Eric Downing

Eric Downing

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

Eric Downing’s 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.


  • Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley
Office Location: 
Dey Hall 436

Home Institution: University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

  • Literary and Critical Theory, Philosophy and Literature
  • Aesthetics
  • Ancient-Modern Relations
  • Realism
  • Twentieth Century
  • Nineteenth Century
  • Modernism
  • Eighteenth Century
Curriculum Vitae: