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Modern Languages and Literatures

Richard Fisher

Associate Professor of German, Emeritus

Modern Languages and Literatures


German Literature: Goethezeit
Comparative Literature, 18th - 20th Centuries
Classical Studies


Comparative Literature
Prehistory and Early Civilizations
Ancient Greek Literature & Culture
Archaeology and History


PhD University of Chicago
MA University of Chicago
BA University of Chicago

Courses Taught

Senior Comparative Literature Symposium (“Senior Symposium”)
Heroism: Tragedy and Transgression (Sophomore Honors Seminar)
European Drama (First-Year Studies)
The World of Ancient Greece (First-Year Studies)
Cultivating Ancient Worlds  (First-Year Studies)
“Ways of Knowing” (Richter Scholar Honors seminar)
Introduction to Communications
English Literature: Ancient & Medieval

German 210-12: Advanced Intermediate German
German Conversation & Composition
Advanced German Grammar
Advanced German Culture, Conversation, Composition
Reading German for Research
Goethe Before Weimar
Goethe’s Faust, Parts I and II
Goethe’s Concept of “Bildung”
Goethe’s Novels
The 18th century German Novel
Winckelmann: Germans and Greeks
Künstlernovellen des 19. Jahrhunderts
Interpretationsbungen lyrischer Texte
Lessing, Goethe, Schiller
Introduction to German Literature
Ideas of Nature in German Thought and Literature
“Naturphilosophie” und Prosa der Naturwissenschaften
Modern German Theater
Modern German Film
German: Special Studies
German for Reading Comprehension (graduate research proficiency)

Classical Studies: Greek Civilization 201 
Greek Greats: Epic, History, Drama
Cultivating Ancient Worlds: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece


Ethik und Aesthetik. Werke und Werte in der Literatur des 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhunderts. Festschrift für Wolfgang Wittkowski (Modern German Literature, 18-20C.)


“Gleanings from the Glass” (“Focal Point” essay), Sky & Telescope, November 2003.


“Credo in Context: Justice, Order and Goethe’s Table of Values in Belagerung von Mainz,” Seminar (1995), pp. 129-144.
“Goethe’s Winckelmannbild and the Idea of Classicism,” in Ethik und Aesthetik. Werke und Werte in der Literatur des 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhunderts. Festschrift für Wolfgang Wittkowski  zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. R. Fisher (Peter Lang: Bern, Frankfurt am Main, 1995), pp. 296-321.
“The Function of Concept Formation in the German Review Journal,” in The Eighteenth-Century German Book Review, ed. H. Rowland, K. Fink (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1993), pp. 96-113.

Ein Repräsentant seines Jahrhunderts: A Portrait of the Artist in Goethe’s Anhang to the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini,” Michigan Germanic Studies (Fall 1988), pp. 85-106.

Dichter and Geschichte: Goethe’s Campagne in Frankreich,” Goethe Society of North America Yearbook  4 (1987), pp. 235-274.


Goethe im Urteil seiner Kritiker, Karl Mandelkow. German Quarterly (in German, 1994).

Goethe on War: Representation and Assessment, Edward Larkin. Scholarly Journal and Review (Edwin Mellon, 1992).
Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre und der Roman des Nebeneinander, Waltraud Maierhofer. German Quarterly (in German, 1993).
Zu Goethes Erzählweise versteckter Bezüge in Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre oder die Entsagenden, Markus Zenker. German Quarterly (in German, 1993).

August von Kotzebue: The Drama, the Man, Oscar Mandel. Eighteenth-Century Studies (Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 1992).

Zwischen Aufklärung und Restoration: Festschrift für Wolfgang Martens, Wolfgang Frühwald und Alberto Martino, eds. German Studies Review (Vol. XIII/3, Oct. 1990).

Aus meinem Leben, Alexander von Humboldt. German Quarterly (Vol. 63, 3/4, 1990).

Goethe und die Französische Revolution. Insel-Almanach auf das Jahr 1989, ed. Karl Otto Conrady. German Quarterly (Vol. 63, 3/4, 1990).

Autoren und Wissenschaftler im 18. Jahrhundert, Wolf Lepenies. Lessing Yearbook (in German, Vol. XXII, 1990).

Goethe’s Theory of Poetry: Faust and the Regeneration of Language, Benjamin Bennett. Review essay, Modern Philology (Vol. 86, No. 4, May 1989).

Invited Talks and Professional Activities

National Endowment for the Humanities: evaluator and panelist, national stipends 2005-06 (scholarly research proposals for federal funding in the field of Comparative Literature) Washington, D.C., 2004.

Northwestern University, Training Future Faculty program, 1999-2000.

Guest Senior Thesis examiner, Honors German Program, Knox College, 2000.

“Goethe’s Faust: Striving and Redemption,” Lake Forest College, 1998.

Richter Scholar, collaborative student-faculty research (Holocaust theory), 1997.

“Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird,” Berufshochschule Nürnberg, 1995.

“Dialogism Prëempted in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” (NEH Wagner Seminar), Bayreuth, Germany, 1994.

“Nutshells and Infinite Space,” Great Teacher Address at Senior Awards Ceremony, Lake  Forest College, 1993.

“Odysseus as a Storyteller: Chronotope, Structure and Reflexivity in the Odyssey” (NEH seminar, Bakhtin’s literary theory), Northwestern University, 1991.

Faust und der Sturm und Drang” (University of Chicago Women’s Association), 1991.

Moderator, panel on “Revising Existing Courses,” ACM Conference “Transforming the Curriculum,” 1991.

“Goethe: Lyrik und Klassik” (University of Chicago Women’s Association), 1991.

“Goethe’s Winckelmannbild and the Idea of Classicism” (American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and Goethe Society of North America, Minneapolis), 1990.

“War and Peace: Goethe’s Reluctant Dialectic” (Western Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of Colorado), 1990.

Discussant, “Concept Formation in the German Review” (Midwest Modern Language Association, Minneapolis), 1989.

Panelist, Chicago Teaching Program Workshop, “Stalking the Academic Job: Strategies for the Ongoing Process” (University of Chicago), 1989.

“Revolution, Justice and Order in Goethe’s War Memoire Belagerung von Mainz” (American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies-Goethe Society of North America, New Orleans), 1989.

Moderator, International Symposium “Autonoumous Literature in Germany During the Age of the French Revolution,” State University of New York (Albany), 1988.

“Goethe, Cellini and Winckelmann” (University of Colorado, Boulder), 1986.

“Goethe’s Biographical and Autobiographical Tasks” (University of Chicago Seminar and  Lecture Series on Humanism and the Humanities), 1985.

“Wieland’s Musarion: Kalokagathie and Classicism” (German Department Colloquium, University of Chicago), 1981.

Awards and Honors

FIYS faculty course development grant (funded by Mellon Foundation), 2003.

NEH GRANT (New York University and Bayreuth, Germany), 1994.

GREAT TEACHER AWARD, Lake Forest College, 1993.

ASPEN INSTITUTE, Wye Fellow, 1992.

WILLIAM H. DUNN AWARD (teaching and research), Lake Forest College, 1991.

NEH GRANT (Northwestern University), 1991.

FULBRIGHT Seminar, Bonn and Berlin, 1989.

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Doctoral Dissertation, “Historiography and Autobiography: Self-Representation and Historical Narrative in Works of Goethe,” awarded Honors, 1985.

UNIVERSITY of MUNICH: Preliminary dissertation work magna cum laude, 1983.

DAAD-FULBRIGHT Doctoral Research Fellowship, 1981-83.