Michael J McGillen

Academic Appointments

Senior Lecturer

Michael McGillen joined the Dartmouth faculty in 2012 and is a Senior Lecturer in German Studies. His research on 20th-century German literature, culture, and intellectual history addresses problems at the boundaries of philosophy, religion, and aesthetics. He is currently completing a book entitled Shapes of Time: History and Eschatology in the Modernist Imagination, which examines the spatialization of concepts of time and history in early twentieth-century German thought. It shows how the effort in German modernism (Karl Barth, Franz Rosenzweig, Siegfried Kracauer, and Robert Musil) to conceive of alternative shapes of time—beyond historicism and nineteenth-century philosophies of history—took place at the boundary between secular and theological discourses. His research on religion and modernism also includes recent articles on “Erich Auerbach and the Seriality of the Figure” (2018), “Zwischen Bildlichkeit und Auflösung des Bildes: Ästhetik des Religiösen in Hugo Balls expressionistischen Gedichten“ (2016), and “Lapsarian Repetitions: Iterations of the Fall in Kafka and Kierkegaard” (2014). His current research on the nexus of German literature and philosophy includes work on Hans Blumenberg, Edmund Husserl, Franz Kafka, and Uwe Johnson, as well as a second book project entitled Variations on a Lost Inheritance: Narrative Forms in Arendt, Blumenberg, and Kluge/Negt, which explores the importance of narrative modes (anecdotes, stories, myths) in postwar German thought. In addition to his teaching in the Department of German Studies, Michael McGillen also offers courses in Comparative Literature, Jewish Studies, and the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program. He received his Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literature from Princeton University in 2012 and his B.A. in Philosophy from Northwestern University in 2004.


HB 6084


  • Ph.D. Princeton University
  • B.A. Northwestern University

Selected Publications

  • “Husserl’s Image Worlds and the Language of Phenomenology.” Phenomenology to the Letter: Husserl and Literature. Eds. Rochelle Tobias, Kristina Mendicino, and Philippe P. Haensler. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021. 23–44 (Peer-Reviewed).  

  • “Orientation in Pictures: Multistable Spaces in Kafka and Beckett.” Word & Image, 36.3 (2020): 225–236.

  • "Historical Passages and Scenes of Transport in Uwe Johnson's Jahrestage." The Germanic Review, 93.2 (2018): 130–154.

  • “Erich Auerbach and the Seriality of the Figure.” New German Critique, no. 133 (2018): 111–154. 

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