• Michael Levine
  • Michael Levine
  • Department Chair
  • Professor
  • Degree: Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University
  • Office: 15 Seminary Place, Room 4127
  • Campus: College Avenue Campus
  • Office Hours:

    Wednesdays, 2:00pm - 3:30pm, and by appointment

  • Zoom Link for Office Hours:




Research Interests:

19th and 20th century German literature, literary theory, and intellectual history.

His research focuses on four major areas: intersections among literary, philosophical and psychoanalytic discourses; Holocaust Studies and the poetics of witnessing; the changing structure of the literary, philosophical, and operatic work in the German nineteenth century; and the legal and political legacies of Nuremberg.


Rutgers School of Graduate Studies Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring, 2020

Camargo Foundation Fellowship, Fall 2011

2010 SAS Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching (Associate Professor category)



  • Interventionen: Die Dichtung Paul Celans
    Author: Michael Levine Klosterman, 2022. Michael Levine's Interventionen takes as its point of departure critical moments in the life and work of Paul Celan: the birth and death of his first-born son François in 1953; the traumatic structure of Georg Büchner's work around which the 1960 Meridian address turns; the poems addressed in 1968 to his second son Eric composed at a time of personal and political crisis during which the poet saw himself compelled to choose between his child and his...
  • Atomzertrümmerung
    Author: Michael Levine Atomzertrümmerung: Zu einem Gedicht von Paul Celan, Turia + Kant, forthcoming Spring 2018. Benjamin sprach im Passagen-Werk von einer »Methode der Atomzertrümmerung«, die diejenigen »ungeheuren Kräfte der Geschichte« freizulegen vermag, welche im »›Es war einmal‹ der klassischen Historie« neutralisiert werden sollen. Michael G. Levine überträgt diese Methode auf ein Gedicht von Paul Celan, »Die Silbe Schmerz«, und er zeigt, wie die ungeheuren Kräfte der Geschichte sich...
  • A Weak Messianic Power
    Author: Michael Levine A Weak Messianic Power: Figures of a Time to Come in Benjamin, Derrida and Celan, Fordham University Press, 2013. In his famous theses on the philosophy of history, Benjamin writes: “We have been endowed with a weak messianic power to which the past has a claim.” This claim addresses us not just from the past but from what will have belonged to it only as a missed possibility and unrealized potential. For Benajmin, as for Celan and Derrida, what has never been actualized...
  • The Belated Witness
    Author: Michael Levine The Belated Witness: Literature, Testimony, and the Question of Holocaust Survival, Stanford University Press, 2006. The Belated Witness stakes out an original place within the field of recent work on the theory and practice of literary writing after the Holocaust. Drawing in productive and unsettling ways from converging work in history, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literature, the book asks how the events of the Holocaust force us to alter traditional conceptions...
  • Writing Through Repression
    Author: Michael Levine Writing Through Repression: Literature, Censorship, Psychoanalysis, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994 What does it mean to treat a dream as a censored text? Why does Freud turn to the realm of politics when attempting to describe dreams and the forces that shape them? What happens to the concept of censorship when it enters Freudian discourse? Is its political significance lost in translation or does Freud's borrowing somehow render enigmatic what we thought we...


Edited Volume:

Levine CLSCo-editor with Bella Brodzki of Comparative Literature Studies Special Issue: Trials of Trauma: Comparative and Global Perspectives, vol. 48, no. 3, 2011 (Penn State Press).






Samuel Weber, Return to Freud: Jacques Lacan's Dislocation of Psychoanalysis, Cambridge University Press, 1991. Translation of Rückkehr zu Freud: Jacques Lacans Ent-stellung der Psychoanlyse (Berlin: Ullstein, 1978)

Articles (selected):

"L'expérience de l'impossible"  - Daedalus

"Die Erfahrung des Unmöglichen. Derrida: Qu'est-ce qu'une traduction 'relevante'" - Daedalus

“Poetry’s Demands and Abrahamic Sacrifice: Celan’s Poems for Eric,” MLN Comparative Literature 126 (2011): 1014–1048 (The Johns Hopkins University Press)

Editors’ Introduction to Comparative Literature Studies Special Issue Trials of Trauma: Comparative and Global Perspectives, co-edited with Bella Brodzki,, vol. 48, no. 3, 2011, 273-9 (Penn State Press)

“The Day the Sun Stood Still: Benjamin’s Theses, Trauma and the Eichmann Trial,” MLN German Issue, 126 (2011): 534–560 (The Johns Hopkins University Press)

“Beyond Victim and Perpetrator: New Subject Positions in Recent German-Jewish Films,” William Donahue and Martha Helfer, eds., Nexus: Essays in German Jewish Studies, 2011, 227-50, Camden House Press

“Spectral Gatherings: Derrida, Celan and the Covenant of the Word,” Diacritics, double issue on “Derrida and Democracy,” 38.1-2: Spring-Summer 2008, 64-91

“’A Place So Insanely Enchanting’: Kafka and the Poetics of Suspension,” MLN Comparative LiteratureIssue, 2009 (123:5), 1029-1067

“The Sense of an Unding: Kafka, Ovid, and the Misfits of Metamorphosis,” in Harold Bloom, ed., Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Bloom’s Literary Criticism, NY 2008,

“A Coming Freedom: Kafka’s Investigations of a Dog,” Journal of the Kafka Society of America, June/December 2006, Numbers 1-2, 43-51

“Pendant: Büchner, Celan and the Terrible Voice of the Meridian” MLN German Issue, vol. 122, no. 3, German Issue, 2007, 573-601

“Silent Wine: Celan and the Poetics of Belatedness,” in New German Critique, Special Issue on Paul Celan, no. 91, Winter 2004, 151-170

“’Toward an Addressable You’: Ozick’s The Shawl and the Mouth of the Witness” in Marianne Hirsch and Irene Kacandes, eds., Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust, The Modern Language Association of America, 2004, 396-411

"Necessary Stains: Art Spiegelman’s Maus and the Bleeding of History” in Deborah Geis, ed., Considering Maus: Approaches to Art Spiegelman’s “Survivor’s Tale” of the Holocaust, University of Alabama Press, 2003, 63-104

"Writing Anxiety: Christa Wolf's Kindheitsmuster," Diacritics, Summer 1997, vol. 27, no. 2, 106-123

"Freud and the Scene of Censorship" in The Administration of Aesthetics: Censorship, Political Criticism, and the Public Sphere, Richard Burt, ed., University of Minnesota Press, 1994, 168-191

"Accentuating Ent-stellung," translator's introduction to Samuel Weber, Return to Freud, Cambridge University Press, 1991, xv-xxii

"Heines Ghost Writer: Zum Problem der Selbstzensur in Schnabelewopski," Heine Jahrbuch, 1987, 9-28

Recent Courses Taught at Rutgers:


Afterimages of War: Trials, Trauma and Visual Representation (Fall 2013)
Introduction to Trauma Studies (Spring 2013)
Politics and Poetics of Citation (Spring 2012)
Kafka (Fall 2011)
Analytic Crossings: Literature and Psychoanalysis (Fall 2009)


Serious Comics (Byrne Seminar, Spring 2013)
Atrocity Crimes (Honors Seminar, Fall 2012)
Introduction to German Studies (Fall 2012, Spring 2010)
Introduction to Literary Theory (Fall 2011, Fall 2009)