Jacob Haubenreich

Jacob Haubenreich (he/him/his)

Assistant Professor of German, Director of Undergraduate Studies, German

Contact Information

Research Interests: 19th-21st century German literature, posthermeneutics, theory and history of media, Schriftbildlichkeit, book history, writing process, archival theory and practice, experimental literature, literature and the visual arts, new materialism, multilingualism

Education: PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Jacob Haubenreich’s scholarship explores the intersections of materiality and meaning in the production and reception of literary works. While focusing on the long 20th century, his research and areas of expertise are tied less to particular historical periods than to broader conceptual issues and theoretical questions—of materiality, mediality, visuality, textual production and reception, and the interrelationship between the hermeneutic and non-hermeneutic—that span historical periods, contexts, and configurations. Haubenreich’s work is rooted in extensive archival analysis and draws on a range of posthermeneutic approaches as well as textual criticism (critique génétique, critical bibliography, book history). Bringing these perspectives to bear on close readings of texts and the processes of their production and reception, he shows how drawing the materiality of texts into the scope of interpretative analysis has the potential to expand our understanding of the material-semiotic complexity of literature as an art form.         

Haubenreich’s current book project, Textual Entanglements: Rilke, Handke, Bernhard and the Materiality of Literature, argues that material production processes manifest themselves in the published forms of writers’ works to such a degree that we cannot fully understand semantic dynamics without considering material scenes of production. For all three writers, traces of writing haunt their published texts: printed annotations indicating that certain passages were “im Manuskript an den Rand geschrieben” (Rilke); hand-sketched drawings and notes from wanderings reproduced in printed texts (Handke); fanatically regularized typographic text layouts whose rhythmic and semantic breaks nevertheless betray the writer’s composition in short typewritten episodes (Bernhard). 

Haubenreich has also begun work on a second book project tentatively entitled Weird Books. It explores an array of contemporary works (in German and beyond) that challenge distinctions between literature and visual art, and thus pose theoretical challenges for literary studies and art history. Countering claims about the “death of the book” in the digital era, this project shows how the current media shift spells not the end of the book as medium, but has rather generated new forms of experimentation with its material possibilities. Case studies range from artist books, to writers’ notebooks (artistic projects in and of themselves), to contemporary publications that experiment with the material and visual form of the book as medium.

Haubenreich regularly pursues archival research at institutions in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria: the Deutsches Literaturarchiv (Marbach), the Schweizerisches Literaturarchiv (Bern), the Literaturarchiv der ÖsterreichischenNationalbibliothek (Vienna), and the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Vienna). He has held positions as Visiting Scholar at the ÖAW and in the Forschungsverbund Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel. His research has been funded by the Fulbright Foundation, the DLA Marbach, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, the Österreichischer Austauschdienst (Franz Werfel Stipendium), and the Rare Book School.

Haubenreich received his PhD in German from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. Before coming to Johns Hopkins, he held the position of Associate Professor of German at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Recent Graduate Courses

Scenes of Writing

Recent Undergraduate Courses

Experimental Literature: from Dada to Digital

Texte sehen, Bilder lesen: Literature and the Visual Arts

Literary Multilingualism

“Packaging Process: Peter Handke’s Writing for Sale,” Consumerism and Prestige: The Materiality of Literature in the Modern Age, ed. Anthony Enns and Bernhard Metz. London: Anthem (forthcoming)

“The Trail, the Archive, the Museum, and the Book: Confronting Materiality in Literary Studies.” New German Critique 141, 47.3 (2020): 141-178.

“‘My whole being fell silent, and read’: Handke’s Hölderlin and Heidegger Reception,” Friedrich Hölderlin’s Philosophy of Nature, ed. Rochelle Tobias. Edinburgh: Edinburgh U P, 2020, 178-195.

“‘Das Problem liegt im Wie.’ Reading Thomas Bernhard Writing.” German Studies Review 43.1 (2020): 59-86.

“Poetry, Painting, Patchwork: Peter Handke’s Intermedial Writing of Die Lehre der Sainte-Victoire.” The German Quarterly 92.2 (2019): 187-210.

“Notebooks and Children’s Drawings, or The Inter-Authorship of Peter Handke’s Kindergeschichte.” Seminar. A Journal of Germanic Studies 54.1 (2018): 66-103.

“The Press, the Mirror, and the Window: The Intermedial Construction of the Reader in Sebastian Brant’s Das Narrenschiff (1494).” Word & Image. A Journal of Visual/Verbal Inquiry 32.4 (2016): 375-392.

“Das virtuelle Manuskript: Rilkes Handschrift und die Auflösung der Druckseite.” Diesseits des Virtuellen: Handschriften im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert. Hrsg. Urs Bütter, et. al. Paderborn: Fink, 2015. 229-246.

“Text-Corporality and the Double Rend of the Page: The Specter of the Manuscript in Rilke’s Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge.” Monatshefte 105.4 (2013): 565-592.