David E. Wellbery

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David E. Wellbery (1947) is an American professor of German Studies at the University of Chicago. His current research project is a large-scale study of Goethe’s literary work and scientific and aesthetic writings that centers on the concept of endogenous form. He is also preparing a monograph entitled Self-Relation: A Neo-idealist Theory of Literature.


(in English unless noted otherwise)

  • Lessing’s Laocoön. Semiotics and Aesthetics in the Age of Reason, Cambridge University Press, 1984, ix+275 pp; 2009. [1] Reviews: Nisbet (1985), Morton (1986), Leventhal (1986).
  • with Klaus Weimar, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Harzreise im Winter: Eine Deutungskontroverse, 1984. (German)
  • editor, Positionen der Literaturwissenschaft: Acht Modellanalysen am Beispiel von Kleists “Erdbeben in Chile”, Beck, 1984; 2nd ed., 1987; 3rd ed., 1994; 4th ed., 2002. An introduction to literary theory for students of German literature. (German)
  • editor, with Thomas C. Heller, Morton Sosna, Arnold I. Davidson, Ann Swidler, and Ian Watt, Reconstructing Individualism: Autonomy, Individuality, and the Self in Western Thought, 1986.
  • editor, with Russell Berman, Stanford Literature Review: "Interpretation--Discourse--Society", 1986.
  • editor, Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Elective Affinities, Novella, Vol 11 of Goethe, The Collected Works, 1989.
  • editor, with John Bender, The Ends of Rhetoric: History, Theory, Practice, Stanford University Press, 1990, 252 pp. ARG. [2]
  • "Foreword", in Friedrich A. Kittler, Discourse Networks 1800/1900, Stanford University Press, 1990, pp vii-xxxiii, HTML. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht: "I consider Wellbery’s remarks to provide the best commentary on Kittler’s early writings and, what is more, the best account to date of the German intellectual landscape at the end of the twentieth century" (in his afterword to Kittler, The Truth of the Technological World, SUP, 2014:310).
  • editor, with John Bender, Chronotypes: The Construction of Time, 1991.
  • editor, with Nancy Kaiser, Traditions of Experiment from the Enlightenment to the Present: Essays in Honor of Peter Demetz, 1992.
  • The Specular Moment: Goethe’s Early Lyric and the Beginnings of Romanticism, Stanford University Press, 1996, PDF.
  • editor, MLN 111(3): "Observation/Form/Difference: Literary Studies and Second-Order Cybernetics", Apr 1996. [3] [4]
  • Neo-retórica e desconstrução, 1998. (Portuguese)
  • Schopenhauers Bedeutung für die moderne Literatur, Munich: Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung, 1998, 70 pp. (German) [5]
  • editor, with Christian Begemann, Kunst - Zeugung - Geburt, 2002. (German)
  • editor, A New History of German Literature, Harvard University Press, 2004.
    • Eine neue Geschichte der deutschen Literatur, Berlin: Berlin University Press, 2007, 1219 pp. (German) [6]
  • Seiltänzer des Paradoxalen. Aufsätze zur ästhetischen Wissenschaft, Hanser, 2006. (German) [7]
  • Bibliography