Erica Weitzman Assistant Professor

Erica Weitzman received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University in 2012. Prior to joining the Department of German at Northwestern University, she held positions as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Departments of German and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley from 2013–2014, and from 2012–2013 as Volkswagen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Universität Konstanz with the German Research Foundation (DFG) Graduiertenkolleg “Das Reale in der Kultur der Moderne.” She was also a doctoral fellow in the DFG-Graduiertenkolleg “Lebensformen und Lebenswissen” from 2008–2011.

Her book Irony’s Antics: Walser, Kafka, Roth and the German Comic Tradition (Northwestern University Press, 2015) explores the crucial but largely neglected role of the comic and its relation to irony in German-language literature from the Romantic era to the early twentieth century, through an examination of the works of Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, and Joseph Roth, and theories of comedy in Freud, Hegel, and others. She is also co-editor and contributing author of the volume Suspensionen. Über das Untote (Fink, forthcoming), which considers “the undead” as a figure that challenges not only the life/death binary but also the regimes of knowledge that this structures. Her current project, tentatively titled “At the Limit of the Obscene: Realism, Profanation, Aesthetics,” deals with how the concept of obscenity relates to questions of representation, perception, and knowledge in nineteenth-century German and European realism and beyond.

Other recent publications include the articles “‘Was bedeutet der Stein?’: Fetishism, Profanation, and Parody in Fontane’s Grete Minde,” in Konturen (forthcoming); “Human Fragments: Plastic Surgery and Bare Life in Joseph Roth’s Feuilletons,” in Journal of Austrian Studies (Winter 2013); “Odradek’s Laughter,” in Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory (Spring 2012); “Beyond the Legality Principle: Sacher-Masoch’s Economies of ‘Jewish Justice,’” in Law and Literature (Fall 2011); “Specters of Narrative: Ismail Kadare’s The General of the Dead Army,” in JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory (Summer 2011); and “Almost Necessary: Kafka’s Kantian Situation Comedy,” in MLN (April 2011).

Teaching and research interests include: German literature, philosophy, and culture of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; aesthetics and poetics; theories of the comic; realism and naturalism; critical theory, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis; law and literature; fin-de-siècle and World War I; and literatures of Mitteleuropa and Southeastern Europe.