Jens Elias Klenner

Assistant Professor of German

Teaching this semester

GER 1102. Elementary German II

Jens Klenner
Continuation of German 1101. Equivalent of German 1101 is required.

GER 3399. Narrating Crisis and Catastrophe

Jens Klenner
Studies the ubiquity of images and ideas of crises and catastrophes in modern culture. Natural disasters, accidents, financial collapse, wars, and terror permeate the media; crises legitimize political and legal interventions; catastrophic scenarios are central to disaster films. To be imagined and processed, catastrophes must be narrated. Consequently, different models and functions of such narratives from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland since 1800 are investigated; media and formats examined; social and political dimensions explored; and concepts like trauma, survival, prophecy, testimony, or sovereignty scrutinized. All materials and coursework in German.

Research interests comprise German fiction from 1800 to the present, especially Austrian literature; the history and theory of the novel; 19th and 20th century intellectual history; literature and the environment; and ecocriticism.


  • Ph.D. Comparative Literature, Princeton University
  • Dr. phil. German, Universität Konstanz; Germany
  • M.A. Comparative Literature, Princeton University
  • M.A. American Studies, History, Cultural Studies, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; Germany



“’Land der Berge’? Erhaben Unerhabenes in Frost und Die Kinder der Toten.” In Nestbeschmutzer oder Korrespondenzen jenseits der Hassliebe. Elfriede Jelinek und Thomas Bernhard. Eds. Reinert, Bastian and Clemens Götze. München: De Gruyter. (forthcoming)

“Where the Earth Folded: Celan’s Encounter with Leibniz, August 1959.” New German Critique. (forthcoming)

“»Die Vermieter des Intellekts«: Kopflanger and Handlanger in Brecht and Kafka, (2010).” Journal of the Kafka Society of America. 31/32:1-2 (2007/08): 62-79.

“Ektopia: Skizze einer anatomischen Geographie in Thomas Bernhards Amras.Modern Austrian Literature. 42:1 (2009): 63-84.

“Spontaneous Spaces of Memory: Revisiting our Milieux de Mémoire.” In The Merits of Memory: Concepts, Contexts, Debates. Eds. Hans-Jürgen Grabbe and Sabine Schindler (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2008), 17-34.

Book Reviews

Samuel Frederick. Narratives Unsettled: Digression in Robert Walser, Thomas Bernhard, and Adalbert Stifter. Northwestern UP, 2012. Journal of Austrian Studies 47 (4) 2014. 136-38.

Hermann Broch und die Künste. Eds. Staskova, Alice and Paul Michael Lützeler. DeGruyter, 2009. Journal of Austrian Studies 45:3-4 (2012): 138-40.

akten-kundig? Literatur, Zeitgeschichte und Archiv. Eds. Marcel Atze et al. Wien: prae/sens, 2008. Modern Austrian Literature 43:4 (2010): 104-06.

Michael Billenkamp. Thomas Bernhard: Narrativik und poetologische Praxis. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2008. The German Quarterly 83:3 (2010): 386-87.

Thomas J. Cousineau. Three-Part Inventions: The Novels of Thomas Bernhard. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2008. The German Quarterly 83:2 (2010): 256-58.

Invited Talks & Conference Presentations

Invited Talks

“Kafka in the Office: White-Collar Workers in 20th Century Literature,” San Diego State University, October 3, 2016.

“Viennese Violence: Jelinek’s Die Ausgesperrten, ” Wellesley College, December 4, 2015.

“Mountains Dissolved: Elfriede Jelinek’s Die Kinder der Toten,” Bowdoin College, January 31, 2014.

“Friendship: Analog and Digital,” Panel Discussion, DIGITAL CULTURES, Dept. of North American Studies, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Germany, October 30, 2013.

“Turning the Screw” Grundkurs Literature, Dr. Karin Höpker, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Friedrich-Alexander Universität, Erlangen, December 21, 2010.

“»Vermieter des Intellekts«: Brecht and Kafka,” Twentieth-Century Forum, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, May 6, 2009.

Conference Presentations

“Sleepless in the Office: The Author as Young Manager,” Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Europe Research Colloquium, Bates College, Lewiston, ME, January 28, 2017.

“disasterscape 2.0 – Kathrin Röggla’s Poetics of Crisis,” German Studies Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, September 29 – October 2, 2016.

“Language Comes Back to Roost - Werner Schwab’s Constructive Revenge,” International Comparative Literature Association, Vienna, Austria, July 21–27, 2016.

“disasterscape 2.0 – Kathrin Röggla’s Austro-American Media Translations,” Annual Symposium of the Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association, Vienna, Austria, March 14-17, 2016.

 “’Es hat sich die Erde gefaltet hier oben:’ Celan’s Mountain Poetics,” German Studies Association Annual Conference, Kansas City, MO, September 18-21, 2014.

“Taussig’s Terror,” Terror und Phantastik, conference of the Graduiertenkolleg Das Reale in der Kultur der Moderne in collaboration with the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kunlturwissenschaften IFK Wien, Vienna, Austria, March 24-25, 2011.

“Jelineks barockes Schreiben: Die Kinder der Toten,” Annual Symposium of the Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association, Vienna, Austria, May 22-25, 2010.

“»Denken als Dienstleistung«: von Kopflangern und Handlangern in Brecht und Kafka,” Kafka, Brecht and Labor, special session organized by the Kafka Society of America, 2008 MLA Convention, San Francisco, CA, December 27-30, 2008.

“Ektopia - Narrative Topographies of Displacement in Thomas Bernhard’s Amras,” German Studies Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, October 4–7, 2007.

“Spontaneous Spaces of Memory: Revisiting our Milieux de Mémoire,” The Merits of Memory: Uses and Abuses of a Concept, Universität Halle Wittenberg - Stiftung Leucorea Halle Wittenberg, Germany, June 24–26, 2005.

“Cruising Spaces of Hyperrealism: The Humvee in William Gibson's Pattern Recognition and the Benefits of Literature for Cultural Studies,”Cultural Studies Association (U.S.) Annual Conference, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, May 5–9, 2004.

Panel Responses

“Literature and Ecocriticism,” German Studies Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, September 29 – October 2, 2016.

“Poetics and Politics of Memory,” Panel Respondent, German Studies Association Annual Conference, St. Paul, MN, October 2-5, 2008.