Professor Russell Berman:
Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature, Stanford University
Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
"The Integrity of Fiction: Imaginative Literature in a Culture of Realism"
Practical concerns tend to place a premium on informational reading to the disadvantage of aesthetic education. This familiar trade-off in current debates is hardly new. Similar concerns defined cultural production during the rapid industrialization of Germany in the 19th century. This talk explores the durability of fiction within a scientific-realist setting through the problem of poetic realism in the work of the author Theodor Storm (1817-1888), including his reception in social theory.
Russell Berman is an expert on German literature and culture and on cultural relations between Europe and the United States. He specializes in the relationship between literature and politics, critical theory and critiques of modernity. In his scholarship, he has made innovative contributions in fields ranging from the history of the novel, colonial discourse and the cultural evolution of literacy. He has also been a prominent public advocate of the humanities and, especially, second language acquisition.