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From the President

March 16, 2014


Das Römische Karneval ist ein Fest, das dem Volke eigentlich nicht gegeben wird, sondern das sich das Volk selbst gibt.

Mark this date on your calendar!

OCTOBER 23-26, 2014:

Not quite three years ago we gathered in Chicago for our second international conference, which Mr. Stuart Atkins generously endowed in honor of his parents, Lillian and Stuart P. Atkins. With Mr. Atkins’s continuing generosity, as well as additional support from the University of Pittsburgh, we will gather for the second time in six years in Pittsburgh to convene the Goethe Atkins Conference again—in the spirit of Goethe’s characterization of the Roman Carneval—as a festive event of intellectual exchange that our community of North American Goethe scholars organizes for itself.

At the end of this note you can find links that will take you, virtually for now, to the conference site. So if you have not already, please go there to (1) submit a proposal for a paper and/or a panel by APRIL 1; (2) submit a proposal for the dissertation workshop, also by APRIL 1; (3) register for the conference AS SOON AS POSSIBLE; and (4) register at the conference hotel by AUGUST 1. (NB: There are other university events that weekend that would gladly use the rooms we’ve reserved, so I strongly recommend that you make your hotel reservations as soon as you are sure that you plan attending!)

We are looking forward to organizing as many as twenty sessions for Friday and Saturday. And while the flow of electronic submissions of proposals has begun, there is still time to prepare and submit one by the April 1 deadline. I urge our graduate student members who are dissertating to submit their proposals as well. With this work then complete, Heather Sullivan, Horst Lange, and I will move quickly ahead with the task of choreographing the contributions into an exciting program.

Beyond the usual array of sessions, we will feature two eminent keynote speakers, Jane Brown of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken of the Freies Deutsches Hochstift in Frankfurt. And we will continue for the third time, with the help of Daniel Purdy, to organize the highly successful Dissertation Workshop, as well as the Presidential Forum, where Astrida Tantillo, Ellis Dye, and Simon Richter will exchange views on the current (or perpetual) crisis in the humanities from a Goethean perspective. Finally, I am still working to convene a roundtable discussion or workshop with representatives of international Goethe Societies and other cultural institutions in order to discuss projects of cooperation, as well as exchange views on how best to foster our shared mission as mediators of Goethe and his Age across national borders.

In addition to all the “serious” events, there will also be ample opportunity in Pittsburgh to gather as friends and celebrate our shared scholarly passions. We will be providing useful information about the city’s cultural resources and restaurants on the conference website, but I can already mention three events on the program that I think you’ll want to attend. The opening reception will be held early Thursday evening on the University campus near the conference hotel. So please plan your flights accordingly. There will be plenty to eat and to drink there, but for those who are still hungry, you will be close to an array of restaurants that serve the university communities in this part of the city. I also hope that you will have time during your stay to visit an exhibition of rare books and other Goetheana in the Special Collections Room of the Hillman Library that I am putting together. Its provisional title is “Reading Goethe and Goethe as Reader.”

On a final, celebratory note, I’m excited to report success in locating our conference banquet on Saturday evening in the Andy Warhol Museum. So please be sure to book your return flights on Sunday and not before! I’ve already acquired funds to help underwrite this event, which will include an exhibition of all the Goethe serigraphs by Warhol, as well as some comments on this familiar image by the Museum Director, Eric Shiner. We will have the entire museum to ourselves for a few hours, and plans for a small Goethe installation at the museum are currently under discussion with a younger artist who has Pittsburgh roots.

I hope to see many of you this fall, which is a lovely season in this region west of the Alleghenies. You will, I am sure, find our city and campus welcoming. If you attended one of our events in Pittsburgh or Chicago, you know how lively and enjoyable they can be. If you did not, please think about beginning your triennial trek to the Atkins Goethe Conference this October.

Auch schmeicheln wir uns, solchen Personen zu dienen, welche dem Römischen Karneval selbst einmal beigewohnt und sich nun mit einer lebhaften Erinnerung jener Zeiten vergnügen mögen; nicht weniger solchen, welchen jene Reise noch bevorsteht und denen diese wenigen Blätter Übersicht und Genuß einer überdrängten und vorbeirauschenden Freude verschaffen können.


Visit the 2014 Atkins Conference web site!

See especially the tabs on

Registration will open soon

Clark Muenzer
University of Pittsbrgh

From the Newsletter Editor

March 16, 2014


It’s official. After the first newsletter was mailed in 1980, Goethe News and Notes 33.1 (Spring 2013) is the last number you will receive in hard copy. We hate to add to the woes of the U.S. Postal Service, we hate even more to alienate those among you who prefer the yellow missive, but the decision to end paper distribution was really long overdue. Switching to electronic delivery is not only environmentally friendly but it also makes economic sense. It allows us to keep our membership dues low (here, our Secretary-Treasurer would like me to remind you to pay your 2013 dues, if you haven’t already done so) while continuing to provide the kinds of services you have come to expect from the Goethe Society – from our publications, conferences, panels, and prizes to the support of young scholars, like-minded organizations, and the occasional worthwhile endeavor.

If you know you are on our listserv (you are if you have received your fair share of quotation queries over the past few years), you need do nothing. If you are not on the listserv, or if you are unsure, or if you would like to receive the newsletter on a different email account, just send your name and email address to webmaster@goethesociety.org.

We appreciate your understanding and hope you agree that the move to electronic dissemination is in the best interest of our Society.

Burkhard Henke
Davidson College

2012 Business Meeting

March 16, 2014


Minutes of the GSNA Business Meeting
October 6, 2012, at the GSA Conference in Milwaukee

President’s Report: Astrida Tantillo

Astrida Tantillo, in her last business meeting as President, thanked the Society members for all their contributions to the GSNA activities and expressed her wish that such involvement and dedication continue. She reiterated the Society’s commitment to supporting young scholars; encouraged people to participate in the GSNA conference; asked them to contribute to the Yearbook and the book series and to stay involved through the GSNA panels and the community at conferences. 

She then announced the election results and the new officers of the Society: Clark Muenzer, current Vice President, will take over as President; Daniel Purdy, outgoing Yearbook Editor, has been elected Vice President; Claire Baldwin is continuing as Secretary-Treasurer; Heather Sullivan and Horst Lange were elected new Directors at Large; the new Yearbook Editors are Elisabeth Krimmer and Adrian Daub; the new Book Review Editor is Birgit Tautz.

On behalf of the continuing board members Clark Muenzer, Claire Baldwin, Jane Brown, and Karin Schutjer, Karin Schutjer thanked the outgoing board members: Andrew Piper and Elisabeth Krimmer, Directors at Large, in absentia; Catriona MacLeod, Book Review Editor; Daniel Purdy, Yearbook Editor; Astrida Tantillo, President.

Vice President’s Report: Clark Muenzer

Clark Muenzer began his remarks with a reminder that the next GSNA conference will take place approximately two years and two weeks from now in Pittsburgh. The work to set an inclusive topic with a snappy title, following precedent for the GSNA conferences, has begun and he will keep the membership informed. He anticipates asking for abstract submissions for conference papers in the spring of 2014.

Clark Muenzer also announced plans for the third GSNA Dissertation Workshop, to be held at the 2014 conference in Pittsburgh. He asked members to keep this opportunity in mind and to bring it to the attention of graduate students: students just beginning a dissertation now will be in a good position to participate in the workshop in two years.

As Vice President, Clark Muenzer chaired this year’s Essay Prize Committee, and was joined in by three colleagues who did yeoman’s work in making the prize selection: Martha Helfer,  Andrew Piper and Fritz Breithaupt all received praise and thanks!

The winner of the Essay Prize for the best article on the Age of Goethe published in 2011 is John H. Smith, for his article in The German Quarterly 84.2 (2011):137-158, entitled “Living Religion as Vanishing Mediator: Schleiermacher, Early Romanticism and Idealism” 

Clark Muenzer presented the Essay Prize to John H. Smith on behalf of the Society with the following words:

With this cogent analysis of the centrality of religion to Idealism and early Romanticism, John Smith makes an important and much-needed contribution to the intellectual history of the Goethezeit. Arguing that Schleiermacher functions as a productive “vanishing mediator” for Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis, Schelling and Hegel, John Smith traces the genealogy of the Romantic conception of a “living God” and an organic universe. These thinkers all aimed to “vitalize” the Spinozan identity of deus and natura, and thereby made a crucial turn from the philosophies of Kant and Fichte. John Smith’s elegant and lucid reconstruction of this genealogy underscores the fundamental importance of “living religions” to Romantic and Idealist thought, and lays the foundation for future research.

Executive Secretary’s Report: Karin Schutjer

Karin Schutjer drew attention to the GSNA panel to take place October 7 at 8:30 am: “New Directions in Goethe Illustration Studies” and encouraged members to attend.

She then announced that the GSNA is sponsoring three panels at the 2013 MLA in Boston: two organized by Claudia Brodsky on “Goethe als Vermittler” and one organized by John Smith on “Mathematics in the Goethezeit.”  The GSNA panel at the 2013 ASECS conference in Cleveland  is being organized by Birgit Tautz under the title “Marginalia.”

Karin Schutjer then put out a call for GSNA panel proposals for upcoming conferences and shared the following deadlines for such proposals to come to her. The Board will review the proposals and respond quickly:

November 15, 2012 for the GSA conference, October 3-6, 2013 in Denver, Colorado
December 1, 2012 for the MLA conference, January 6- 9,  2014 in Chicago
March 15, 2013 for the ASECS conference, March 18-23, 2014  in Williamsburg VA

Yearbook Editor’s Report: Daniel Purdy

Daniel Purdy reported that he has just received the last article for Goethe Yearbook volume 20, the last volume he will edit, which will appear in the late spring. The transition to the new Yearbook editors is going smoothly: Daniel Purdy is passing things along to Adrian Daub and Elisabeth Krimmer and some essays of the many currently on hand will be rolled over to them for a future volume. The peer review process for the Yearbook runs independently and will be passed on to the new editors. We have had great success with online publications of the Yearbook through Project MUSE, and we will be on JSTOR in the future, as we have been assured in our friendly negotiations with Camden House.  We continue to be committed to supporting young scholars. Daniel Purdy reminded people that the Yearbook would like to build on the connections between the Dissertation Workshops and the Yearbook, and urged participants to consider submitting revised chapters of their work on Goethe to the Yearbook down the line.

Catriona MacLeod: Book Review Editor’s Report

Catriona MacLeod began by thanking the GSNA membership for their devotion to writing book reviews, both for agreeing to take the reviews on and for actually sending them in as well. She expressed her appreciation for the wonderful network of scholars that make up the GSNA.  As Catriona MacLeod steps down, Birgit Tautz will be taking over the Book Review Editorship, and future reviews should be sent to her.

Book Series Editor’s Report: Karin Schutjer for Jane Brown

Since Jane Brown could not be at the GSA conference, Karin Schutjer shared information about the Book Series at Bucknell. Benjamin Bennett’s book Secular Millennialism: The Trail of Aesthetics from Baumgarten and Kant to Walt Disney and Hitler is currently in production with an expected publication date of January 1. The Series Editor is eager for more submissions and asks the GSNA membership for these and for help in spreading the word about our excellent series and this publication opportunity. 

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report: Claire Baldwin

Claire Baldwin reported that the GSNA is in good financial shape, especially due to the increased revenues from the Yearbook royalties through Project MUSE and due to the gifts of generous donors, especially Mr. Stuart Atkins whose sponsorship of our triennial conference is enormously valuable. Membership dues also continue to be important, and she thanked the membership for consistently supporting the GSNA through their dues as well as through their work. She is still happy to accept 2012 dues and is also more than willing to credit dues in advance, as some members prefer. The year-to-date financial report and membership numbers of the Society were made available to interested members.

There is a new GSNA email for membership queries and issues: gsna.membership@gmail.com

Other Items:

Bill Carter encouraged members to attend the GSA session on Goethes Amtlicher Schriftverkehr on Sunday, October 7.

The cash bar preceding and following the GSNA business meeting proved a successful and enjoyable event, and may set precedent for future years.

Respectfully submitted,

Claire Baldwin

From the Secretary-Treasurer

March 16, 2014


In an ongoing effort to increase the strength of the society, the GSNA is always looking for new members. We ask for your assistance in this endeavor. If you know of any scholars or other interested parties who are interested in the Age of Goethe, but are not yet members, would you please encourage them to join the society? We are particularly interested in recruiting younger scholars—current and recent graduate students—to ensure the society's future for decades to come. Joining is simple. Thanks for your support in this endeavor.

Claire Baldwin
Colgate University

From the Webmaster

March 16, 2014


The GSNA maintains a listserv, goethe-l@davidson.edu, to help facilitate the exchange of ideas among its members. To subscribe, or unsubscribe, members should send an email message to webmaster@goethesociety.org.