Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh

Clark S. Muenzer

clark muenzerAssociate Professor
1523 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


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

Courses Taught


  • Mapping the 18th Century
  • Goethe and Metaphysics
  • Goethe's Faust
  • Kafka and Philosophy
  • Introduction to Literary Theory


  • German Literature and Culture of the 18th Century
  • Goethe's Faust (with Theater Arts)
  • Kafka and the Modern World
  • Introduction to Literary Analysis


Since coming to the University of Pittsburgh in 1979, Clark S. 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 two volumes of essays on Goethe (2010; 2001), as well as one volume on literary modernism (1990).

Goethe, as well as German literature and culture of the long 18th century, has been the focus of his published work for many years. More recently, his teaching and research have examined the complex relationship of literature and the arts to philosophy. Thus, a number of recent articles, as well as a book-length project on “Goethe’s Metaphysics of Immanence,” look at Goethe’s literary, scientific, architectural, and aesthetic works with reference to Aristotle, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Kant. In addition to nature as process, the array of metaphysically informed topics under consideration include the nature of the real and the epistemological status of objects of perception; intentionality and the perceiving subject; the role of intuition in perception; the relation of the imagination to the body and to ideas; the conceptualization of substance in terms of permanence and change; and the spatio-temporal form of sensible experience.

Muenzer was the Executive Secretary of the Goethe Society of North America from 1999-2004 and a member of the Advisory Board from 2007-2009. He has served as President of the organization since 2013. He helped organize the first International Conference of the Goethe Society of North America in Pittsburgh in 2008 and will bring the Society’s third International Conference back to the University in November, 2014.



  • 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

  • “Goethe’s Haunted Architectural Idea,” in The Persistence of Reading (forthcoming, 2012), 30 ms. pp.

  • “Dancing with Spinoza: Metaphysics and Immanence in Goethe’s “Maifest” and “Ganymed,” Goethe Yearbook (forthcoming, 2012), 25 ms. pp.

  • “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, ed. Johannes Anderegg (Stuttgart: Deutscher Bibel-Verlag, 2005), 157-167.
  • “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. P
  • “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.

Awards and Honors

  • Vice-President (elected), Goethe Society of North America, 2010-2012 (succeeds to Presidency in 2013)
  • Board of Directors (elected), Goethe Society of North America, 2007-2009
  • Executive Secretary, Goethe Society of North America, 1999-2004
  • Literature and Philosophy Initiative (Humanities Center Grant)
  • Faculty Development Grant
  • University Center for International Studies Research Professorship
  • University Center for International Studies Travel Grant
  • University Center for International Studies Research Grant
  • Research Development Fund Grant
  • Research Development Fund Grant
  • NEH Summer Stipend
  • Faculty Research Grant
  • NEH Junior Fellow, The School of Criticism and Theory
  • DAAD Research Fellow

Professional Membership/Offices

  • President (elected), Goethe Society of North America, 2013-2015
  • Modern Language Association
  • American Association of Teachers of German

Personal Interests

  • Rare books and prints
  • 2 children
  • 1 chocolate lab