Skip to main content

Erica Weitzman

Associate Professor

Ph.D., New York University, 2012

Professor Weitzman’s research focuses on questions of ethics and aesthetics in the long nineteenth century. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University in 2012. Prior to joining the Department of German at Northwestern in 2014, she was a Volkswagen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Universität Konstanz in the German Research Foundation (DFG) Graduiertenkolleg “Das Reale in der Kultur der Moderne” from 2012–13, and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Departments of German and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2013–14. She was also a doctoral fellow in the DFG-Graduiertenkolleg “Lebensformen und Lebenswissen” from 2008–11, a Faculty Fellow at the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern in 2016–17, and a visiting scholar at the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung in Berlin with a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2017–18. In 2020 she was selected as an AT&T Research Fellow at Northwestern for the years 2020–22.

Professor Weitzman is the author of two monographs. Her most recent book, At the Limit of the Obscene: German Realism and the Disgrace of Matter (Northwestern University Press, 2021), examines the fear of “mere matter” in German thought and its consequences for German realist literature from Stifter to Kafka. Her first bookIrony’s Antics: Walser, Kafka, Roth, and the German Comic Tradition (Northwestern University Press, 2015), explores the role of “comic irony” in early twentieth-century German literature and its roots in romantic irony’s challenge to idealist thinking. She also co-edited the collected volume Suspensionen. Über das Untote (Fink, 2015), which considers aspects of “the undead” as a figure that destabilizes both the life/death binary and the epistemological regimes that correspond to it. Currently, she is developing a project that examines “bluster” as rhetorical mode in late nineteenth-century Germany.

Teaching and research interests include: nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German-language literature, philosophy, and culture; realism and naturalism; aesthetics; poetics and rhetoric; modernism and the avantgarde; new materialisms; critical theory; psychoanalysis; phenomenology; theories of irony, comedy, and humor; history of the bourgeoisie; fin de siècle and World War I; and literatures of Mitteleuropa and Southeastern Europe.

Other recent publications include:

  • “Realismus und Materie (Schelling, Ludwig und die Folgen),” in: Umstülpen. Zur Praxis materialistischer Literaturinterpretation. E Florian Kappeler und Roman Widder. Paderborn: Fink, 2023, 27-44:







  • “Ismail Kadares Dosja H. und die Komödie des Epos,” in Die Komik der Integration. Grenzpraktiken und Identifikationen des Sozialen. Eds. Özkan Ezli, Deniz Göktürk, and Uwe Wirth (Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2019), 229-252:


  • “Scham, oder die Metaphysik,” in: Rücksendungen zu Jacques Derridas Die Postkarte. Ein essayistisches Glossar. Ed. Matthias Schmidt. Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2015, 329-340: