Dr. Simon Richter

Goethe’s Wetlands: Soggy Texts and Permeable Selves

November 5, 2015

Dr. Simon Richter is Professor of German in the Germanic Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Richter has authored 3 books and (co-)edited three more on Goethe and German Classicism; he has also pusblished more than forty scholarly articles on a broad variety of topics. Among his many fellowships and awards, two in particular stand out: the prestigious Humboldt fellowship (the most renowned/competitive scholarly organization in Germany) in 1995/96 and renewed in 2010, and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLA) fellowship in 2009. More information can be found on-line:

The MU Department of German and Russian Studies, co-Sponsored by the Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program, the College of Arts and Science, and MU’s Life Sciences and Society Program; presents a public lecture by Professor Simon Richter entitled “Goethe’s Wetlands: Soggy Texts and Permeable Selves.” The premise of this paper is that the kinds of radical adaptation that will be required to respond to drastic sea level rise (underscored by the recent study by Hansen, et al, 2015) can be coordinated with modifications in our understanding of the self. If Freud compared the work of psychoanalysis to the damming up and poldering of the Zuiderzee, in the soggy terrain of many of Goethe’s major literary works (e.g., Werther, Iphigenie, Elective Affinities, and Faust) we encounter the model of a permeable ego. Permeability—a notion we are more likely to associate with C. G. Jung than with Freud—will be key to adapting to our new terrain.

The event is free to the public and will be held at N206 Memorial Union, Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 3:00pm. richter flyer