Samuel Frederick

Samuel Frederick

Associate Professor of German

19th- and 20th-century German literature; narrative theory; film history and theory

240 Burrowes Building


  1. Ph.D. Cornell University, German Studies, 2008
  2. M.A. Cornell University, German Studies, 2004
  3. B.A. Boston University, English and German & Continental European Literatures, 2000


Dr. Frederick has written on various topics in German literature from the Early Modern period to the present with a primary focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially the Swiss and Austrian traditions. His areas of expertise include narratology and the history of the novel; philosophical approaches to literature and film; thing theory; lyric poetry; experimental fiction; international modernism; and the narrative prose of Biedermeier and Poetic Realism. In his teaching and research he aims to bring together close reading with rigorous theoretical and philosophical inquiry.

Dr. Frederick has published one monograph, Narratives Unsettled: Digression in Robert Walser, Thomas Bernhard, and Adalbert Stifter (Northwestern University Press, 2012). Alongside other essays on Walser, Bernhard, and Stifter, he has also published on Friedrich von Blanckenburg, Oswald Egger, Oskar Fischinger, Theodor Fontane, Jeremias Gotthelf, Heinrich von Kleist, Gerhard Meier, the Quay Brothers, and Friedrich Schlegel. With the poet Graham Foust he has translated three volumes of poetry by Ernst Meister (published by Wave Books), and has co-edited a collection of new scholarship on Robert Walser (together with Valerie Heffernan) as well as the volume Information Keywords (with Michele Kennerly and Jonathan E. Abel). A second book, The Redemption of Things: Collecting and Dispersal in German Realism and Modernism, will be published by Cornell University Press in early 2022.


Current and Recent Courses:

  • GER 534: History of German Photography and Film
  • GER 591 / CMLIT 580: Walter Benjamin
  • GER 581: The Modern(ist) Austrian Novel
  • GER 561: German Realism and Its Other
  • GER 510: Introduction to Literary Theory
  • GER 432: History of German Literature II
  • GER 310: Introduction to the Study of German Literature
  • GER 189: German Film

Recent Publications:

  • Information Keywords. Co-edited with Michele Kennerly and Jonathan E. Abel (Columbia UP, 2020)
  • “Information + Humanities.” Co-authored with Michele Kennerly and Jonathan E. Abel. Information Keywords. Eds. Kennerly, Frederick, and Abel (Columbia UP, 2020) 
  • “Astonished Thought: Friedrich Schlegel’s Appropriation of Socratic Irony.” Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Socrates. Ed. Christopher Moore (Brill, 2019), 719–748.
  • “The Walker as Collector.” “Spazieren muß ich unbedingt”: Robert Walser und die Kultur des Gehens. Eds. Annie Pfeifer and Reto Sorg (Wilhelm Fink, 2019), 141–152.
  • "Robert Walser as Lyric Poet." Robert Walser: A Companion. Ed. Frederick and Heffernan (Northwestern UP, 2018): 65–86.
  • Robert Walser: A Companion. Edited by Samuel Frederick and Valerie Heffernan. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern UP, 2018.
  • “Möblierte Zwecklosigkeit: Einrichtung und Objekte in Mathilde Möhring.” Herausforderung des Realismus. Theodor Fontanes Gesellschaftsromane. Eds. Peter Uwe Hohendahl and Ulrike Vedder (Rombach Verlag, 2017), 297-326.
  • “Narrative Constitution of Friendship.” Co-authored with Christopher Moore. Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review/Revue canadienne de philosophy 56.1 (2017): 111-130.
  • “Cryptogamic Phylogeny: Moss and Family Lineage in Adalbert Stifter’s ‘Der Kuß von Sentze’.” Flüchtigkeit der Moderne. Eigenzeiten des Ephemeren im langen 19. Jahrhundert. Eds. Michael Bies, Sean Franzel, Dirk Oschmann (Wehrhahn Verlag, 2017), 157-181.
  • Ernst Meister. Of Entirety Say the Sentence / Sage vom Ganzen den Satz. Translated and with an introduction by Graham Foust and Samuel Frederick. Seattle: Wave Books, 2015.
  • “An Antlered Adaptation: Stag Iconography and Animal-human Hybridity in the Quay Brothers’ Institute Benjamenta.” Literature/Film Quarterly 43:3 (2015): 202-217.
  • “Transcendent Trivialities: Utopian Space and Fallen Things in Gerhard Meier’s Toteninsel.Colloquia Germanica: Internationale Zeitschrift für Germanistik 45.1 (2012 [published 2015]): 69-93.
  • “God’s Trash? Theodicy of Things and the Paradox of Productive Refuse in Jeremias Gotthelf’s ‘Die Wassernot im Emmental’.” Entsorgungsprobleme: Müll in der Literatur. Special issue of Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 133 (2014): 261-284.
  • Ernst Meister. Wallless Space Wandloser Raum. Translated and with an introduction by Graham Foust and Samuel Frederick. Seattle: Wave Books, 2014.
  • "A Bursting Zero of Unknowing: Overcoming the Paradox of Infinite Knowledge in Heinrich von Kleist’s ‘Über das Marionettentheater’ and Robert Walser’s Jakob von Gunten." The Germanic Review 88.4 (2013): 375-390.
  • "Cinematic Collecting: The Continuous Discontinuity of the Still Frame in Oskar Fischinger’s Walking from Munich to Berlin." Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal 8.3 (2013): 235-251.
  • "The Self-destruction of the Enlightenment Novel: Voice and the Problem of Narration in Blanckenburg’s Beyträge zur Geschichte deutschen Reichs und deutscher Sitten." Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 49.2 (2013): 148-170.
  • Narratives Unsettled: Digression in Robert Walser, Thomas Bernhard, and Adalbert Stifter. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2012.
  • Ernst Meister. In Time's Rift / Im Zeitspalt. Translated and with an introduction by Graham Foust and Samuel Frederick. Seattle: Wave Books, 2012.