Paul J. Buchholz, PhD

Assistant Professor of German Studies

German Studies

Office Hours: Mon. 12:00 - 13:00, Wed. 16:00 - 17:00 & by appointment

Office: 326 Modern Languages Building

Phone: (404) 727-6458


Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Emory University

532 Kilgo Circle
Modern Languages Building 326

Atlanta, Georgia 30322


  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 2010
  • M.A., Cornell University, 2009
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin, 2005


Teaching Fields: Twentieth and twenty-first century German prose, Austrian literature, narrative form, social theory, literature and politics of environmental crisis

Paul Buchholz began his studies in German literature at the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee and Madison). He received his Ph.D. in German Studies from Cornell University in 2010, focusing on literary theory and the history of the German novel. After holding the postdoctoral position of Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow at New York University in 2010-11, he worked as an Assistant Professor in the German Departments at Scripps College (2011-15) and the University of California-Berkeley (2015-16). His research was recognized with the Mary W. Johnson Faculty Achievement Award at Scripps College in 2015, and he has received two grants for study and research from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).

Buchholz’ research focuses on German-language prose of the twentieth and twenty-first century, with a special emphasis on Austrian experimental fiction. He is particularly interested in how the experiments with narrative form can complicate commonplace ideas of human community, such as the nuclear family, the nation-state, and humanity as a ‘planetary’ community in the age of transnational ecological crisis. His first book, Private Anarchy: Monologue and Impossible Community in German Experimental Fiction, will be published in Spring 2018 by Northwestern University Press. Private Anarchy reconstructs a subversive philosophy of community that emerged within a tradition of German-language experimental fiction of the long twentieth century, including Gustav Landauer (1870-1919), Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989), and Wolfgang Hilbig (1941-2007). These authors creatively appropriated and adapted models of nihilist monologue, or ‘verbal nihilism,’ developed in the nineteenth century by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Dostoevsky. In such experimental fiction, nihilist monologue becomes a medium for imagining an an anarchic form of community, which does not depend on ideas of organic unity or shared tradition. Anarchic community arises through a transgression of narrated reality, as an instance of metalepsis (the narrative device commonly known as ‘breaking the fourth wall’). 

Buchholz’ next book project, tentatively titled Communities of Desolation, will explore how threats of environmental degradation and destruction created new images of transnational human collectivity in German-language and Central European literature after 1968. In parallel to these two book projects, Buchholz has published a range of articles on twentieth and twenty-first century German prose in The Journal of Austrian StudiesTRANSIT,Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies YearbookThe Thomas Bernhard Yearbook, and has contributed to the forthcoming Companion to Robert Walser (Northwestern University Press, 2017).

Prof. Buchholz enjoys teaching language and literature because these courses offer a chance to encounter cultural artifacts and texts that challenge our accepted ways of describing the world, and allow us to experiment with new ideas of self and society. He has worked extensively in developing undergraduate curriculum that underscores the relevance of German Studies for university students in the twenty-first century. In the past, he has taught German language and literature courses focusing on political protest, gender politics, family and domesticity, modern ecological thought, and theories of political community.



Private Anarchy: Impossible Community and the Outsider’s Monologue in German Experimental Fiction. Forthcoming Spring 2018 from Northwestern University Press.


“Bordering on Names: Strategies of Mapping in the Prose of Terézia Mora and Peter Handke.” TRANSIT 7(1) (Spring 2011) (peer-reviewed).

“Konstellationen der Klischeevorstellungen. Zur politischen Thematik in Thomas Bernhards frühen Leichtlebig-Fragmenten.” Thomas Bernhard Jahrbuch 2009/2010 (Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2011), 125-135 

Introduction for special issue Satire and Polemic in Austrian LiteratureJournal of Austrian Studies 46:1 (2013): xxiii-xxiv.

“Anarchic Affinities in Thomas Bernhard’s Fiction of 1978: JaDer Stimmenimitator, and the Specter of Ingeborg Bachmann.” Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook 13 (2014): 87-110 (peer-reviewed).

“Planetary Alienation: Negation of the Whole Earth in 1970s Austrian Prose.” Austrian Studies 48:4 (2016), 27-52 (peer-reviewed).

“Eco-Romanticism: Terezia Mora’s Der einzige Mann auf dem Kontinent and the Re-reading of Marlen Haushofer’s Die Wand.” Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook 14 (2015): 147-169 (peer-reviewed).

“Out of a Job: Giving Notice in The Tanners and The Assistant.” Forthcoming in A Companion to Robert Walser (Northwestern University Press, 2018) (peer-reviewed).