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Photo of Fortmann, Patrick

Patrick Fortmann, PhD


Germanic Studies


Building & Room:

1514 UH, MC 189


601 S. Morgan St.

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Patrick Fortmann is Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. The primary emphasis of his research falls in the long nineteenth century, in particular the transitory period between Romanticism and Realism. His work connects aesthetic investigations with political inquiries, and studies the staging of sovereignty, emotions in literature, space in modernism, as well as questions of the human, including race, in scientific discourses since the Enlightenment.

His first book, Autopsie von Revolution und Restauration [Autopsy of Revolution and Restoration], appeared in the series Litterae with Rombach in 2013. It explores the political imaginary of the Vormärz period in the works of German writer, scientist and radical democrat Georg Büchner (1813-37). He has also co-edited a collection of essays on this writer: Commitment and Compassion (Brill, 2012). His second book, Kristallisationen von Liebe [Crystallizations of Love] was published with Wilhelm Fink in 2021. The book traces the conception of the modern idea of romantic love in the period between Romanticism and Realism. At the time new aesthetic forms represent passion as a poetic mythology, a secularized religion, and a physiological condition of life. The research for this book was supported by a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Current research projects concern Franz Kafka’s literature and the orignis of race/face concepts in German physiognomy, phrenology, and craniology.

His work has appeared in venues such as Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift, Modern Language Review, Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie, Euphorion, Monatshefte, among others.

Selected Publications


  • Kristallisationen von Liebe: Zur Poetik des Gefühlswissens zwischen Romantik und Realismus. Paderborn: Fink, 2021. doi:10.30965/9783846766347
  • Autopsie von Revolution und Restauration: Georg Büchner und die politische Imagination. Litterae 47. Freiburg: Rombach, 2013.
  • Co-edited with Martha B. Helfer. Commitment and Compassion: Essays on Georg Büchner: Festschrift for Gerhard P. Knapp. Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik 81. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012. doi:10.1163/9789401208079

Articles and Chapters

  • “Zur Entfesselung politischer Leidenschaften in Kleists politischen Schriften des Jahres 1809.” Kleist-Jahrbuch (2021): 251–65.
  • “Heine’s Divan: West-Eastern Voyages after Goethe.” Publications of the English Goethe Society 89 (2020): 157–72. doi:10.1080/09593683.2020.1829184
  • “Landschaftsbild und Stimmung: Eduard von Keyserlings Kunstkritik als Werkpoetik.” Eduard von Keyserling und die Klassische Moderne, edited by Christoph Jürgensen and Michael Scheffel, 187-202. Berlin: J.B. Metzler, 2020. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-04892-9_12
  • “Die Desillusionierung der romantischen Liebe in Georg Büchners Leonce und Lena.” Euphorion 113 (2019): 437–57.
  • “World Literature turns Political, 1835/36: The Early Afterlife of Goethe’s Pronouncement in German Cultural-Politics and in the Young Germany Movement.” Goethe Yearbook 26 (2019): 217–32.
  • “Brain Matters in the German Enlightenment: Animal Cognition and Species Difference in Herder, Soemmerring, and Gall.” Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and the Life Sciences after Kant, edited by Edgar Landgraf, Gabriel Trop, and Leif Weatherby, 37-52. New York: Bloomsbury, 2019.

Notable Honors

2010-2011, Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers, Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation


PhD, Harvard University