About

Petra S. McGillen works on German literature, media, and culture, ca. 1750 to 1900. Her research focuses on material histories of intellectual and cultural production. In particular, she explores the impact of different forms and media of notation—from doodles to writers’ notebooks, from lists to databases—on writing processes and modes of knowledge organization. Her first book, The Fontane Workshop: Manufacturing Realism in the Industrial Age of Print (New York; London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019. New Directions in German Studies; 26) is the first in-depth study of the unpublished notebooks and other “paper tools” of the great German novelist Theodor Fontane. Her other research and teaching interests include print culture, book history, and the history of journalism.

Education


  • Ph.D., Germanic Languages and Literature, Princeton University, 2012.

  • M.A., Germanic Languages and Literature, Princeton University, 2009.

  • M.A., Intellectual History and the History of Political Thought, University of Sussex, 2006.

  • B.A., Europäische Medienwissenschaft, Universität Potsdam, 2005.

Other Publications

Books and Edited Volumes

  • The Fontane Workshop: Manufacturing Realism in the Industrial Age of Print. New Directions in German Studies; 26. New York; London: Bloomsbury Academic, July 2019.

  • Second Book Project: All the News That’s Fit to Twist: Stories of Everyday Fakery in the Press, 1789–1901 (in progress).

  • Co-Editor (with Deborah Helmer) of Theodor Fontane: Aus England for the Große Brandenburger Fontane-Ausgabe, ed. Gotthard Erler, continued by Heinrich Detering and Gabriele Radecke, Abteilung VIII “Das kritische Werk,” Bd. 1. Berlin: Aufbau, scheduled for 2020/21.


 

Peer-Reviewed Articles 

  • From Our Own False Correspondent: Armchair Reporting in the Kreuzzeitung as a Means of Early Information Warfare, ca. 1860–1870.” Observing the Everyday: Journalistic Practices of Knowledge Production in the Modern Era, ed. Hansjakob Ziemer, scheduled for 2019 (submitted).

  • “The Business of Criticism: Theodor Fontane and Wilhelm Hertz’s Media Campaign for Vor dem Sturm.” Market Strategies and German Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century. Ed. Vance Byrd and Ervin Malakaj. Interdisciplinary German Studies. Berlin: de Gruyter (in press, January 2020).

  • “Ein kreativer Apparat: Theodor Fontanes Bibliotheksnetz und Lektürepraktiken – eine Mediengeschichte.” Invited Translation of “A Creative Machine” (see below). Fontane Blätter 103 (2017): 100–123. Abstract

  • “The Romantic Editor as Modern Media Practitioner: The Poetics of Reading in Ludwig Tieck’s Minnelieder Anthology.” Special Issue: Das Erblühen der Blumenlesen. German Anthologies, 1700–1850, eds. Nora Ramtke and Seán M. Williams, German Life and Letters 70.1 (2017): 57–78. Abstract

  • “Wit, Bookishness, and the Epistemic Impact of Note-Taking: Lichtenberg’s Sudelbücher as Intellectual Tools,” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 90.4 (2016): 501–528. Abstract

  • “Andauernder Effekt: Medienkonkurrenz und Rhetorik in Heinrich Heines Napoleon-Schriften.” Zwischen Gattungsdisziplin und Gesamtkunstwerk. Intermedialität 1815 – 1848. Eds. Stefan Keppler-Tasaki, Wolf G. Schmidt. Berlin: de Gruyter 2015, 203–222.

  • “A Creative Machine: The Media History of Theodor Fontane’s Library Network and Reading Practices.” The Germanic Review 87.1 (2012): 72–90.


 

Non-Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Die Karten-Ente oder Vom Sehen mit dem Bleistift. Zur Funktion der Skizzen in Theodor Fontanes Notizbüchern.” Edition Text + Kritik Sonderband: Theodor Fontane, ed. Peer Trilcke, Munich: edition text + kritik, 2019, 34–44.

  • “Arbeitsweise: Medienwissenschaftliche Perspektive.” Theodor-Fontane-Handbuch, eds. Rolf Paar, Gabriele Radecke, and Peer Trilcke, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, scheduled for 2019–20 (submitted).

  • “Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg: Zur Entstehung, Druck- und Editionsgeschichte” (co-authored with Gabriele Radecke). Theodor-Fontane-Handbuch, eds. Rolf Paar, Gabriele Radecke, and Peer Trilcke, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, scheduled for 2019–20 (submitted).

  • “Poetische Mobilmachung im Textbaukasten: Fontanes Kunst der Weiterverwendung – der Fall Allerlei Glück.” Formen ins Offene. Zur Produktivität des Unvollendeten, eds. Hanna Delf von Wolzogen and Christine Hehle, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, 2018, 97–119 (substantially expanded version of “Per Liste durch den Papierkosmos,” see below).

  • “Kompilieren.” Historisches Wörterbuch des Mediengebrauchs. Eds. Heiko Christians, Matthias Bickenbach, and Nikolaus Wegmann. Köln: Böhlau 2014, 352–368.

  • “Per Liste durch den Papierkosmos. Fontanes bewegliche Textproduktion – Beobachtungen zum Fall Allerlei Glück.” Zettelkästen. Maschinen der Phantasie. Eds. Heike Gfrereis and Ellen Strittmatter. Marbach am Neckar: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, 2013, 98–109. Marbacher Katalog 66. (Catalogue of the eponymous exhibition at the Literaturmuseum der Moderne, 3/4–9/15/13. Click here for a link to reviews of the exhibition in German news media.)

  • “Stimmung, Raum, Landschaft. Mediale Verschiebungen der Kulturphysiognomik bei Florens Christian Rang, Leo Spitzer und Hans Gaitanides” (with Heiko Christians). Archiv für Mediengeschichte (2007): 213–22.


 

 

Blog Posts

    Projects

    Media Inventories Working Group, Co-Founder (with Sean Franzel, University of Missouri).

     

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences


    • “An den Außengrenzen des Journalismus: Fontanes ‘unechte Korrespondenzen’ als boundary-work” [Arbeitstitel]. Invited Talk, Fontanes Medien (1819–2019), International Conference, Universität Potsdam, Germany, scheduled for June 2019.

    • “The False Correspondent in Nineteenth-Century Press Wars: A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Fake News.” Invited Lecture, Landmarks of European Identity, Undergraduate History Seminar, Princeton University, scheduled for November 2018.

    • “Subjunctives and Serendipity in Lichtenberg’s Sudelbüchern.” Thought Experiments/Gedankenexperimente, Multi-Panel Series, 42nd Annual German Studies Association Conference, Pittsburgh, scheduled for September 2018.

    Memberships

    German Studies Association; AWIS/IAWERTI; SHARP.

    Petra S. McGillen

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