Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Language & … Fellows Prof. Dr. Claudia Brodsky

Prof. Dr. Claudia Brodsky

Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
Princeton University
Mai - Aug. 09

Vergangene Frias-Aufenthalte

  • Mai - Aug. 09




B.A., Harvard University (1976); M.Phil. (1981) and Ph.D, (1984) Yale University; Asst. Prof. German Dept., Yale University (1984-85), Asst. Prof. Dept. of Comp. Lit., Princeton University (1985-90); Assoc. Prof. Dept. of Comp. Lit., Princeton University (1990-95), Full Professor Dept. of Comp. Lit., Princeton University (1995-present), Visiting Professor, German Dept., Stanford University (2005). Fields of Research: Literature and Philosophy, 17th cent. to present, German, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese; Enlightenment and Romanticism; Literary Theory and Criticism, continental and American; Epistemology and Theory of Representation; Aesthetic and Architectural Theory, ancient through modern; Social and Political Theory, 17th cent. to present; Linguistics and Language Theory. Author of The Imposition of Form. Studies in Narrative Representation and Knowledge (1987), Lines of Thought, Discourse, Architectonics, and the Origin of Modern Philosophy (1996), In the Place of
Language. Literature and the Architecture of the Referent (2009), approx. 50 articles in English, German, and French language journals and edited volumes on literature, philosophy, and theory, 17th cent. to present; Co-Editor with Toni Morrison and Contributor, Birth of a Nation’hood (1997)


Selected Publications


  • The Imposition of Form. Studies in Narrative Representation and Knowledge. Princeton, 1987 (Kant’s Logik in relation to the Third Critique and Second Critique; Kant’s critical epistemology in relation to narrative works by Goethe, Austen, Balzac, Stendhal, Melville, Proust).
  • Lines of Thought. Discourse, Architectonics, and the Origin of Modern Philosophy
  • Duke, 1996 (the cogito of Descartes’ Discours de la méthode in relation to his Géometrie; la querelle des anciens et modernes and the aesthetics of theCartesian architectural theorist, Claude Perrault).
  • Birth of a Nation’hood, Co-edited with Toni Morrison, Pantheon, 1997.
  • In the Place of Language. Literature and the Architecture of the Referent. Fordham, 2009 (on the marking of place and making of referential historical knowledge in works by Goethe, Rousseau, and Kant, with discussions of Heidegger, Benjamin, Lanzmann and Schmitt; part of 3 vol. work, Writing and Building, on the role of architectural form in the discourses of philosophy and literature).


  • “Lessing and the Drama of the Theory of Tragedy,” MLN 98 (1983): 426-53.
  • “Writing and Building: Ornament in Die Schlafwandler,” in Hermann Broch: Literature Philosophy, Politics, ed. Steve Dowden, John Hopkins, 1988.
  • ”’The Impression of Movement’: Jean Racine, Architecte, in Autour de Racine. Special Issue of Yale French Studies, ed. Richard Goodkin, 74 (1989): 162-181.
  • “Whatever Moves You: ‘Experimental Philosophy’ and the Literature of Experience in Diderot and Kleist,” in The Tradition of Experiment from the Enlightenment to the Present, eds. N. Kaiser and D. Wellbery, Ann Arbor, 1992, pp. 17-43. 
  • “Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Hegel’s ‘Truth in Art’: Concept, Reference, History, English Literary History, 59 (1992): 592-23.
  • “’Is that Helen?’: Contemporary Pictorialism and Aesthetics and Epistemology from Lessing to Kant,” Comparative Literature 45 (1993): 230-57.
  • “Zum Widerspruch der Konvention: Sprache und Gesellschaftsvertrag,” in Perspektiven der Dialogik , ed. W. Goetschel, Vien, 1994.
  • “Housing the Spirit in Hegel: From the Pyramids to Romantic Poetry,” in Rereading Romanticism, ed. M. Helfer, Amsterdam, 2000, 327-66.
  • “The Poetic Structure of Complexity: Wordsworth’s Sublime and ‘Something Regular’,” in Wordsworth’s Poetic Theory, ed. S. Hoesel-Uhlig and A. Regier, London, 2009.


FRIAS Research Project


“Positively Uncertain: Knowledge in Representation”

This project argues that uncertainty is not a failing but a force for change, and that such change takes place in literature and philosophy in specifically discursive representational forms.  Taking a step back from Kant, whose critical philosophy equated all possible knowledge with the mental representation of objective sense perceptions, “Positively Uncertain” does not equate knowledge with intellectually necessary acts of representation but rather describes the ways in which the turn to representation constitutes a fruitful detour out of cognitive impasses for the mind  In Kant no less than in Descartes, Rousseau, and Hegel, in Plato no less than Heidegger and Benjamin, just as in the texts of every exclusively literary author who has advanced thought through fiction, innovative understandings and practices of representation are the key to conceiving empirical reality and subjective experience alike.  Combining epistemology with aesthetics, and logical processes with conceptual and notational language, the discursive knowledge provided by recourse to representation is thus never “pure.” Rather, It recognizes error in the purported purity of nonrepresentational certainty, linking the pursuit of knowledge to the encounter with real uncertainty – uncertainty that is perceptual and empirical, no less than scientific and intellectual or conceptual -- of which distinctly human history is made.