English Faculty Database
Arts & Sciences
Duke University

 HOME > Arts & Sciences > English > Faculty    Search Help Login pdf version printable version 
Thomas PfauThomas Pfau  
Alice Mary Baldwin Distinguished Professor and Bass Fellow

Office Location: 312 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 684-2741
Email Address: pfau@duke.edu
Web Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ1VKS

Teaching (Spring, 2023):

  • English 282s.01, Modernism and the arts Synopsis
    Allen 318, MW 12:00 PM-01:15 PM
  • Xtianthe 783.01, Poetry &/as theology - ii Synopsis
    Langford 060, M 05:15 PM-07:45 PM
  • English 890s.03, Special topics seminar Synopsis
    Divinity tba, M 05:15 PM-07:45 PM

Office Hours:

Fall 2022 Semester:

Wednesday 11:00 am-12:00 pm (312 Allen) and by appointment


Ph.D., State University of New York - Buffalo

M.A., University of California - Irvine

BA, University of Constance, Germany

Eighteenth Century Literature
Nineteenth Century Literature
Critical Theory
Thomas Pfau is the Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English, with secondary appointments in Germanic Languages & Literatures and in the Duke Divinity School. A native of Germany, Prof. 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 interests have gradually broadened to include topics in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, philosophy, and intellectual history. Besides translating and editing two volumes of theoretical writings by Hölderlin and Schelling, he also edited three essay collections on English Romanticism, as well as special issues of South Atlantic Quarterly (1996) English Romantic Review ( 2010, 2011), and Modernist Cultures (2005). To date, he is the author of three monographs: Wordsworth's Profession (Stanford UP, 1997) Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, and Melancholy, 1794-1840 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2005) and Minding the Modern: Human Agency, Intellectual Traditions, and Responsible Knowledge (Notre Dame UP, 2013). He has published some thirty-five essays in numerous essay collections and scholarly journals on a wide range of writers, including Rousseau, A. Smith, Kant, Wordsworth, Wollstonecraft, Coleridge, Shelley, Goethe, Beethoven, Eichendorff, Schleiermacher, Thomas Mann, Walter Benjamin and other writers and philosophers.

Curriculum Vitae
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Pfau, T. Incomprehensible Certainty Metaphysics and Hermeneutics of the Image.  June 2022.  [abs]
  2. Pfau, T. "Kantian Aesthetics as "soft" Iconoclasm." Logos a Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 24.3 (June, 2021): 69-88. [doi]
  3. Pfau, T. "Absolute Gegebenheit: Image as aesthetic Urphanomen in Husserl and Rilke." Phenomenology to the Letter: Husserl and Literature.  2020. 227-260. [doi]  [abs]
  4. Pfau, T. "“Superabundant being”: Disambiguating Rilke and Heidegger." Modern Theology 35.1WILEY, (January, 2019): 23-42. [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 22.4Project Muse, (January, 2019): 20-41. [doi]

Duke University * Arts & Sciences * English * Faculty * Staff * Grad * Scholars * Post-Docs * Reload * Login