Clark S. Muenzer

  • Professor Emeritus (Retired Fall 2020)

Since coming to the University of Pittsburgh in 1979, Clark Muenzer has served the German Department in a variety of capacities, including Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Graduate Studies, and for many years, Department Chair. In addition to numerous articles on German literature and thought during the Age of Goethe. he has published a monograph on Goethe’s novels (1983) and edited three collections of essays on Goethe (2001; 2010; 2020), as well as one volume on literary modernism (1990). He is also the co-editor of the online Goethe-Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts.

Goethe, as well as German literature and culture of the long 18th century, has been the focus of Muenzer’s published work for many years. Most recently, his teaching and research have examined the complex relationship of literature and the arts to philosophy. In a number of recent articles, as well as in a book-length project entitled Goethe’s Metaphysics of Immanence: Topics in the Reconstruction of Knowledge, Muenzer looks at the writer’s heterodox encounters with such giants of western metaphysics as Aristotle, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schelling, Whitehead, and Deleuze in his literary, scientific, architectural, and aesthetic works. In addition to nature as process, the array of metaphysically informed issues under consideration include Goethe’s creation of philosophical concepts; the nature of the real and the ontological status of aesthetic objects of perception; subjectivity and the perceiving subject; and the role of aiesthesis and poeisis in constructing thought. In cooperation with the Goethe Society of North America and the English Goethe Society, he is the editor for the Goethe-Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts. This project (which engages a team of experts from both the US and Europe) recently won a Chancellor’s seed-funding grant from the University of Pittsburgh. The G-LPC will publish its first installment of entries at the end of the summer, 2020.

Muenzer served as the Executive Secretary of the Goethe Society of North America from 1999-2004 and was a member of the Advisory Board from 2007-2009. He was Vice-President of the organization from 2010-1212 and President from 2013-2015.  He organized the First International Conference of the Goethe Society of North America in Pittsburgh in 2008 and brought the Society’s Third International Conference back to the University in November, 2014. He also organized the first two International Workshops for the G-LPC in Pittsburgh (2019) and Cambridge, England (2020).

After 8 years as a student of German at Princeton, 5 years as an Assistant Professor at Harvard, and 41 years as a member of the University of Pittsburgh faculty, Clark Muenzer will retire from his teaching and service roles in the German Department to pursue full-time his research projects on Goethe & Company of more than a half-century

Education & Training

  • PhD, Princeton University, 1974
  • MA, Germanic Languages and Literature, Princeton University, 1972
  • BA, Germanic Languages and Literature, Princeton University, 1970

Representative Publications


Figures of Identity:  Goethe's Novels and the Enigmatic Self (University Park and London:  The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1984).  Reviewed in Goethe Yearbook, Germanistik, Studies in Romanticism, Eighteenth Century Studies, and Modern Language Notes.

Edited Volumes and Online-Projects

Goethe-Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts (2021-), eds. Clark S. Muenzer and John H. Smith,

Goethe Yearbook 27 (2020) [Special Section with “Sample Entries from the Goethe Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts, eds. Clark S. Muenzer, John H. Smith, and Bryan Klausmeyer].

Goethe Yearbook 17 (2010) [Special Section with Essays from the First International Conference of the Goethe Society of North America, eds. Clark S. Muenzer and Karin Schutjer].

Remembering Goethe: Essays for the 250th Anniversary, ed. Clark S. Muenzer (Modern Language Studies, 31, 2001).

Wegbereiter der Moderne: Festschrift  für  Klaus Jonas, eds. Helmut Koopmann and Clark Muenzer (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1990).

Selected Articles

“Introduction,” Goethe-Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts, Vol. 1, no. 1, Jan. 2021.

“Begriff (Concept),” Goethe-Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts, Vol. 1, no. 1, Jan. 2021.

“Begriff,” Goethe Yearbook, 27 (2020), 307-335.

“Goethe’s Haunted Architectural Idea,” in Goethe’s Ghosts: Reading and the Persistence of Literature, eds. Simon Richter and Richard Block (Columbia SC: Camden House, 2013), 37-55.

"Forms of Figuration in Goethe’s Faust,” Goethe Yearbook, 17 (2010), 133-52.

“Goethe’s Metaphysics of Immanence,” Colloquia Germanica, 39 (2007), 1-19.

“Fugitive Images and Visual Memory in Goethe’s Discourse on Color,” in The Enlightened Eye: Goethe And Visual Culture, eds. Evelyn K. Moore and Patricia Anne Simpson (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007), 220-237.

“At the Edge of Chaos: Goethe and the Question of the Global,” in Literatur im Spiel der Zeichen: Festschrift für Hans-Vilmar Geppert, eds. Werner Frick, Fabian Lampart, and Bernadette Malinowski (Tübingen: Francke, 2006), 125-140.

“Das Buch Hiob und Goethes Naturbegriff,” in Goethe und die Bibel, eds. Johannes Anderegg and Edith Anna Kunz (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2005), 161-171.

“Borders, Monuments and Goethe’s Reconstruction of Knowledge,” Arcadia, 38 (2003), 248-53.

“Wandering Among Obelisks: Goethe’s Idea of the Monument,” Modern Language Studies, 31 (2001), 5-34.

“Culture’s Uncanny House: Exile and the Genealogy of the Classical Stage in Goethe’s Die Natürliche Tochter,” in Exil: Transhistorische und Transnationale Perspektiven, eds., Helmut Koopmann and Klaus Dieter Post (Paderborn: Mentis, 2001), 101-133.

“Transplanting the Poem: Goethe, Ghosts and The Metamorphosis of an Elegy,” in Themes and Structures: Studies in German Literature from Goethe to the Present. Festschrift for Theodore Ziolkowski, ed. Alexander Stefan (Columbia S.C.: Camden House, 1997), 39-77.

“Ihr ältesten, würdigsten Denkmäler der Zeit: Goethe’s Über den Granit and his Aesthetics of Monuments,” in Festschrift für Wolfgang Wittkowski, ed. Richard Fisher (New York and Bern: Lang, 1995), 193-214.

“Herders Von deutscher Art und Kunst:  Der Sturm und Drang deutscher Selbst-Legitimierung.  Ostern 1773,” in Zwischen Traum und Trauma:  Die Nation, ed. Claudia Mayer-Iswandy (Tübingen:  Stauffenberg Colloquium, 1994), 39-57. 

“Goethe’s Gothic Classicism:  Antecedents to the Architecture of History in Faust II, Act III,” in Faust Today, eds. Jane K. Brown, Meredith Lee, and Thomas P. Saine (Columbia, S.C.:  Camden House, 1994), 187-206.