Published: Feb. 23, 2021
Helmut Muller-Sievers

Professor of German Studies Helmut Müller-Sievers is the recipient of the 115th Distinguished Research Lectureship. The Lectureship is among the most esteemed honors bestowed by the faculty upon a faculty member at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Professor Müller-Sievers will deliver a virtual lecture, “On Common Ground­—Goethe, the Modern Novel, and the Diversity of Experience,” at 4 p.m. on March 10, 2021.

This talk will take the case of Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749–1832) to argue that the modern novel is not primarily a vessel of knowledge but a vehicle of experience. Writing at the threshold of the industrial age, Goethe laid bare the technical implications of modern prose narratives and opened up the possibility of understanding reading novels as a paradigm for the diversity of experience. 

Drawing on William James' notion of "pure experience" in addition to Goethe, Professor Müller-Sievers will discuss how reading and attending to novels—but also to other long narrative forms, like graphic novels and TV series—gives us access to layers of experiencing that are common to all practices of knowledge, whether they happen in the classroom, in the field, or in the lab. The university—the campus university in particular—is where such experiencing can take place, for students and faculty alike. 

The lecture will be delivered over Zoom. Prior registration is required.

Register for event