which I co-wrote with Charles Kronengold. In 2016 I published a German-language book of essays entitled Pop-Up Nation (Hanser). I am a frequent contributor to periodicals and newspapers in the United States, Germany and Switzerland. My current book project will trace the fate of the dynasty in the age of the nuclear family. In addition, I have published articles on topics such as fin-de-siècle German opera, the films of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, literature and scandal, the cultural use of ballads in the nineteenth century, and writers like Novalis, Stefan George, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and W.G. Sebald.