Martina Kolb, Ph.D.

Department: Langs., Lits. & Cultures

Associate Professor of German

Winifred and Gustave Weber Professor in the Humanities

Associate Director of the Honors Program

  • Education
  • PHD, Yale University
  • MPHIL, Yale University
  • MA, Univ of Oregon

Kolb specializes in Germanic and Romance languages and in comparative literature, focusing on the German, Austrian, Italian and Anglo-American contexts. While her concentration is on inter-artistic modernism and the long 20th century, she is as much an interdisciplinary generalist. Having studied, taught, presented and published internationally on all major eras and genres, she has placed her primary emphasis on poetics and aesthetics, psychoanalysis, translation studies, theater studies, crime fiction, prison writing and travel literature.

Currently an academic fellow at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, Kolb is in the process of writing a book on inter-artistic representations of emotion, with a specific interest in exile, war trauma, mourning, and the affective scope of fear, loss and pain. In this context, she has been invited to present on Käthe Kollwitz's interwar printmaking at the University of Minnesota in February 2015 and to participate in the Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism in New York in January 2015.

Her first monograph, Nietzsche, Freud, Benn and the Azure Spell of Liguria—published in 2013 by the University of Toronto Press and reviewed in Choice 51:5 (January 2014) 816 / Review # 51-2444—is a geo-poetic reassessment of multilingual modernism. Kolb traces major itineraries of literary and artistic influence from the Middle Ages to the present, while concentrating on intellectual nomadism, the peripatetic mode of thinking and writing, and the fundamentally poetic relationship of body and mind.

The book includes an extensive discussion of places and vernaculars as foundational for the literary traditions of Europe, focusing in particular on the Romance region of Liguria, where the Alps sweep down dramatically to the Mediterranean coast. There, Nietzsche composed the better part of his major texts, including Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Nietzsche, Freud, Benn and the Azure Spell of Liguria reads Freud and Benn´s post-Nietzschean commitment to poetic expression as cathartic self-liberation, while presenting discussions of translation and Kolb´s translations of German and Romance texts, including the first published English translation of a piece by Benn.

Her recent work includes the following publications and presentations:

"Who's Afraid of Christa Wolf, or The Overcoat of Dr. Freud: Memory and Its Discontents" (forthcoming)

"Immerhin Brecht: Literacy and Theatricality in Das Leben der Anderen" (Oxford German Studies 43:3 (September 2014) 314-333)

"Goethe's Citrus, Nietzsche's Figs, and Benn's Olive: Poetic Reverie, Erotic Fantasy, and Botanic Agency" (Monatshefte 106:2 (Summer 2014) 171-199)

"Bertolt Brecht - Homme du Monde: Exile, Verfremdung and Weltliteratur" (German Literature as World Literature, ed. Th. Beebee (Bloomsbury 2014) 101-114)

"Scenes of Mourning: Ethos and Pathos in Freud and Kollwitz" (GSA Seminar Kansas City September 2014: War Trauma and its Consequences in the 20th Century)

"The Drama of Affect: Hysterics, Histrionics, and Hypochondriacs" (American Psychoanalytic Association Chicago June 2014)

"The Mignon Complex: Variations on a Lyrical Theme" (with Jennifer Trost, NeMLA Harrisburg April 2014)

Veronika Fuechtner, Berlin Psychoanalytic: Psychoanalysis and Culture in Weimar Republic Germany and Beyond, University of California Press 2011 (German Quarterly 86:2 (2013) 228-229: Review M. Kolb)

Kolb is the recipient of various grants and awards, including a fellowship with the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York, a Suhrkamp Fellowship at the German Literature Archives in Marbach, a Miller Visiting Fellowship in exile studies at the University of London, a teaching ethics fellowship and a residency at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State, postdoctoral fellowships at the Universities of Konstanz and Bologna, Beinecke Research Fellowships and a graduate fellowship at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale, as well as a Mrs. Giles Whiting Dissertation Fellowship.

Kolb has taught language, literature, art, culture and core humanities at Tübingen (Germany), Oregon, Yale, Konstanz (Germany), Bilkent/Ankara (Turkey), Penn State and Susquehanna.

Courses taught:

  • ENGL-250 World Literature
  • GERM-101 Beginning German I
  • GERM-102 Beginning German II
  • GERM-201 Intermediate German I
  • GERM-202 Intermediate German II
  • GERM-302 Adv. German Grammar & Written Expression
  • GERM-310 Topics in German Studies
  • GERM-460 Seminar in German Studies
  • GERM-542 Independent Study
  • GERM-599 Senior Language Proficiency Evaluation
  • HONS-290 Sophomore Essay/Project/Presentation
  • ITAL-202 Intermediate Italian II
  • ITAL-310 Italian Literature, Culture, Film
  • ITAL-460 Seminar in Italian Lit, Culture, Film
  • ITAL-599 Senior Language Proficiency Evaluation
  • LANG-503 Classroom Assistant
  • OFFP-ITALART The Arts of Italy
  • OFFS-ITALART The Arts of Italy
  • PHIL-235 Aesthetics