Liliane Weissberg

a photograph of this individual
Ph.D., Harvard University
Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor in the School of Arts & Sciences
Professor of German and Comparative Literature
Areas of Interest: 
18th - early 20th century literature, comparative literature, aesthetic theory, German-Jewish writing
Contact Information
Office Address: 
747 Williams Hall
(215) 898-7332 or (215) 898-3343
Email Address:
Office Hours: 
Thursdays 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Liliane Weissberg is Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor in Arts and Sciences and Professor of German and Comparative Literature. She is also a member of the Jewish Studies Program, the Art History Graduate Group, the English Graduate Group, the Program in Visual Studies, the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, and the Graduate Group in Religious Studies. Weissberg's interests focus on late eighteenth-century to early twentieth-century German literature and philosophy. Much of her work has concentrated on German, European, and American Romanticism, but she has also written on the notion of representation in realism, on photography, and on literary and feminist theory.

Among her book publications are a critical edition of Hannah Arendt's Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess (1997), Cultural Memory and the Construction of Identity (with Dan Ben-Amos, 1999), Romancing the Shadow: Poe and Race (with J. Gerald Kennedy, 2001), Hannah Arendt, Charlie Chaplin und die verborgene jüdische Tradition (2009), Affinität wider Willen? Hannah Arendt, Theodor W. Adorno und die Frankfurter Schule (2011), Über Haschisch und Kabbalah: Gershom Scholem, Siegfried Unseld und das Werk von Walter Benjamin (2012), and Writing with Photography (with Karen Beckman, 2013). Weissberg has also curated and co-curated art exhibitions, and contributed to various exhibition catalogues. Most recently, she curated the exhibition Juden. Geld. Eine Vorstellung (2012-13) at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, and is the editor of its accompanying catalogue.

Weissberg's courses have included seminars on contemporary German women's literature, on turn of the century Vienna, on the Enlightenment, on realism, and on literary theory, for example: GRMN 580 "Walter Benjamin,” GRMN 540 "Memory, Trauma, Culture," GRMN 253 Freud: The Invention of Psychoanalysis,” GRMN237 Berlin: History, Politics, Culture,” and GRMN 242 "Ghosts, Spirits, and Machines.”

Read all about, and listen to, Prof. Weissberg's introductory lecture for the Franz-Rosenzweig-Professur (2012) at the University of Kassel.

Listen to Prof. Weissberg's talk "Political Philosophy's Need for Literature" from the conference "Hannah Arendt and the Humanities: On the Relevance of Her Work Beyond the Realm of Politics" (Stanford, 2010).

Listen to Prof. Weissberg discuss Johann Gottfried Herder ("Lehrer, Prediger, Schriftsteller" on Bayerische Rundfunk's radioWissen. (2010).

Check out video from Prof. Weissberg's talk (among others) from the recent symposium "A Continuing Conversation: Moses Mendelssohn and the Legacy of the Enlightenment," held by the Center for Jewish History, NYC (2011).

Watch Prof. Weissberg's Sixty Second Lecture at Penn (from YouTube, 2005).

Listen to Prof. Weissberg discuss her exhibit "Juden. Geld. Eine Vorstellung" at the Jüdisches Museum in Frankfurt am Main with various German and American news outlets: 

Radio Interview with BR Bayern 2 "KulturWelt"


Penn's School of Arts and Sciences magazine "Frontiers"


Curriculum Vitæ: