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Thomas Pfau, Eads Family Professor of English & Professor of German

Thomas Pfau
Contact Info:
Office Location:  502 Allen
Office Phone:  919-681-3098
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2022):

  • XTIANTHE 782.01, POETRY &/AS THEOLOGY I Synopsis
    Divinity TBA, M 05:15 PM-07:45 PM
    Divinity TBA, M 05:15 PM-07:45 PM
Office Hours:

Tuesday 11:00am - 12:00pm

Ph.D.State University of New York - Buffalo1989
M.A.University of California - Irvine1985
BAUniversity of Constance, Germany1982

19th Century Literature
Critical Theory
Literary History & Criticism
Eighteenth Century Literature
Nineteenth Century Literature
Critical Theory
Research Interests: 19th Century Literature; Romanticism

A native of Germany, Thomas Pfau began his academic career in 1980 as a student of History and Literature at the University of Constance. In 1982, he came to the U.S. where, at UC-Irvine, he joined the Graduate Program in Comparative Literature and Theory. In 1985, he continued his studies in the Comparative Literature Program at SUNY-Buffalo where he received his Ph.D. in 1989 with a dissertation on self-consciousness in Romantic poetry and theory (Wordsworth, Shelley, et al.). Since then, his main interests have broadened to include a large array of Romantic writers -philosophical, literary, historical- in England and Germany. His published work has explored such questions as paranoia as an mediation of historically induced anxiety (in Blake, Godwin and the 1794 Treason Trials); moral speech as performance (in Hegel and J. L. Austin); problems of historicism in contemporary Romantic Studies and the work of Walter Benjamin; the Romantic conception of textual interpretation (in Schleiermacher). Besides translating and editing two volumes of theoretical writings by Hölderlin and Schelling, he also edited two essay collections on English Romanticism . Following his 1997 book, Wordsworth's Profession (Stanford UP), his most recent study of English and German Romanticism, entitled Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, and Melancholy, 1794-1840 is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press

Areas of Interest:

British & German Literature
Nineteenth-Century Music
Continental Philosophy and 19th C. Intellectual History


Europe • Germany • Britain • Literature • Romanticism

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Thomas Manganaro  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Pfau, T, Incomprehensible Certainty Metaphysics and Hermeneutics of the Image (June, 2022), pp. 784 pages, ISBN 0268202486  [abs]
  2. Pfau, T, Kantian Aesthetics as "soft" Iconoclasm, Logos a Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, vol. 24 no. 3 (June, 2021), pp. 69-88 [doi]
  3. Pfau, T, Absolute Gegebenheit: Image as aesthetic Urphanomen in Husserl and Rilke, in Phenomenology to the Letter: Husserl and Literature (November, 2020), pp. 227-260, ISBN 9783110648386 [doi]  [abs]
  4. Pfau, T, “Superabundant being”: Disambiguating Rilke and Heidegger, Modern Theology, vol. 35 no. 1 (January, 2019), pp. 23-42, WILEY [doi]  [abs]
  5. Pfau, T, “Seeing and being seen coincide” freedom as contemplation in Nicholas of Cusa and G. M. Hopkins, Logos a Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, vol. 22 no. 4 (January, 2019), pp. 20-41, Project Muse [doi]