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William Arctander O'Brien


Ph.D. (John Hopkins)

Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature

Primary Office: LIT 328
Primary Phone: (858) 534-4660
Quarterly Office Hours

Email: wobrien@ucsd.edu

Literature and Philosophy; Romanticism; Critical Theory.

William Arctander O’Brien joined the Literature Department in 1986. He received his Ph.D. from The Humanities Center at The Johns Hopkins University after study at the Universität Stuttgart, and his B.A. from Cornell after study at the Université de Paris.

O’Brien’s teaching has been recognized with numerous awards from Revelle and Eleanor Roosevelt Colleges, as well as the UCSD Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching (2005).  He teaches widely in the Literature Department: in Comparative Literature (Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, the Frankfurt School), German Literature (Romanticism, Enlightenment, Novalis, Brecht), Literatures in English (Allen Ginsberg, Edgar Poe); Literatures of the World (Rousseau/Kant/Sade, Supermarket Checkout Reading), and Cultural Studies (Bob Dylan).

Work in progress includes a monograph The Late Nietzsche.

Selected publications:

Novalis: Signs of Revolution. Duke University Press, 1995.

“Friedrich von Hardenberg (Pseudonym: Novalis),” The Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism, ed. Paul Hamilton (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 212-18.

"Hardenbergs Verfehlungen, oder Die Grenzen der Romantik." Bergbau und Dichtung. Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis) zum 200. Todestag. Hrsg. V. Eleonore Sent. (Weimar und Jena: Hain, 2004), pp. 229-36.

"Blüthenstaub: Dekonstruktion der Symbolik," Blüthenstaub--Rezeption und Wirkung des Werkes von Novalis, Hrsg. von Herbert Uerlings. (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2000), pp. 125-39.

"Herstellung eines Mythos: Novalis' Schriften in der Bearbeitung von Tieck und Schlegel," Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie, 111.2 (1992): 161-80.

"E.T.A. Hoffmann's Critique of Idealism: Psychology, Allegory, and Philosophy in 'Die Automate,'" Euphorion, 96.4 (1989): 369-406.

"Getting Blasted: Hölderlin's 'Wie wenn am Feiertage...'," MLN, 94.3 (1979): 569-86.