Lynne Tatlock

​Director of the Committee on Comparative Literature
Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities
PhD, Indiana University
research interests:
  • German Literature
  • Book History
  • Gender Studies and Women’s Writing
  • History of the Novel
  • Literature and Medicine
  • Literature and Society
  • Nationalism
  • Reading Cultures
  • Regionalism
  • Translation and Cultural Mediation

contact info:

office hours:

  • Monday 4:00 - 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday 2:00 - 3:00 pm
  • walk-in and by appointment
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mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1104
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899
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​Professor Tatlock has published widely on German literature and culture from 1650 to the 1990s with a concentration in the late seventeenth century and the nineteenth century.

Tatlock has maintained an abiding interest in the novel and its origins, the construction and representation of gender, reading communities and reading habits, nineteenth-century regionalism and nationalism, and the intersection between fiction and other social and cultural discourses. Some of her recent publications include books, edited and co-edited volumes, translations, and articles on the seventeenth-century poet Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg, the American translator of E. Marlitt, nineteenth-century American reading of German women’s writing, Gustav Freytag's alternative address to national community, Gabriele Reuter as contributor to the New York Times, new approaches to book history and literary history, reception and the gendering of German culture, and cultural transfer.

She has undertaken literary translations of two novels by women, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach’s Their Pavel (Das Gemeindekind) and Gabriele Reuter’s From a Good Family; selections from Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg's meditations on the incarnation, passion, and death of Jesus Christ; and Justine Siegemund’s seventeenth-century midwife’s handbook. Her activity as literary translator has fueled her scholarly work on cultural mediation, reception, and the international book trade.

Her teaching at present centers on questions of regionalism and nationalism and reader communities, nationalism and French-German relations, the construction and representation of community, nineteenth and early twentieth-century women writers, bourgeois literature and reading habits, literary genres and violence, and book history.

Recent Courses

Seminar: Literature in the Making I (Comp Lit 512)

This seminar is designed for graduate students in the International Writers PHD Track in Comparative Literature to put their creative work into conversation with their studies in foreign languages, cultures and literatures with an eye to the long-term goal of the hybrid dissertation. Participants will read and discuss practical criticism, present their current creative projects and hone their skills as writers, translators and readers by engaging with a living literature as it evolves. At the conclusion of the course, students will have the choice of presenting a polished work of translation, a piece of original writing (in English or in their native language), or an essay on one or more of the works read during the semester.

    Strangers Among Us: Empire and its Discontents, 1871-1912 (German 526)

    This course treats formations of national, regional, and transnational culture in Imperial Germany after unification in 1871. We will consider literature and canon-formation, painting, monuments, school plays, school readers, and books for children, examining them for the myths, values, and patriotic images espoused by those promoting national culture. Affirmative cultural artifacts and phenomena will be contrasted with literary works that give voice to discontent and unease with developments after 1871. Throughout we will discuss the continued uncomfortable presence of the French in and French influence on the German imaginary as well as the discomfort that integrating disparate territories within the Empire creates, where natives of one province are strangers in another and where members of ethnic subgroups figure as strangers. We will also examine the new awareness of alien peoples and places beyond continental Europe in the wake of Germany's belated colonialism. Finally we will consider how modern times, figured as strangers and strangeness, obstruct and intrude in the formation and maintenance of conservative imperial culture. Authors treated include Fontane, Thomas Mann, Raabe, Reuter, Storm, Viebig, Wagner, and others. Reading in German, discussion in English.

      Selected Publications

      German Writing, American Reading: Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866-1917. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2012.

      Ed. Enduring Loss in Early Modern Germany: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010. Studies on the experience of and responses to forms of material and spiritual loss in early modern Germany, including how individuals and communities dealt with war, religious reform, bankruptcy, religious marginalization, the death of spouses and children, and the loss of freedom of movement via poetry, diaries, monuments, book collections, singing, painting, reconfiguring space, repeated migrations.

      Ed. Publishing Culture and the “Reading Nation”: German Book History in the Long Nineteenth Century. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010. Essays on facets of German book history in the shadow of 19th-century nation building, including Tatlock's "Afterlife of Nineteenth-Century Popular Fiction and the German Imaginary: The Illustrated Collected Novels of E. Marlitt, W. Heimburg, and E. Werner," which examines the repackaging and enduring reading of popular domestic fiction in Imperial Germany.
        
      Trans. and ed. Meditations on the Incarnation, Suffering, and Dying of Jesus Christ. By Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg. The Other Voice. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2009. Annotated translation, complete with editor's introduction of select religious meditations in prose and poetry by Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg, Germany’s leading 17th-century woman poet; introduction to Greiffenberg’s life, works, historical context and the meaning of her mediations for women’s history and the study of gender.  
       
      Ed., with Matt Erlin. German Culture in Nineteenth-Century America: Reception, Adaptation and Transformation. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2005. Examines cultural transfer from Germany to 19th-century America, with particular emphasis on creative adaptations of German culture for American purposes. This volume includes Tatlock's "Afterlife of Nineteenth-Century Popular Fiction and the German Imaginary: The Illustrated Collected Novels of E. Marlitt, W. Heimburg, and E. Werner," which treats the translation, marketing, and reading of Marlitt's works in 19th-century America.

      Distant Readings: Topologies of German Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

      Distant Readings: Topologies of German Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

      In nineteenth-century Germany, breakthroughs in printing technology and an increasingly literate populace led to an unprecedented print production boom that has long presented scholars with a challenge: how to read it all? This anthology seeks new answers to the scholarly quandary of the abundance of text. Responding to Franco Moretti's call for "distant reading" and modeling a range of innovative approaches to literary-historical analysis informed by the burgeoning field of digital humanities, it asks what happens when we shift our focus from the one to the many, from the work to the network. The thirteen essays in this volume explore the evolving concept of "distant reading" and its application to the analysis of German literature and culture in the long nineteenth century. The contributors consider how new digital technologies enable both the testing of hypotheses and the discovery of patterns and trends, as well as how "distant" and traditional "close" reading can complement each another in hybrid models of analysis that maintain careful attention to detail, but also make calculation, enumeration, and empirical description critical elements of interpretation. Contributors: Kirsten Belgum, Tobias Boes, Matt Erlin, Fotis Jannidis and Gerhard Lauer, Lutz Koepnick, Todd Kontje, Peter M. McIsaac, Katja Mellmann, Nicolas Pethes, Andrew Piper and Mark Algee-Hewitt, Allen Beye Riddell, Lynne Tatlock, Paul A. Youngman and Ted Carmichael. Matt Erlin is Professor of German and Chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and Lynne Tatlock is Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, both at Washington University, St. Louis.

      Publishing Culture and the Reading Nation: German Book History in the Long 19th Century

      Publishing Culture and the Reading Nation: German Book History in the Long 19th Century

      Over the long nineteenth century, German book publishing experienced an unprecedented boom, outstripping by 1910 all other Western nations. Responding to the spread of literacy, publishers found new marketing methods and recalibrated their relationships to authors. Technical innovations made books for a range of budgets possible. Yearbooks, encyclopedias, and boxed sets also multiplied. A renewed interest in connoisseurship meant that books signified taste and affiliation. While reading could be a group activity, the splintering of the publishing industry into niche markets made it seem an ever-more private and individualistic affair, promising variously self-help, information, Bildung, moral edification, and titillation. The essays in this volume examine what Robert Darnton has termed the communications circuit: the life-cycle of the book as a convergence of complex cultural, social, and economic phenomena. In examining facets of the lives of select books from the late 1780s to the early 1930s that Germans actually read, the essays present a complex and nuanced picture of writing, publishing, and reading in the shadow of nation building and class formation, and suggest how the analysis of texts and the study of books can inform one another. Contributors: Jennifer Askey, Ulrich Bach, Kirsten Belgum, Matthew Erlin, Jana Mikota, Mary Paddock, Theodore Rippey, Jeffrey Sammons, Lynne Tatlock, Katrin Voelkner, Karin Wurst.

      German Writing, American Reading: Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866–1917

      German Writing, American Reading: Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866–1917

      In postbellum America, publishers vigorously reprinted books that were foreign in origin, and Americans thus read internationally even at a moment of national consolidation. A subset of Americans’ international reading—nearly 100 original texts, approximately 180 American translations, more than 1,000 editions and reprint editions, and hundreds of thousands of books strong—comprised popular fiction written by German women and translated by American women. German Writing, American Reading: Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866–1917 by Lynne Tatlock examines the genesis and circulation in America of this hybrid product over four decades and beyond. These entertaining novels came to the consumer altered by processes of creative adaptation and acculturation that occurred in the United States as a result of translation, marketing, publication, and widespread reading over forty years. These processes in turn de-centered and disrupted the national while still transferring certain elements of German national culture. Most of all, this mass translation of German fiction by American women trafficked in happy endings that promised American readers that their fondest wishes for adventure, drama, and bliss within domesticity and their hope for the real power of love, virtue, and sentiment could be pleasurably realized in an imagined and quaintly old-fashioned Germany—even if only in the time it took to read a novel.