Thomas Pfau

Office Hours: 

Mondays 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. & by appointment.

Thomas Pfau

Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English

External Address: 
312 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Duke Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708-0015
(919) 681-3098

"THOMAS PFAU (PhD 1989, SUNY Buffalo) is the Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English, with secondary appointments in Germanic Language & Literatures and the Divinity School at Duke University. He has published some forty-five essays on literary and philosophical subjects ranging from the 18ththrough the early 20th century. In addition to two translations, of Hölderlin and Schelling (SUNY Press, 1987 and 1994), he has also edited seven essay collections and special journal issues and is the author of three monographs: Wordsworth’s Profession (Stanford UP 1997), Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, Melancholy, 1790-1840 (Johns Hopkins UP 2005)and Minding the Modern: Intellectual Traditions, Human Agency, and Responsible Knowledge (Notre Dame UP, 2013). His current book project focuses on phenomenology of image-consciousness in literature, theology, and philosophy.


  • Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo 1989
  • M.A., University of California at Irvine 1985

Judgment and Action Fragments toward a History. Ed. T Pfau and V Soni. Northwestern University Press, December 15, 2017. (Collection)

Pfau, T, and Mitchell, R. Romanticism and Modernity. Routledge, November 2011.

Romanticism and Modernity. Ed. Pfau, T and Mitchell, R.: Routledge, 2011. (Collection)

Pfau, T. Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, and Melancholy, 1790-1840. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. (Monograph)

Pfau, T. Lessons of Romanticism: A Critical Companion. an anthology of twenty-one essays, Durham: Duke UP, 1998.

Pfau, T. Idealism and the Endgames of Theory: Three Essays by F. W. J. Schelling. State U of New York P, 1994. (Monograph)

Pfau, T, and translator, . Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters on Theory. State U of New York P, 1987.


Pfau, T. "Rational Theology and the Catholic Critique of Modernity, 1780-1830." The Oxford Handbook on European Romanticism. Ed. HKC Paul and London. October 2014.

Pfau, T. "Wagner hören im Zeitalter kultureller Überdetermination: Adorno’s Versuch über Wagner." Jenseits von Bayreuth: Richard Wagner Heute. Ed. S Boernchen and G Mein. Fink Verlag, March 2014.

Pfau, T. "’A certain mediocrity' Moral Sentiments and Early Behaviorism in A. Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments." Romanticism and the Emotions. Ed. J Faflak and R Sha. Cambridge UP, February 2014.

Pfau, T. "A certain mediocrity: Adam Smith’s moral behaviorism." Romanticism and the Emotions. January 1, 2012. 48-75. Full Text

Pfau, T. "The Appearance of Stimmung: Play as Virtual Rationality." Stimmung: zur Wiederkehr einer ästhetischen Kategorie?. Ed. A Gisbertz. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, March 2011. (Essay)

Pfau, T. "William Paley." Blackwell Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature, 4 vols. Ed. F Burwick and N Goslee. Blackwell, 2011. (Essay)

Pfau, T. "The Bildungsroman." The Blackwell Encylopedia of Romantic Literature. Ed. F Burwick, N Goslee, and D Hoeveler. London: Blackwell, 2011. 124-132. (Essay)

Pfau, T. "Between sentimentality and phantasmagoria: German lyric poetry, 1830–1890." German Literature of the Nineteenth Century, 1832-1899. January 1, 2010. 207-250.

Pfau, T. "Bildung: Etiology, Function, Structure (with some reflections on Beethoven)." Die Romantik: ein Gründungsmythos der EuropEuropäischen Moderne. Ed. U Gaier. Bonner Universitätsverlag, 2010. 123-41. (Essay)


Pfau, T. "“Superabundant being”: Disambiguating Rilke and Heidegger." Modern Theology 35.1 (January 1, 2019): 23-42. Full Text

Wolfe, J, and Pfau, T. "Philosophy and theology in Germany, 1918 to 1933: Editorial introduction." Modern Theology 35.1 (January 1, 2019): 3-4. Full Text


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. Full Text

Pfau, T. "A Modern Coleridge: Cultivation, Addiction, Habits." STUDIES IN ROMANTICISM 55.1 (2016): 134-138.

Pfau, T. "Formative Fictions: Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Bildungsroman." NOVEL-A FORUM ON FICTION 48.1 (May 2015): 136-139. Full Text

Pfau, T. "Shadowing the lyric: Tilottama rajan reads romantic narrative." Eighteenth Century 54.4 (December 1, 2013): 565-569. (Review) Full Text

Pfau, T. "History without Hermeneutics: Brad Gregory’s Unintended Modernity." The Immanent Frame (November 2013).

Pfau, T. "Metasprache und Bilderfahrung inDer Stechlin." The German Quarterly 86.4 (October 2013): 421-443. Full Text


Selected Grants

Romancticism & Modernity (North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, 2009 Conference) awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2008 to 2009