Eric Downing

Eric Downing

Gerhard L. Weinberg Distinguished Professor of German, English and Comparative Literature; Adjunct Professor of Classics

Office location

Dey Hall 436

Eric Downing’s (Ph.D. 1987, University of California, Berkeley) research in German literature concentrates primarily on narrative fiction from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. As a comparatist, he also works on the afterlife of classical antiquity. His teaching in German Studies includes courses on the Bildungsroman, nineteenth-century realism, Nietzsche, Freud, and Walter Benjamin. He is the author of a number of monographs, including Double Exposures: Repetition and Realism (2000); After Images: Photography, Archaeology, and Photography (2006); and most recently, The Chain of Things: Divinatory Magic and the Practice of Reading (2018). He is the co-editor (with Clayton Koelb) of German Literature of the Nineteenth Century for the Camden House History of German Literature (2005) and (with Jonathan Hess and Richard Benson) of Literary Studies and the Pursuits of Reading (2012). He has also published numerous articles on subjects ranging from ancient literary theory, drama, and poetry to twentieth-century cultural theory and literature.

Select Recent Publications

Ecce Mann: Having Fun with Nietzsche.” Nietzsche between Philosophy and Literature. Ed. James I. Porter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming

"With Wandering Steps and Slow: Schwellenkunst in Adalbert Stifter’s Granit,” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 94.1 (2020): 69-86.

The Chain of Things: Divinatory Magic and the Practice of Reading in German Literature and Thought 1850-1940. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018.

Nexus: Essays in German Jewish Studies. Vol. 5: Moments of Enlightenment: In Memory of Jonathan M. Hess. Co-edited with Ruth von Bernuth. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2021.

  • Aesthetics
  • Ancient Modern Relations
  • Realism
  • Twentieth Century
  • Nineteenth Century
  • Modernism
  • Eighteenth Century
  • Literary Theory
  • Critical Theory
  • Philosophy and Literature
Curriculum Vitae
Download Downing CV 2021 (pdf - 194.68 KB)