paul [dot] peters [at] mcgill [dot] ca (e-mail)
I completed my BA (Hons.) in German at the University of Manitoba in 1976. I resumed my studies at the Freie Universitat (FU) Berlin in Germanistics and philosophy and was awarded the Dr Phil there in 1988. I taught as a Tutor (TA) in Germanistik at the FU from 1983-1985, and then as a Faculty Lecturer (1987), Assistant Professor (1989), Associate Professor(1996) and finally Professor at McGill since 2008. I was also Professeur Invité at the Université de Montréal in the years 1999 and 2000.
The main focus of my research has been on Heinrich Heine. My dissertation focussed on Anti-Semitism and German Heine reception and was published in book form as Dichterjude:Heinrich Heine. Die Geschichte einer Schmahung (Anton Hain Frankfurt a. M. 1990, reissued in a revised and expanded second edition as Die Wunde Heine in 1997. In 1997 I also edited a critical edition of Heine's writings on Judaism and Jewry, Prinzessin Sabbat: Heinrich Heine über Juden und Judentum, second edition 1999. I have also published several articles on Heine's poetry, most recently authoring a study of Heine's erotic poetry for the Camden House Companions to German literature series.
My other current research interests are Kafka, Brecht, and Paul Celan. I have recently embarked on a research project on Kafka and colonialism, for which I received the support of the German Academic Exchange Service and the Humanties Research Council. I hope to present the results of this research in book form soon. On Brecht and Celan my most recent forays were a look at the influence of radio on Brecht's poetic diction, and an exploration of some intertextual resonances in the poetry of Heine and Paul Celan.
Other areas of interest for me are the Weimar and Romantic periods in German cultural history, as well as the socialist and post-socialist authors Volker Braun and Heiner Mueller, and the two great metropolises of Berlin and Vienna. Classical, avant-garde and popular music in the German Kulturraum and its relationship to history and society is also a continuing interest, as is the abiding mystery of the German national identity. Finally, I should say that my general outlook on literature, politics, and culture was deeply influenced by the work of Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, and the Frankfurt School, to whom I feel a great spiritual indebtedness, without wishing to adhere slavishly to any given theoretical model.
Publications of the last five years
(ed.) Prinzessin Sabbat. Heinrich Heine über Juden und Judentum, Philo Verlag, Berlin 1999. (2nd edition). 698 pp.
Die Wunde Heine. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt/ Philo-Verlag Bodenheim 1997 (2nd , revised and expanded edition). 251 pp.
“Der Heine-Komplex: Anmerkungen zu einer Wirkungsgeschichte”, Weimarer Beitrage 4, 2010, 564-605. Refereed publication.
“Sieg uber die Sonne: Der Angriff der Dichtung auf die Zeit” in: Dietmar Goltschnigg et al. (ed.) Phanomen Zeit – Dimensionen und Strukturen in Kultur und Wissenschaft. Stauffenberg Verlag, Tubingen, 2010. 427-433. Conference proceedings.
"Brecht und die Stimme der Nachrichten", Weimarer Beitrage, 2001 (forthcoming)
"A Walk on the Wild Side: Heine's Eroticism", Camden House Companion to Heine (forthcoming)
"Die Moderne vor den letzten Dingen: Heines 'Bimini', Baudelaires 'Voyage'", Dolf Oehler/ Karin Hempel-Soos (ed.) "Dichter Unbekannt": Heine lesen heute. Bonn, Bouvier, 1998. 125-152.
"Heine als Plebejer", Joseph A. Kruse, Bernd Witte, Karin Fuellner (eds.), Aufklaerung und Skepsis", Stuttgart, JB Metzler, 1998. 811-818.
"Die Frau auf dem Felsen: Besuch bei Heines Loreley", Heine-Jahrbuch 36 (1997). 1-21.