Curriculum Vitae

Thomas Pfau

Duke Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708-0015 (919) 681-3098 (office)

Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1989
M.A., University of California at Irvine, 1985
BA, University of Constance, Germany, 1982
Areas of Research

19th Century Literature; Romanticism


19th Century Literature
Critical Theory
Literary History & Criticism
Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

ACLS Fellows (ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowships and ACLS/New York Public Library Fellowships), American Council of Learned Societies, 0 2010
Fellow, National Humanities Center, 0 2010
Finalist for Excellence in Teaching Award, DSG, February 2003
Dorothy Collins Brown Fellow at the Henry Huntington Library, Summer 1993
Dissertation defended with distinction, State University of New York at Buffalo, Nov. 1988
Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 1988-1999
Ph.D. qualifying examinations passed with distinction, State University of New York at Buffalo, Mar. 1987
University Fellowship for Graduate Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo, 1985-1988
Regents of the University of California Fellowship for Graduate Studies, 1983-1984
German Academic Exchange Fellowship for Study in the United States, 1982-1983



  1.  Minding the Modern: Human Agency, Intellectual Traditions & Responsible Knowledge. University of Notre Dame Press, October, 2013. 692 pages pp.

Edited Volumes

  1.  Judgment and Action Fragments toward a History.  Northwestern University Press, December 2017.
  2. Pfau, T. Minding the modern: Human agency, intellectual traditions, and responsible knowledge.  January 2013.
  3. Pfau, T; Mitchell, R. Romanticism and Modernity.  Routledge, November 2011.
  4. Pfau, T; Mitchell, R. Romanticism and Modernity. 21 Routledge, 2011.
  5.  Medium and Message in German Modernism. 2 2006.  (This special issue contains six essays by notable people working in 19th c. and 20c. literary studies, philosophy, and musicology.)
  6. Pfau, T. Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, and Melancholy, 1790-1840..  Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.  (Johns Hopkins University Press, October 2005 (
  7. Pfau, T. Lessons of Romanticism: A Critical Companion.  an anthology of twenty-one essays, Durham: Duke UP, 1998.
  8. Pfau, T. Wordsworth’s Profession: Form, Class, and the Logic of Romantic Cultural Production.  Stanford UP, 1997.  (
  9. T. Pfau, co-editor. Textual and Cultural Dissolution in English Romanticism. a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly 95.iii (Summer 1996).
  10. Pfau, T. Idealism and the Endgames of Theory: Three Essays by F. W. J. Schelling.  State U of New York P, 1994.  (Trans. and edited with a critical introduction)
  11. Pfau, T; translator, . Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters on Theory.  State U of New York P, 1987.  (Trans. and ed., with a critical introduction)

Articles/Essays/Chapters in Books

  1. Pfau, T. "“Superabundant being”: Disambiguating Rilke and Heidegger." Modern Theology 35.1WILEY, (January, 2019): 23-42.
  2. Wolfe, J; Pfau, T. "Philosophy and theology in Germany, 1918 to 1933: Editorial introduction." Modern Theology 35.1WILEY, (January, 2019): 3-4.
  3. Pfau, T. "On Attention." Salmagundi 194 (April, 2017): 145-163.
  4. Pfau, T. "“Botched Execution” or Historical Inevitability: Conceptual Dilemmas in Brad S. Gregory's The Unintended Reformation." Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 46.3 (September, 2016): 603-628.
  5. Pfau, T. "A Modern Coleridge: Cultivation, Addiction, Habits." Studies in Romanticism 55.1 (2016): 134-138.
  6. Pfau, T. "Formative Fictions: Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Bildungsroman." Novel a Forum on Fiction 48.1 (May, 2015): 136-139.
  7. Pfau, T. "Rational Theology and the Catholic Critique of Modernity, 1780-1830." The Oxford Handbook on European Romanticism. Ed. Paul, HKC; London,.  2014.  forthcoming
  8. Pfau, T. "Wagner hören im Zeitalter kultureller Überdetermination: Adorno’s Versuch über Wagner." Jenseits von Bayreuth: Richard Wagner Heute. Ed. Boernchen, S; Mein, G. Fink Verlag, 2014. 
  9. Pfau, T. "Review of Tobias Boes, Formative Fictions: Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Bildungsroman." Novel: a Forum on Fiction  (March, 2014)
  10. Pfau, T. "’A certain mediocrity' Moral Sentiments and Early Behaviorism in A. Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments." Romanticism and the Emotions. Ed. Faflak, J; Sha, R. Cambridge UP, 2014. 
  11. Pfau, T. "Shadowing the lyric: Tilottama rajan reads romantic narrative." Eighteenth Century 54.4Johns Hopkins University Press, (December, 2013): 565-569.
  12. Pfau, T. "History without Hermeneutics: Brad Gregory’s Unintended Modernity." The Immanent Frame  (November, 2013)
  13. Pfau, T. "review of Tilottama Rajan, Romantic Narrative (Johns Hopkins UP, 2010)." The Eighteenth Century: Theory & Interpretation  (October, 2013)
  14. Pfau, T. "A Note on the pre-History of European Nihilism: Eroticism and Damaged Life in Don Giovanni." andererseits: Yearbook of Transatlantic German Studies 2 (October, 2013)
  15. Pfau, T. "Meta-Language and Picture Experience in Der Stechlin." The German Quarterly 86.4 (October, 2013): 421-443.
  16. Pfau, T. "Metasprache und Bilderfahrung inDer Stechlin." The German Quarterly 86.4WILEY, (October, 2013): 421-443.
  17. Pfau, T. "Epochenwandel mit metaphysischen Anklängen: Metasprache und Bilderfahrung in Der Stechlin." German Quarterly 86.4 (2013): 420-442.
  18. Pfau, T. "Mourning Modernity:: Classical Antiquity, Romantic Theory, and Elegiac Form."  
  19. Pfau, T. "review of David Collings, Monstrous Society: Reciprocity, Discipline, and the Political Uncanny at the end of Early Modern England (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP)." European Romantic Review 23.1 (March, 2012): 68-73.
  20. Pfau, T. "A certain mediocrity: Adam Smith’s moral behaviorism." Romanticism and the Emotions. Cambridge University Press, 2012. 48-75.
  21. Pfau, T. "The Appearance of Stimmung: Play as Virtual Rationality." Stimmung: zur Wiederkehr einer ästhetischen Kategorie?. Ed. Gisbertz, A. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2011. 
  22. Pfau, T. "Paul H. Fry, Wordsworth and the Poetry of What We AreWordsworth and the Poetry of What We Are. Paul H. Fry . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008. Pp. xvi+240.." Modern Philology 108.3University of Chicago Press, (February, 2011): E191-E194.
  23. Pfau, T. "Rethinking the image: With some reflections on G. M. Hopkins." Yearbook of Comparative Literature 57 (January, 2011): 117-147.
  24. Pfau, T. "The Bildungsroman." The Blackwell Encylopedia of Romantic Literature. Ed. Burwick, F; Goslee, N; Hoeveler, D. Blackwell, 2011. 124-132.
  25. Pfau, T. "Review of Paul Fry, Wordsworth and the Poetry of What We Are." Modern Philology 108.3 (2011): 191-94.
  26. Pfau, T. "William Paley." Blackwell Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature, 4 vols.. Ed. Burwick, F; Goslee, N. Blackwell, 2011. 
  27. Pfau, T. "Bildungsspiele: Vicissitudes of socialization in Wilhelm Meister's apprenticeship." European Romantic Review 21.5Informa UK Limited, (October, 2010): 567-587.
  28. Pfau, T; Mitchell, R. "European Romantic Review: Introduction." European Romantic Review 21.5Informa UK Limited, (October, 2010): 545-551.
  29. Pfau, T. "The letter of judgment: Practical reason in Aristotle, the Stoics, and Rousseau." Eighteenth Century 51.3 (September, 2010): 289-316.
  30. Pfau, T. ""All is leaf": Difference, metamorphosis, and Goethe's phenomenology of knowledge." Studies in Romanticism 49.1 (March, 2010): 3-41.
  31. Pfau, T. "Between sentimentality and phantasmagoria: German lyric poetry, 1830–1890." German Literature of the Nineteenth Century, 1832-1899. 9 2010. 207-250.
  32. Mitchell, R; Pfau, T. "“Romanticism and Form” special issue." European Romantic Review 21.5 (2010)
  33. Mitchell, R; Pfau, T. "NASSR 2009 Conference Volume." European Romantic Review 21.3 (2010)
  34. Pfau, T. "Bildung: Etiology, Function, Structure (with some reflections on Beethoven)." Die Romantik: ein Gründungsmythos der EuropEuropäischen Moderne. Ed. Gaier, U; al, E. Bonner Universitätsverlag, 2010. 123-41.
  35. Pfau, T. "Bildung: Etiology, Function, Structure (with some reflections on Beethoven)." Die Romantik: ein Gründungsmythos der EuropEuropäischen Moderne. Ed. Gaier, U. Bonner Universitätsverlag, 2010. 123-41.
  36. Pfau, T. "Mourning Modernity: Classical Antiquity, Romantic Theory, and Elegiac Form." The Oxford Handbook on the Elegy.  2009. 
  37. Pfau, T. "Review of Colin Jager The Book of God: Secularization and Design in the Romantic Era." Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, no. 25 Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania Press, 2007, (2009)
  38. Pfau, T. "The Wordsworthian Enlightenment: Romantic Poetry and the Ecology of Reading." Studies in Romanticism 48.1 (2009): 159-165.
  39. Pfau, T. "Beyond liberal Utopia: Freedom as the problem of modernity." European Romantic Review 19.2Informa UK Limited, (April, 2008): 83-103.
  40. Pfau, T. "Review of Leon Chai, "Romantic Theory: Forms of Reflexivity in the Revolutionary Era"." Comparative Literature 60.3 (2008): 290-94.
  41. Pfau, T. "'Romantic theory': Forms of reflexivity in the Romantic era." Comparative Literature 60.3 (2008): 290-294.
  42. Pfau, T. "From Autonomous Subjects to Self-Regulating Structures: Rationality and Development in German Idealism."  BLACKWELL PUBLISHING LTD,
  43. Pfau, T. "Of ends and endings: Teleological and variational models of romantic narrative." European Romantic Review 18.2Informa UK Limited, (Spring, 2007): 231-241.
  44. Pfau, T. "The philosophy of Shipwreck: Gnosticism, skepticism, and Coleridge's catastrophic modernity." Mln 122.5Johns Hopkins University Press, (Winter, 2007): 949-1004.
  45. Pfau, T. "Review of The Wordsworthian Enlightenment, ed. Helen R. Elam & Frances Ferguson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2005)." Romantic Circles  (2007)
  46. Pfau, T. "Review of George S. Williamson, The Longing for Myth in Germany: Religion and Aesthetic Culture from Romanticism to Nietzsche (Chicago: U of Chicago Press)." European Romantic Review 18.3 (Spring, 2007): 439-44.
  47. Pfau, T. "Beyond the Suburbs of the Mind: The Political and Aesthetic Economy of the Body in Malthus and Wordsworth." South Atlantic Quarterly 95 (2007): 629-69.
  48. Pfau, T. "Beyond Liberal Utopia: Freedom in the Nineteenth Century." European Romantic Review 19.1 (2007)
  49. Pfau, T. "The Melancholy Gift: Freedom in Nineteenth-Century Thought." Romantic Praxis  (2007)
  50. Pfau, T. "Rationality as Bewegung: From Kantian Autonomy to Hegel’s Self-Regulating System." The Blackwell Companion to European Romanticism. Ed. Ferber, M. Blackwell, 2005. 
  51. Pfau, T. "Nineteenth-Century Lyric German Poetry." Camden House History of German Literature, volume 9. Ed. Koelb, C; Downing, E. vol 9 of Camden House History of German Literature9Camden House, 2005. 201-242.
  52. Pfau, T. "From Autonomous Subjects to Self-Regulating Structures: Rationality and Development in German Idealism." in "A Companion to European Romanticism". Ed. Ferber, M. Blackwell CompanionsBlackwell, 2004. 
  53. Pfau, T. "Conjuring history: Lyric cliché, conservative fantasy, and traumatic awakening in German romanticism." South Atlantic Quarterly 102.1Duke University Press, (Winter, 2003): 53-92.
  54. Pfau, T. "Review of Angela Esterhammer’s The Romantic Performative: Language and Action in British and German Romanticism." Criticism 44.1 (2003): 72-76 Stanford: Stanford UP, 2000, (2003)
  55. Pfau, T. "Review of Ian Balfour’s The Rhetoric of Romantic Prophecy." Comparative Literature Stanford: Stanford UP, 2002, (2003)
  56. Pfau, T. "Review of Emerson R. Marks, Taming the Chaos: English Poetic Diction Theory since the Renaissance." MLQ (2003) . 60.2 (2003): 265-67.
  57. Pfau, T. ""From Autonomous Subjects to Self-Regulating Structures: Rationality and Development in German Idealism"." Ed. Romanticism, BCT. Blackwell,  edited Michael Ferber
  58. Pfau, T. "The rhetoric of Romantic prophecy." Comparative Literature 55.4 (2003): 360-363.
  59. Pfau, T. "The Romantic Performative: Language and Action in British and German Romanticism (review)." Criticism 44.1Project Muse, (2002): 72-76.
  60. Pfau, T. "Nachtigallenwahnsinn and Rabbinismus: Heine’s Literary Provocation to German-Jewish Cultural Identity." Romantic Poetry: Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages. Ed. Esterhammer, A. John Benjamins, 2002. 427-44.
  61. Pfau, T. "The voice of critique: Aesthetic cognition after Kant." Modern Language Quarterly 60.3Duke University Press, (September, 1999): 321-352.  Previously published by Romantic Praxis
  62. Pfau, T. "Taming the chaos: English poetic diction theory since the Renaissance." Modern Language Quarterly 60.2 (June, 1999): 265-267.
  63. Pfau, T. "Review of Terence A. Hoagwood’s Politics, Philosophy, and the Production of Romantic Texts." Studies in Romanticism 38.4Carbondale: Northern Illinois UP, 1996, (1999): 692-98.
  64. Pfau, T. "Politics, philosophy, and the production of romantic texts." Studies in Romanticism 38.4 (1999): 692-698.
  65. Pfau, T. "Reading beyond Redemption: Historicism, Irony, and the Lessons of Romanticism." Critical Introduction to Lessons of Romanticism, Duke UP Ed. Pfau, T; Gleckner, RF.  (1998): 1-37.
  66. Pfau, T. "Paranoia Historicized: Legal Fantasy, Social Change, and Satiric Meta-Commentary in the 1794 Treason Trials." Romanticism, Radicalism, and the Press. Ed. Behrendt, SC. Wayne State University Press, 1997. 221 pages.
  67. Pfau, T. "Paranoian Historicized: Legal Fantasy, Social Change, and Satiric Meta-Commentary in the 1794 Treason Trials." Romanticism, Radicalism, and the Press. Ed. Behrendt, SC. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1997. 
  68. Pfau, T. "Bringing about the Past: Prophetic Memory in Kant, Godwin, and Blake." Romantic Proxis  (1997)
  69. Pfau, T. "Paranoian Historicized: Legal Fantasy, Social Change, and Satiric Meta-Commentary in the 1794 Treason Trials." Romanticism, Radicalism, and the Press. Ed. Behrendt, SC. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1997. 
  70. Pfau, T. "'Searching their Hearts': Romantic Pedagogy, Social Ascendancy, and the Pleasures of Surveillance in Andrew Bell and Mary Wollstonecraft." Romanticism 2.ii (1996): 220-46.
  71. Pfau, T; Kercsmar, RR. "Rhetorical and cultural dissolution in Romanticism - Introduction." South Atlantic Quarterly 95.3 (1996): 571-573.
  72. Pfau, T. "''Beyond the suburbs of the mind'': The political and aesthetic disciplining of the Romantic body." South Atlantic Quarterly 95.3 (Summer, 1996): 629-669.
  73. Pfau, T. "Review of Martha Woodmansee’s The Author, Art, and the Market: Rereading the History of Aesthetics." Studies in Romanticism 34New York: Columbia UP, (1995): 490-95.
  74. Pfau, T. "Immediacy and Dissolution: Reflections on Moral Theory and the Logic of Critical Discourse." Intersections: Nineteenth-Century Philosophy and Contemporary Theory. Ed. Rajan, T; Clark, D. Albany: State U of New York P, 1995. 
  75. PFAU, T. "THE AUTHOR, ART, AND THE MARKET, REREADING THE HISTORY OF AESTHETICS - WOODMANSEE,M." Studies in Romanticism 34.3 (1995): 490-495.
  76. Pfau, T. "Immediacy and Dissolution: Reflections on Moral Theory and the Logic of Critical Discourse." Intersections: Nineteenth-Century Philosophy and Contemporary Theory. Ed. Rajan, T; Clark, D. Albany: State U of New York P, 1995. 
  77. Pfau, T. ""Elementary Feelings" and "Distorted Language": The Pragmatics of Culture in Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads." New Literary History 24.1JSTOR, (1993): 125-125.
  78. Pfau, T. "The Pragmatics of Genre: Moral Theory and Lyric Authorship in Hegel and Wordsworth." Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Review 10.ii (1992): 397-422.  Reprinted in Intellectual Property and the Construction of Authorship, ed. Peter Jaszi and Martha Woodmansee [Durham: Duke UP, 1994]
  79. "Tropes of Desire: Figuring the 'Insufficient Void' of Self-Consciousness in Shelley's Epipsychidion." Keats-Shelley Journal XL (1991): 99-126.
  80. PFAU, T. "TROPES OF DESIRE, FIGURING THE INSUFFICIENT VOID OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS IN SHELLEY 'EPIPSYCHIDION'." Keats - Shelley Journal: Keats, Shelley, Byron, Hunt, and their circles 40 (1991): 99-126.
  81. Pfau, T. "Review of Wordsworth's Art of Allusion by Edward Stein." Studies in Romanticism 29 (1990): 496-499.
  82. Pfau, T. "Review of Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean Luc Nancy’s The Literary Absolute." Studies in Romanticism 29.2 (1990): 309-13.
  83. Pfau, T. "Review of Edwin Stein’s Woodworth’s Art of Illusion." Studies in Romanticism 29 (1990): 496-99.
  84. Pfau, T. "Immediacy and the Text: Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Theory of Style and Interpretation." Journal of the History of Ideas 51.i (1990): 51-73.
  85. Pfau, T. "Review of Winfried Menninghaus’s Unendliche Verdopplung: Die Grundlegung der fruhromantischen Kunsttheorie im Begriff absoluter Selbstreflexion." MLN (German Issue) 104.3 (1989): 729-33.
  86. Pfau, T. "Thinking before Totality: Kritik, Ubersetzung, and the Language of Interpretation in the early Walter Benjamin." MLN (Comparative Literature Issue) 103.5 (1988): 1072-97.
  87. Pfau, T. "Review of Andrej Warminski’s Readings in Interpretation: Holderlin, Hegel, and Heidegger." MLN (Comparative Literature Issue) 102.5 (1987): 1212-15.
  88. Pfau, T. "Rhetoric and the Existential: Romantic Studies and the Question of the Subject." Studies in Romanticism 26 (1987): 487-512.
Conference Talks, Lectures and Workshops

  Invited Lectures:

  • 'Seeing and being-seen coincide': Freedom as Contemplation in Nicholas of Cusa & G. M. Hopkins., Yale University, 21 September 2018
  • "The Melancholy of Writing: Keats and some Contemporaries", Emory University--English Department, April 16, 2005
  • "Satyr Plays of Civilization: on the Death of 'Bildung' in Spengler and Mann", University of Chicago--Germanic Languages & Literatures, April 02, 2005
  • "Metamorphoses of Theory: Towards an Interdisciplinary Definition of 'Bildung'.", University of Michigan--Germanic Languages & Literatures, February 24, 2005
  • Theology and Liberty in Bach’s B-Minor Mass, Valparaiso, Indiana, January 8-11, 2004
  • "[Ital]Verstimmung[Ital]as Literature: Reading Keats and Heine.", Princeton University, 13 December 2003
  • "Keats's Poetics of Simulation", King's College, Cambridge, U.K., 13 December 2003
  • Ruins of Modernity, German Studies Association Meeting in New Orleans, September 18-21, 2003
  • Tyranny, Power, Freedom and Responsibility in Schiller’s Writings, Big Sky, Montana, June 26-29, 2003
  • Keats’s Poetics of Simulation, Invitational lecture at “Aesthetic Positions,” University of Cambridge, U.K., June 20-22, 2003
Academic Service

  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, July 01, 2005 - present
  • German Studies Associate Faculty, Member, 1994 - present
  • Department of Germanic Languages and Literature, Director of Graduate Studies, undefined, 2009 - present
    Having worked with Jonathan Hess and Eric Downing as co-directors of the Carolina-Duke Joint German Ph.D. Program, I have done so for a third year in 2011-12, this time w. Prof. K. Starkey as my counterpart.
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies in English, July 01, 2005 - present
  • Director of Graduate Student Placement--English
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies--German
  • Graduate Advisory Committee--English, Member
  • English Department Executive Committee, Member
  • Search Committee in 19th C English Lit, Chair
    Chaired committee for search in 19th C lit. that resulted in the appointment of Prof. Robert Mitchell
  • Search Committee for 18th & 19th C Brit. Lit., Member
  • Director of Graduate Studies--German
  • Tenure Review Committee for Prof. Ian Baucom, Member
  • Senior Search Committee in German Studies, Member, 1997 - 1998
  • English Graduate Program Advisory Committee, Member, 1995 - 1997
  • English Department Honors Committee, Director, 1992 - 1994
  • Committee for Graduate Placement, Director, 1994
  • Committee for Graduate Placement, Director, 1994-95, 1997-98
  • English Undergraduate Studies Committee, Member, 1992 - 1993
  • Committee for Graduate Placement, Member, 1992-94; 1996-97, 1999
  • Tenure, Reappointment, Promotion committees, Chair, July 01, 2010 - May 01, 2011
    Committee for the Promotion of Prof. William Donahue to the rank of Full Professor


  • Duke University Bookstore Committee


  • North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, Member on the Advisory Board

Doctoral Theses Directed

Magdalena Zurawski, Cultivating the Nation: Virtue, Capital, and Early American Literature, (May 1, 2010 - May 12, 2013)
Lynda Nyota, (May 30, 2009 - May 12, 2013)
Selin Ever, (April 15, 2010 - April 22, 2013)
Andrew Burkett, (January 1, 2006 - May 12, 2008)
Allison L Dushane, (2006 - 2008)
Magdalena Ostas, (January 1, 2006 - May 13, 2007)
Brian M. Thomas, (January 01, 2003 - May 12, 2006)
Katey K. Castellano, (September 1, 2000 - May 1, 2006)
Jaques Khalip, (2004)
Teresa Y Chung, (2002)
Artistic Interests: Committed amateur violinist with a fair amount of past and present chamber music experience. Student of Prof. Eric Pritchard, lead-violinist of the Ciompi Quartet (in residence at Duke University).
Last modified: 2019/05/21

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