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.
State University of New York at Buffalo,
University of California at Irvine,
Double Major in English and History,
University of Constance, Germany,
"Rational Theology and the Catholic Critique of Modernity, 1780-1830."
The Oxford Handbook on European Romanticism.
Ed. Paul Hamilton (Kings C, London).
"Wagner hören im Zeitalter kultureller Überdetermination: Adorno’s Versuch über Wagner."
Jenseits von Bayreuth: Richard Wagner Heute.
Ed. Stefan Boernchen, Georg Mein, eds..
"Review of Tobias Boes, Formative Fictions: Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Bildungsroman."
Novel: a Forum on Fiction
"'A certain mediocrity"' Moral Sentiments and Early Behaviorism in A. Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments."
Romanticism and the Emotions.
Ed. Joel Faflak and Richard Sha, eds..
"History without Hermeneutics: Brad Gregory's Unintended Modernity."
Readers may be divided into four classes: 1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied. 2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time. 3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read. 4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also. -Samuel Taylor Coleridge