Comparative Renaissance / Baroque Studies; Erich Auerbach; Benjamin and the Baroque; History and Theories of Comparative Literature; Cultural Studies and Criticism; Pre- and Early Modern Lessons for the Post-Modern Age; Translation Theory
Jane O. Newman is interested in dialogues between the pre- and early modern past and the modern and postmodern present. Her primary fields are Renaissance and Early Modern English, French, German, Italian and neo-Latin literature and culture. She also has published and taught courses on Walter Benjamin and Erich Auerbach; the history of the discipline of Comparative Literature; theories and methods of Comparative Literature; Realism and its Discontents; translation theory; new historicism and cultural materialism; Cold War Renaissance and Baroque Studies. She is currently working on two books, one on the legacy of Auerbach, and the other provisionally entitled After Westphalia: Early Modern Lessons for the Post-Modern Age. She was a Guggenheim Fellow, 1998-99, a Humboldt Fellow, 1991-92, 2004, and 2012, and a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Free University in Berlin, 2010-11. During 2015-16, she held the M.H. Abrams Fellowship at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle, North Carolina. In Spring, 2017, she held a Berlin Prize as the John P. Birkelund Fellow in the Humanities at the American Academy in Berlin (Germany).
Newman is the author of Pastoral Conventions (1990), The Intervention of Philology (2000), and Benjamin's Library: Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque (2011). She is the English-language translator of a selection of Erich Auerbach's essays (2014; ppb. 2016). Newman has authored articles on Theocritus, Virgil, Luther, Shakespeare, Opitz, and Lohenstein; early twentieth century receptions of the Renaissance and Baroque; the history of printing; race in/and the Renaissance; race and Renaissance legal theory; drama and the history of the stage; early modern science; Simone de Beauvoir and Descartes; Cold War Renaissance Studies; Walter Benjamin; Erich Auerbach and Edward Said; Erich Auerbach on Dante, the Gospel of Mark, Huizinga, Pascal, and Vico; and Westphalianism. Additional interests include: Gender, Politics, and Performance in Classical Greek Tragedy; The Latent Pasts of Pre- and Early Modernity in the Early Modern and Post-Modern periods; From Manuscript to Hyper-Text: A Comparative History of Text Production; Historiography of Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and Renaissance Europe Goes to the Movies.
"After completing a book on the intervention of Renaissance philological practice in the construction of early modern gender identity, I turned to the investigation of the phenomenon of Renaissance Studies itself as a historical product, as well as to the study of the Baroque, to which the Renaissance was inextricably linked as a period and style in discussions beginning already in the nineteenth century. In the course of my research, I became particularly interested in the role that the work on the earlier periods of a number of German-Jewish scholars, among them Erich Auerbach, Leo Spitzer, Erwin Panofsky, and Paul Oskar Kristeller, played in the formation of U.S. Renaissance Studies after WWII and up through the Cold War. It is in the context of these men's scholarship during the early twentieth century in Germany that I place my investigation of Walter Benjamin's book on the German Baroque 'mourning play' (Trauerspiel). Of central concern in this set of projects are critical periodization theory, the academic practices of canon formation, the rise and fall of theoretical fashions and orthodoxies, and the impact on interpretation of the pronounced ideological criticism that emanated from this period, which was the one that immediately preceded the onset of our current postmodern moment. It seems apt that today's often very politicized academy would interrogate the terms of its origins and rethink itself and its role in a postmodern and post-Cold War world in dialogue with the highly charged political times out of which it grew after 1945. My new book projects on Erich Auerbach and on the lessons of the Westphalian era for the modern and post-modern age focus primarily on political theory and relations between sacred and secular regimes of meaning, authority, and force."
Pastoral Conventions: Poetry, Language and Thought in Seventeenth-Century Nuremberg. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.
The Intervention of Philology: Gender, Learning, and Power in Lohenstein's Roman Plays. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.
Benjamin's Library: Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011. - Modern Language Association (MLA), Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures, Honorable Mention, 2011.
Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach. James I. Porter, Ed. Jane O. Newman, Transl. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. (Paperback: 2016). - Modern Language Association (MLA), Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature, Co-Winner, 2015.
With Ron Sadan. "The World’s Literatures: Erich Auerbach’s Early Essays on Giambattista Vico." Comparative Literature 74: 4 (December, 2022).
Works in Progress:
“Early/Modern Mimesis: The Worlds of Erich Auerbach” – In progress.
“After Westphalia: Early Modern Lessons for the Post-Modern Age” – In progress.
"The Word Made Print. Luther's 1522 New Testament in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction." Representations 11 (Summer, 1985).
"Textuality versus Performativity in Neo-Latin Drama: Johannes Reuchlin's Henno." Theatre Journal. 38: 3 (October, 1986)
"'Academic Tootsie': Women's Voices, Gender, and Textual Ventriloquism in the German Language Academies." The Eighteenth Century. Theory and Interpretation. 35: 3 (1994).
"'And let Mild Women to Him Lose Their Mildness': Philomela, Female Violence, and Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece." Shakespeare Quarterly. 45: 3 (Fall, 1994)
"Disorientations: Same-Sex Seduction and Women's Power in Daniel Casper von Lohenstein's Ibrahim Sultan (1673)." Colloquia Germanica. 28: 3-4 (1995)
"Almost White, but not Quite: 'Race', Gender, and the Disarticulation of the Imperial Subject in Lohenstein's Cleopatra (1680)." Studies in Early Modern France/EMF Monographs. 3 (1997)
"Citational Science: Textuality and the Authority of the 'Scientific Fact' in Early Modern Central Europe (Lohenstein's Cleopatra, 1680)." The Construction of Textual Authority in German Literature of the Medieval and Early Modern Periods. James Poag and Claire Baldwin, Eds. (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2001): 211-38.
"'Race', Religion, and the Law: Rhetorics of Sameness and Difference in the Work of Hugo Grotius." Rhetoric and Law in the Early Modern Period. Victoria Kahn and Lorna Hutson, Eds. (New Haven: Yale UP, 2001): 285-317.
"Philologie, der Kalte Krieg und das ‘Nachbarock’.” Barock: Neue Sichtweisen einer Epoche. Peter J. Burgard, Ed. (Vienna/Cologne/Weimar: Böhlau Verlag, 2001): 323-42.
"The Present and our Past: Simone de Beauvoir, Descartes, and Presentism in the Historiography of Feminism." Women's Studies on its Own. Robyn Wiegman, Ed. (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2002): 141-73.
“Aus dem (Jerusalemer) Archiv: Fritz Strich to Judah Magnes on Walter Benjamin, 26 March, 1928.” In: Trajekte. Zeitschrift des Zentrums für Literaturforschung Berlin 13. Septermber, 2006. 4-7.
“’The present confusion concerning the Renaissance’: Burckhardtian Legacies in the Cold War United States.” In: Other Renaissances. Brenda Deen Schildgen, Gang Zhou, and Sander Gilman, Eds. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2006. 243-68.
"Nicht am ‘falschem Ort’: Saids Auerbach und die ‘neue’ Komparatistik.” In: Erich Auerbach: Geschichte und Aktualität eines europäischen Philologen. Karlheinz Barck and Martin Treml, Eds. Berlin: Kadmos Kulturverlag, 2007. 341-56
“Baroque Legacies: National Socialism’s Benjamin.” In: Nazi Germany and the Humanities. Anson Rabinbach and Wolfgang Bialas, Eds. Oxford: Oneworld Press. 2007. 238-66.
“’Hamlet ist auch Saturnkind’: Citationality, Lutheranism, and German Identity in Walter Benjamin’s Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels.” Benjamin Studien 1 (2008). 171-88.
“Enchantment in Times of War: Aby Warburg, Walter Benjamin, and the Secularization Thesis.” In: Representations 105 (2009). 133-67.
“Periodization, Modernity, Nation: Benjamin between Renaissance and Baroque.” Journal of the Northern Renaissance 1: 1 (2009). 27-41.
"Luther’s Birthday: Aby Warburg, Albrecht Dürer, and Early Modern Media in the Age of Modern War.” In: Consuming News. Newspapers and Print Culture in Early Modern Europe (1300-1800). ( = Daphnis. Zeitschrift für Mittlere Deutsche Literatur 37). Eds. Gerhild Scholz Williams and William Layher. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2009. 79-110.
“The Afterlives of the Greeks, or: What is the Canon of World Literature?” in: MLA Volume on Approaches to World Literature. New York: MLA. David Damrosch, Ed. Ed. New York: MLA, 2009. 121-36.
“Rosenzweig and the ‘Modern’ Baroque State.” Rosenzweig Jahrbuch/Rosenzweig Yearbook 6 (2011). 235-63.
“Force and Justice: Auerbach’s Pascal.” In: Political Theology on the Scenes of Early Modernity. Julia Reinhard Lupton and Graham Hammill, Eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. 159-82.
“Tragedy and Trauerspiel for the (Post) Westphalian Age.” Renaissance Drama 40 (2012). 197-208.
“Die Aporie der Allegorie: Das Theatrum Mundi des deutschen Trauerspiels.” In: Theatrum mundi. Die Metapher des Welttheaters von Shakespeare bis Beckett. Björn Quiring, Ed. Berlin: August Verlag, 2012. 137-66.
“Re-Animating the Gegenstück, or: Das Nachleben des französischen Trauerspiels im deutschen Barock (The Survival of the French Mourning Play in the German Baroque).” In: Walter Benjamin’s Hypothetical French Trauerspiel. Ed. Hall Bjornstad and Katherine Ibbett. Yale French Studies 124 (2013). 152-70.
“Auerbach’s Dante: Poetical Theology as a Point of Departure for a Philology of World Literature.” In: Approaches to World Literature. Joachim Küpper, Ed., Berlin / New York: De Gruyter / Akademie Verlag, 2013. 39-58.
“Tragödie und Trauerspiel für ein (Post)Westfälisches Zeitalter.” In: Das Nachleben des Trauerspiels. Claude Haas and Daniel Weidner, Ed. Berlin: Kadmos Verlag, 2014. 109-22. (German of “Tragedy and Trauerspiel for the (Post) Westphalian Age.”)
“Reich or Nation? Versions of European Statehood in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648).” In: Visions of Europe. Anke Biendara, Gail Hart, David Pan, Ed. ( = Berliner Beiträge zur neueren Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte). Frankfurt and New York: Peter Lang, 2014. 51-63.
“Memory Theater: Remembering the Peace after 300 Years.” In: Performances of Peace, 1713-2013. David Onnekink and Kornee van den Haven, Eds. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2015. 251-65.
“The ‘German’ Origin of the Birth of Theory.” PMLA. 130: 3 (2015). 776-86.
“Mediating Amicably? The Birth of the Trauerspiel out of the Letter of Westphalia.” In: Early Modern Diplomacy, Theatre and Soft Power: The Making of Peace. Nathalie Rivere de Carles, Ed. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016. 90-116.
“Translation Theory in a Comparative Literature Department.” In: Teaching Translation: Programs, Courses, Pedagogies. Lawrence Venuti, Ed. New York and London: Routledge, 2017. 134-40.
"The Gospel According to Auerbach.” PMLA. 135: 3 (2020). 455-73.
“Scholar Rescue: The Past of the Future.” In Refugee Routes. Vanessa Agnew, Kader Konuk, and Jane O. Newman, Eds. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2020. 285-97.
“Coda, or: How Does World Literature Begin?” In: How does Literature Begin? A Global History. Denis Feeney and Joel Lande, Eds. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2021. 365-79.
“‘Von hier an ganz umzuschreiben‘: Spuren des Existentialismus in Auerbachs Büchern” (“‘Von hier an ganz umzuschreiben’: Traces of Existentialism in Auerbach’s Books”). In: Randkulturen. Lese- und Gebrauchsspuren in Autorenbibliotheken des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts. Anke Jaspers, Ed. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2021. 363-84.
“Periodization Trouble: Huizinga, Auerbach, and the Question of Medieval Realism.” In: Postwar Scholarship and the Study of the Middle Ages. R. D. Perry and Benjamin A. Saltzman, Eds. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. (Forthcoming, 2022).
“Philology Goes to the Movies: The Task of the Critic in Kracauer and Auerbach.” In a Special Issue of Modern Language Quarterly: "Literary Studies, New Media, and the Humanities, 1900-1960.” (Forthcoming, 2022).
2017 Berlin Prize / John P. Birkelund Fellow in the Humanities, American Academy in Berlin, Berlin, Germany (January – June, 2017); 2015-16 M.H. Abrams Fellow, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina;
2012 Alexander von Humboldt Three-Month Fellowship (Free University, Berlin, Germany); 2010-11 Fulbright Senior Scholar (Free University, Berlin, Germany); 2004 Alexander von Humboldt Three-Month Fellowship (Berlin, Germany); 2004 UCI Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Fostering of Undergraduate Research; 2002-2003 UCI International Center for Writing and Translation, “Endangered Languages and the Preservation of Biocultural Diversity”; 2000-2001 Nichols Fellow in Humanities and the Public Sphere, UC Irvine; 1998-99 Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Research Fellowship; 1995 Research Fellow at the UC Humanities Research Institute, Irvine, CA in Residence Group: "Toward Common Frames: Feminist Epistemologies and Methodologies," Fall, 1995; 1994 UCI School of Humanities/Humanities Associates Annual Teaching Award; 1991-92 Alexander von Humboldt Year-Long Research Grant, Tübingen, Germany.
Department of Comparative Literature (UC Berkeley) 2008
Visiting Professor in the Council of the Humanities and Old Dominion Fellow
Department of German (Princeton University) 2018
The Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, Free University, Berlin, Germany (Fall, 2010)
Zentrum für Kultur- und Literaturforschung (Center for Cultural and Literary Studies), Berlin, Germany (Spring, 2011)
Visiting Senior Scholar, The Warburg Institute, London (UK) (February, 2019)