Geoffrey Hartman

Last updated
Geoffrey Hartman
Geoffrey H. Hartmann [1]

(1929-08-11)August 11, 1929
Frankfurt, Germany
DiedMarch 14, 2016(2016-03-14) (aged 86)
Education Queens College, CUNY
Yale University
OccupationLiterary critic
Known for Yale school, Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies

Geoffrey H. Hartman (August 11, 1929 – March 14, 2016) was a German-born [2] American literary theorist, sometimes identified with the Yale School of deconstruction, although he cannot be categorised by a single school or method. Hartman spent most of his career in the comparative literature department at Yale University, where he also founded the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies.



Geoffrey H. Hartmann was born in Frankfurt am Main in Germany, in an Ashkenazi Jewish family. [1] In 1939 he left Germany for England as an unaccompanied Kindertransport child refugee, sent away by his family to escape the Nazi regime. He came to the United States in 1946, where he was reunited with his mother, and later became an American citizen. Upon arrival in the US, his mother changed the family surname to "Hartman" to obscure its Germanic origin. [1]

Hartman attended Queens College, City University of New York and received his PhD from Yale. After appointments at the University of Iowa and Cornell in the 1950s, Hartman returned to Yale and was eventually made Sterling Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Yale University. One of his long-term interests was the English poet William Wordsworth.

His work explores the nature of the creative imagination, as well as the interrelationship of literature and literary commentary. [1] [3] He helped found the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale's Sterling Memorial Library, and lectured on issues dealing with the production and implications of testimony.


See also

Related Research Articles

Paul de Man, born Paul Adolph Michel Deman, was a Belgian-born literary critic and literary theorist. At the time of his death, de Man was one of the most prominent literary critics in the United States—known particularly for his importation of German and French philosophical approaches into Anglo-American literary studies and critical theory. Along with Jacques Derrida, he was part of an influential critical movement that went beyond traditional interpretation of literary texts to reflect on the epistemological difficulties inherent in any textual, literary, or critical activity. This approach aroused considerable opposition, which de Man attributed to "resistance" inherent in the difficult enterprise of literary interpretation itself.

The Yale school is a colloquial name for an influential group of literary critics, theorists, and philosophers of literature that were influenced by Jacques Derrida's philosophy of deconstruction. Many of the theorists were affiliated with Yale University in the late 1970s, although a number of the theorists – including Derrida himself – subsequently moved to or became affiliated with the University of California at Irvine.

Comparative literature Academic discipline comparing literature across cultures

Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the study of literature and cultural expression across linguistic, national, geographic, and disciplinary boundaries. Comparative literature "performs a role similar to that of the study of international relations, but works with languages and artistic traditions, so as to understand cultures 'from the inside'". While most frequently practiced with works of different languages, comparative literature may also be performed on works of the same language if the works originate from different nations or cultures among which that language is spoken.

J. Hillis Miller

Joseph Hillis Miller Jr. is an American literary critic who has been heavily influenced by—and who has heavily influenced—deconstruction.

René Wellek was a Czech-American comparative literary critic. Like Erich Auerbach, Wellek was an eminent product of the Central European philological tradition and was known as a vastly erudite and "fair-minded critic of critics."

Sterling Memorial Library

Sterling Memorial Library (SML) is the main library building of the Yale University Library system in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Opened in 1931, the library was designed by James Gamble Rogers as the centerpiece of Yale's Gothic Revival campus. The library's tower has sixteen levels of bookstacks containing over 4 million volumes. Several special collections—including the university's Manuscripts & Archives—are also housed in the building. It connects via tunnel to the underground Bass Library, which holds an additional 150,000 volumes.

<i>Leatherstocking Tales</i>

The Leatherstocking Tales is a series of five novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper, set in the eighteenth century era of development in the primarily former Iroquois areas in central New York. Each novel features Natty Bumppo, a frontiersman known to European-American settlers as "Leatherstocking", "The Pathfinder", and "the trapper". Native Americans call him "Deerslayer", "La Longue Carabine", and "Hawkeye".

Sir Christopher Bruce Ricks is a British literary critic and scholar. He is the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University (US), co-director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, and was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford (UK) from 2004 to 2009. He is the immediate past-president of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. He is known as a champion of Victorian poetry; an enthusiast of Bob Dylan, whose lyrics he has analysed at book length; a trenchant reviewer of writers he considers pretentious ; and a warm reviewer of those he thinks humane or humorous. Hugh Kenner praised his "intent eloquence", and Geoffrey Hill his "unrivalled critical intelligence". W. H. Auden described Ricks as "exactly the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding". John Carey calls him the "greatest living critic".

The Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism is awarded for literary criticism by the University of Iowa on behalf of the Truman Capote Literary Trust. The value of the award is $30,000 (USD), and is said to be the largest annual cash prize for literary criticism in the English language. The formal name of the prize is the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin, commemorating both Capote and his friend Newton Arvin, who was a distinguished critic and Smith College professor until he lost his job in 1960 after his homosexuality was publicly exposed.

Shoshana Felman is an American literary critic and current Woodruff Professor of Comparative Literature and French at Emory University. She was on the faculty of Yale University from 1970 to 2004, where in 1986 she was awarded the Thomas E. Donnelly Professorship of French and Comparative Literature. She specializes in 19th and 20th century French literature, psychoanalysis, trauma and testimony, and law and literature. Felman earned her Ph.D. at the University of Grenoble in France in 1970.

David Bromwich is Sterling Professor of English at Yale University.

Imre Salusinszky is an Australian journalist, political adviser and English literature academic who is media adviser to Australian Government Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher.

The Lucy poems Five poems written by William Wordsworth

The Lucy poems are a series of five poems composed by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770–1850) between 1798 and 1801. All but one were first published during 1800 in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, a collaboration between Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge that was both Wordsworth's first major publication and a milestone in the early English Romantic movement. In the series, Wordsworth sought to write unaffected English verse infused with abstract ideals of beauty, nature, love, longing and death.

The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies is a collection of recorded interviews with witnesses and survivors of The Holocaust, located at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Approximately 4,400 videotaped interviews are deposited with the Yale University Library and housed in Sterling Memorial Library.

Victor Henri Brombert is an American scholar of nineteenth and twentieth century literature, the Henry Putnam University Professor at Princeton University.

<i>Criticism in the Wilderness</i>

Criticism in the Wilderness: The Study of Literature Today is a 1980 book by literary critic Geoffrey Hartman. In the book, Hartman argues for literary criticism to be taken as seriously as a form of creative literature in its own right, and he discusses the difficulties that literature professors face in the contemporary American university.

Annabel M. Patterson is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of English at Yale University.

Dori Laub

Dori Laub was an Israeli-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, a clinical professor in Yale University’s Department of Psychiatry, an expert in the area of testimony methodology, and a trauma researcher. A Holocaust survivor himself, Laub co-founded the Holocaust Survivors Film Project with Laurel Vlock.

Benjamin Harshav

Benjamin Harshav, born Hrushovski ; June 26, 1928 – April 23, 2015 was a literary theorist specialising in comparative literature, a Yiddish and Hebrew poet, and an Israeli translator and editor. He served as professor of literature at the University of Tel Aviv and as a professor of comparative literature, Hebrew language and literature, and Slavic languages and literature at Yale University. He was the founding editor of the Duke University Press publication Poetics Today. He received the EMET Prize for Art, Science and Culture in 2005 and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Fox, Margalit (20 March 2016). "Geoffrey H. Hartman, Scholar Who Saw Literary Criticism as Art, Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  2. Balint, Benjamin (May 22, 2008). "From Frankfurt to New Haven". The Forward .
  3. "Geoffrey H. Hartman." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2016. Retrieved via Biography in Context database, 17 October 2016.