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Prof. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
PRESENCE, CHARISMA AND PERFORMANCE. Spring Academy with Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
EVENTS Spring Academy // Performative Poetics

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht


Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard Professor in Literature in the Departments of Comparative Literature and of French & Italian (and by courtesy, he is affiliated with the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures/ILAC, the Department of German Studies, and the Program in Modern Thought & Literature). As a scholar, Gumbrecht focuses on the histories of the national literatures in Romance language (especially French, Spanish, and Brazilian), but also on German literature, while, at the same time, he teaches and writes about the western philosophical tradition (almost exclusively on non-analytic philosophy) with an emphasis on French and German nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts. In addition, Gumbrecht tries to analyze and to understand forms of aesthetic experience 21st-century everyday culture. Over the past forty years, he has published more than sixteen hundred texts, including books, translated into more than twenty languages. In Europe and in South America, Gumbrecht has a presence as a public intellectual; whereas, in the academic world, he has been acknowledged by nine honorary doctorates in six different countries: Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, and Russia . He has also held a number of visiting professorships, at the Collège de France, Zeppelin Universität (Friedrichshafen), University of Manchester, and the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, among others.


Since the beginning of the academic year 2011-2012, Gumbrecht laid the foundation for a new book that will try to make present for twenty-first century readers the life and works of the French Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot (1713-1784) in a new way. On one hand, this project takes on the challenge of how certain passions and the mood of certain environments in Diderot’s life can be made present in the most immediate way for contemporary readers -- referring, for example, to Diderot’s obsession with defining what a “perfectly happy day” would be, or to the physical and social challenge of his several-month stay at the Court of Catherine the Great at St. Petersburg, late in his life. On the other hand, and in contrast to Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Diderot’s life will be presented as part of a genealogy of the present-day intellectual, with the implication that, due to a specific “openness to the world,” the twenty-first century may become Diderot’s century as much as the twentieth century was Voltaire’s, and, probably, the nineteenth century, Rousseau’s


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