Michael J McGillen


Michael McGillen joined the Dartmouth faculty in 2012 as a Lecturer in German Studies. His research on 20th-century German literature, culture, and intellectual history addresses problems at the boundaries of philosophy, religion, and aesthetics. He is currently completing a book entitled Eschatology and the Modernist Imagination, which explores the affinities between early 20th-century theological discourses on time and history (Karl Barth, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Heidegger) and the spatial aesthetics of modernist art and literature (Russian Constructivism, Franz Kafka, and Robert Musil). The book situates Christian and Jewish thought within modernist culture by showing how the temporal aporias of eschatological reflection are at work in the ruptures of narrative continuity in modernism. His research on religion and modernism also includes recent articles on “Lapsarian Repetitions: Iterations of the Fall in Kafka and Kierkegaard” (2014) and “Theology's Weimar Moment: History before the Eschatological Limit” (2012). His current research on the nexus of German literature and philosophy includes work on Erich Auerbach and Friedrich Hölderlin, as well as a second major research project entitled Minimalist Epistemologies: Metaphor and the Limit of Knowledge, which examines how the minimalist use of metaphor in writers such as Paul Celan and Samuel Beckett is related to Hans Blumenberg's claim that metaphors expose the limits of conceptual thought. In addition to his teaching in the Department of German Studies, Michael McGillen also offers courses in Jewish Studies and graduate seminars in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program. He received his Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literature from Princeton University in 2012 and his B.A. in Philosophy from Northwestern University in 2004.

Curriculum Vitae
German Studies
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
Ph.D. Princeton University
B.A. Northwestern University

Selected Publications

“Zwischen Bildlichkeit und Auflösung des Bildes: Ästhetik des Religiösen in Hugo Balls expressionistischen Gedichten.” Expressionismus 3 (2016): 83–91. 

“Lapsarian Repetitions: Iterations of the Fall in Kafka and Kierkegaard.” Kafka und die Religion in der Moderne. Eds. Manfred Engel and Ritchie Robertson. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2014. 93–115 (Peer-Reviewed).

“Theology’s Weimar Moment: History before the Eschatological Limit.” The Weimar Moment: Liberalism, Political Theology, and Law. Eds. Leonard Kaplan and Rudy Koshar, Lanham: Lexington Books, 2012. 269–287.