David E. Wellbery

LeRoy T. and Margaret Deffenbaugh Carlson University Professor in the Department of Germanic Studies, Comparative Literature, Committee on Social Thought, and the College; Chair of the Department of Germanic Studies

David E. Wellbery, Chair of the Department of Germanic Studies, joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 2001 as the LeRoy T. and Margaret Deffenbaugh Carlson University Professor and holds appointments in the Departments of Germanic Studies and Comparative Literature and in the Committee on Social Thought. He is the Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on German Literature and Culture. Professor Wellbery is the author of two studies that are considered classics in the field of German literary history: Lessing’s Laocoön. Semiotics and Aesthetics in the Age of Reason (Cambridge University Press, 1984) and The Specular Moment: Goethe’s Early Lyric and the Beginnings of Romanticism (Stanford University Press, 1996). His edited volume, Positionen der Literaturwissenschaft: Acht Modellanalysen am Beispiel von Kleists “Erdbeben in Chile” (Beck Verlag, 1984), which is now in its fourth printing, has for two decades served as the principle introduction to literary theory for students of German literature. Professor Wellbery is also the editor-in-chief of the monumental A New History of German Literature, published by Harvard University Press in 2004. Professor Wellbery has been granted fellowships from the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung. In 2005, he was awarded the Research Prize (Forschungspreis) of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in recognition of his scholarly achievement. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Professor Wellbery taught at Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University. He has held visiting professorships at the University of Bonn, Princeton University, the University of Copenhagen, and the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Since 1998, he has been co-editor of the Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, the most distinguished journal in the field of German literary studies. In 2006, a collection of Professor Wellbery’s essays entitled Seiltänzer des Paradoxalen: Aufsätze zur ästhetischen Wissenschaftappeared in the prestigious Edition Akzente (Carl Hanser Verlag). His current projects include a book on Nietzsche’s Geburt der Tragödie as well as a broad-based study of Goethe and philosophy. In 2006-7, Professor Wellbery co-directed, together with Professor James Conant (Philosophy), a Sawyer Seminar sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on the topic of “Non-Discursive Representation from Goethe to Wittgenstein.” In 2008, Professor Wellbery was elected a corresponding member of the Bayrische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

Office: 
Wieboldt 404
Phone Number: 
(773) 702-2372; (773) 702-8494
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