Sean Ireton

Education: 

Ph.D., 1998, University of Washington

Research Interests: 

My research interests generally encompass the intersections between philosophy and literature from the late eighteenth through the twentieth century. My specific focus lately has been in the interdisciplinary realm of ecocriticism, where I have been dealing with German, American, and Scandinavian writers, philosophers, and naturalists. My current book project examines conceptions of nature in Fichte, Hölderlin, Stifter, Heidegger, and Hans Jonas within the broader parameters of anthropocentrism and biocentrism. It also incorporates the ecological theories of pivotal figures like Ernst Haeckel, Aldo Leopold, and Arne Næss.

Frequently Taught Courses: 

Some of the courses that I have taught include:

  • Nature Philosophy and Environmental Literature in a Global Context
  • Conceptions of Nature from German Idealism to the Greens
  • Realism, Naturalism, and Modernism: Prose from Stifter to Kafka
  • Geschichte und Geschichten: German History through Literature
  • Death in German Literature and Philosophy
  • German Nobel Prize-Winners
  • German Existentialism
  • Nietzsche
Recent Publications: 

Books

An Ontological Study of Death: From Hegel to Heidegger. (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2007). 326 pp. (Examines interpretations of death by Hegel, Hölderlin, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Heidegger. Also incorporates the ideas of several modern French philosophers, including Kojève, Sartre, and Foucault. Further places these literary and philosophical views within the socio-medical context of contemporary thanatology.)


Edited journals/volumes

Literatur für Leser 37.2 (2014), special issue on "Verschmutzung/Pollution."

Heights of Reflection: Mountains in the German Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century. Co-edited with Caroline Schaumann. Rochester: Camden House, 2012.


Articles / Book Chapters

"Heidegger's Black Forest Provincialism in the Cultural Context of German Anti-Urbanism" In Transnational Modernism and Urban Conflict in the Interwar Era. Ed. Christopher Lupke and Julia White. New York: Routledge. Forthcoming.

“Adalbert Stifter and the Gentle Anthropocene.” In Readings in the Anthropocene: The Environmental Humanities, German Studies, and Beyond. Ed. Sabine Wilke and Japhet Johnstone. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017. 195-221.

“National Invective and Environmental Exploitation in Thomas Bernhard’s Frost.” In German Ecocriticism in the Anthropocene. Ed. Caroline Schaumann and Heather Sullivan. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 205-27.

“Introductory Essay: Purity and Pollution –– German Texts, American Contexts.” Literatur für Leser 37.2 (2014): 77-82.

“Hölderlin’s Philosophy of Nature in Hyperion: Monism, Pantheism, and Proto-Ecology.” Literatur für Leser 35.3 (2012): 127-45. Special issue on Nature and Culture.

"The Meaning of Mountains: Geology, History, Culture." (Cowritten with Caroline Schaumann.) In Heights of Reflection: Mountains in the German Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Sean Ireton and Caroline Schaumann. Rochester: Camden House, 2012. 1-19.

“Geology, Mountaineering, and Self-Formation in Adalbert Stifter’s Der Nachsommer.” In Heights of Reflection: Mountains in the German Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Sean Ireton and Caroline Schaumann. Rochester: Camden House, 2012. 193-209.

"Between Dirty and Disruptive Nature: Adalbert Stifter in the Context of Nineteenth-Century American Environmental Literature." Colloquia Germanica: Internationale Zeitschrift für Germanistik. 44.2 (2011): 149-71. Special Issue on Dirty Nature.

“Nature as Therapy: Case Studies from Austria (Adalbert Stifter) and North America (Doug Peacock).” Pacific Coast Philology 46.2 (2011): 122-38. Special Issue on Literature, Culture, and the Environment.

“Lines and Crimes of Demarcation: Mathematizing Nature in Heidegger, Pynchon, and Kehlmann.” Comparative Literature 63.2 (2011): 142-60.

“Walden in the Bohemian Forest: Adalbert Stifter’s Transcendental Ecocentrism in Der Hochwald.” Modern Austrian Literature 43.3 (2010): 1-18.

“‘Ich bin ein Wanderer und ein Bergsteiger’ –– Nietzsche and Zarathustra in the Mountains.” Colloquia Germanica: Internationale Zeitschrift für Germanistik 42 (2009): 193-212. Special Issue on Mountains in the German Cultural Imagination.

“Between Autobiography and Fiction: Thomas Mann’s Die Entstehung des Doktor Faustus: Roman eines Romans.” Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 44 (2008): 210-25.

“Wunden/Wunder: On the Romantic Function of Blood and Wounds in the Later Brentano.” German Studies Review 30 (2007): 597-610.

“Die Aufzeichnung der Memoria in Thomas Manns Buddenbrooks und Der Erwählte.” The German Quarterly 76 (2003): 183-94.

“The Problem of Language in Nietzsche’s Ueber Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinne and Fontane’s Der Stechlin.” Colloquia Germanica: Internationale Zeitschrift für Germanistik 35 (2002): 239-61.

“Heinrich Manns Auseinandersetzung mit dem Haß: Eine Analyse der Henri Quatre-Romane im Rahmen der exilbedingten Haßliteratur.” Orbis litterarum: International Review of Literary Studies 57 (2002): 204-21.

“Brechts ‘Zertrümmerung’ von Heidegger: Das Badener Lehrstück vom Einverständnis als mögliche Kritik an Sein und Zeit.” Das Brecht-Jahrbuch / The Brecht Yearbook 24 (1999): 293-309.

“Die Transformation zweier Gregors: Thomas Manns Der Erwählte und Kafkas Die Verwandlung.” Monatshefte für deutschen Unterricht, deutsche Sprache und Literatur 90 (1998): 34-48.

“Heidegger’s Ontological Analysis of Death and Its Prefiguration in Nietzsche.” Nietzsche-Studien 26 (1997): 405-20.