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Senior Fellows

Prof. Dr. Günter Leypoldt

Anglistisches Seminar
Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg


Project: "Transcultural Economies of Aesthetic Value in the Age of Academic Literary Studies"
Initiative: Detours - Mediated Circulations of Knowledge

This project looks at the shifting of authority in the transatlantic literary field since the second half of the twentieth century. More specifically I wish to examine how the rise of the American university to a center of a world system of academic production has affected the perception of literary value around the world. I am interested in how the growing weight of US-based literary markets since the 1950s can be related to the increasing academicization of literary consecration during the “humanities revolution” of the postwar period – the massive expansion of higher education between 1950 and 1975 that created new literary practices, readerships and systems of literary patronage. One of the larger questions is this: What does it mean for the cultural relevance of literature that aesthetic value seems increasingly defined by the sensibilities of an international “artworld,” the socio-professional networks of credentialed authors, cultural theorists, and literary critics whose prestige economies (literary prizes, canons, museums and sites of cultural memory) are largely defined within academic institutions?

About Günter Lepoldt

Günter Leypoldt is professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Heidelberg. His present research interests include transatlantic romanticism and modernism, American pragmatism, transculturality/transnationalim, the borders between aesthetic and religious experience, and the sociology of knowledge formation.

Selected publications:

(for a full list see

“Singularity and the Literary Market,” New Literary History 45.1 (Winter 2014).

“‘The Fall into Institutionality’: Literary Culture in the Program Era,” American Literary History 23.4 (Winter 2011): 844-859.

Intellectual Authority and Literary Culture in the US, 1790-1900. Ed. (Heidelberg: Winter, 2013).

(with Lars Eckstein), “TS Eliot und das Transkulturelle Erhabene,” Kulturen in Bewegung: Beiträge zur Theorie und Praxis der Transkulturalität. Ed. Dorothee Kimmich, Schamma Schahadat (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2012). 261-278.

Cultural Authority in the Age of Whitman: A Transatlantic Perspective (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2009).

“The Uses of Metaphor: Richard Rorty’s Literary Criticism and the Poetics of World-Making.” New Literary History. Special Issue: Remembering Richard Rorty. 39.1 (Winter, 2008): 145-63.