"New Genre Emerging: Contemporary German Graphic Literature" (A lecture with Stefan Boernchen)


Location: 1050 Jenkins Nanovic Halls (View on map )

Boernchen Foto Klein 600x Web

By now, comics have taken their place alongside other recognized forms of literature, even in German-speaking countries. The renowned German publishing house Suhrkamp includes graphic literature in its program and comic festivals are organized by houses of literature.

When Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus. A Survivor’s Tale became the first comic to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, it became clear that comics can even narrate the Holocaust. In other words: they can do anything. The German Renaissance graphic artist, painter, and theorist Albrecht Dürer was right in saying that “wonderful things” can be made from straight, curved, and wiggly lines: one can reflect critically on this (ô_ó), marvel at it (*_*) or take pleasure in it \(^_^)/.

The lecture will guide the audience through the fascinating world of images and stories found in German-language comics and graphic novels of recent years, among them Ulli Lust's Voices in the Dark, Volker Reiche's Gravel Pit Night, and Olivia Vieweg's End Time.


PD Dr. Stefan Boernchen

Studied German Literature, Philosophy, Musicology, and Comparative Literature in Cologne, Dundee and St. Louis. He received his MA in 2000 from Washington University in St. Louis. and his Ph.D. in 2006 from the University of Cologne, where he also completed his Habilitation. From 2006–2011 he was a Collaborateur scientifique at the University of Luxembourg, has taught since 2011 at the University of Cologne, and in 2018–19 is a Visiting Professor for Modern German Literature at the Free University of Berlin.

Monographs: “Alles ist eins.” Romantische Metaphorologie des Mediums (2019, forthcoming); Poetik der Linie. Wilhelm Busch, Max und Moritz und die Tradition (2015); Kryptenhall. Allegorien von Schrift, Stimme und Musik in Thomas Manns “Doktor Faustus” (2006).


Sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.