• Nicholas Rennie
  • Nicholas Rennie
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Associate Professor
  • Degree: Ph.D., Yale University
  • Office: 15 Seminary Place, Room 4124
  • Campus: College Avenue Campus
  • Office Hours:

    By appointment

  • Zoom Link for Office Hours:




Research Interests:

Literature of the Enlightenment and the Age of Goethe; modern aesthetics and intellectual history; the Frankfurt School; literary theory; German language.


  • Rutgers University, Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching, May 2020
  • Rutgers University, Humanities Plus Pedagogical Innovation Grant, March 2019
  • Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education, in the category of Associate Professor, May 2007 and May 2018 
  • Rutgers University Undergraduate Academic Affairs award for "outstanding generosity and commitment to the education of our students," February 2018
  • Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (2002-2003, 2007-2008)



*Currently working on a book project entitled Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and the Eighteenth-Century Reinvention of Memory.


Articles (selected):

  • "Play with Memory and Its Topoi: Faust." In Play in the Age of Goethe: Theories, Narratives, and Practices of Play around 1800, edited by Edgar Landgraf and Elliot Schreiber. New Studies in the Age of Goethe. Lewisburg [Pennsylvania]: Bucknell UP, 2020, 93-114.
  • "Memory in Eighteenth-Century German Writing," The German Quarterly 93:2 (Spring 2020) 258-261.
  • “Gangarten der Aufklärung: Lessing.” In: “Spazieren muß ich unbedingt”: Robert Walser und die Kultur des Gehens, edited by Reto Sorg and Annie Pfeifer, Robert Walser-Studien. Munich: Fink, 2019.
  • “Lessing’s ‚Lethotechnics‘: Memory and Perspective in the Laokoon,” Lessing Yearbook/Jahrbuch 42 (2015) 103-124. 
  • “Höllenrachen: Performativität und Sichtbarwerden des Endes in Molières Don Juan oder Der steinerne Gast und Goethes Faust” [“Hell’s Maw: Performativity and Becoming-Visible of the End in Molière’s Don Juan or the Stone Guest and Goethe’s Faust”], book chapter in: Finis. Paradoxien des Endens [Finis: Paradoxes of Ending], ed. Burkhardt Lindner and Peter Brandes (Würzburg, Germany: Königshausen & Neumann, 2009) 17-33.
  • “Hier wird’s Eräugnis: Performativität und Ende in Goethes Faust” [“Here All Is Made Visible: Performativity and End in Goethe’s Faust”], book chapter in: Geistiger Handelsverkehr: Komparatistische Aspekte der Goethezeit [Intellectual Exchanges: Comparative Aspects of the Age of Goethe], ed. Anne Bohnenkamp and Matías Martínez (Göttingen, Germany: Wallstein, 2008) 395-410.
  • “Cock and Bull Cosmologies: Reading the Post-Enlightenment Universe,” Writers Reading Writers: Intertextual Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Literature in Honor of Robert Hollander, ed. Janet Levarie Smarr (Crankbury, N.J.: University of Delaware Press, 2007) 225-245.
  • “‘Schilderungssucht’ and ‘historische Krankheit’: Lessing, Nietzsche, and the Body Historical,” The German Quarterly 74:2 (Spring 2001) 186-196.
  • “Between Pascal and Mallarmé: Faust’s Speculative Moment,” Comparative Literature: Journal of the American Comparative Literature Association 52:4 (Fall 2000) 269-290; a modified version of this article appears in the book collection Goethe, Chaos, and Complexity, ed. Herbert Rowland (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001) 117-33.
  • “Laokoon,” article for Encyclopedia of German Literature, vol. 2 (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers: Chicago, 2000), 646-647.
  • “Ut Pictura Historia: Goethe’s Historical Imagination and the Augenblick,” Goethe Yearbook 8 (1996) 120-41.
  • “Benjamin and Zola: Narrative, the Individual, and Crowds in an Age of Mass Production,” Comparative Literature Studies 33:4 (1996) 396-413. 


Recent Courses Taught at Rutgers:


  • Goethe's Faust and the Fracturing of Tradition (combined graduate-undergraduate seminar cross-listed with Comparative Literature) 
    Spring 2020
  • The Frankfurt School and its Writers (graduate; cross-listed with Comparative Literature)
    Fall 2020, Spring 2004, Fall 2006, Fall 2008, Fall 2011, Fall 2015, Fall 2018
  • Lessing and the Reinvention of German Literature (graduate, taught in German)
    Fall 2013
  • Forbidding Images: Picture and Word from Lessing to Adorno (graduate; cross-listed with Comparative Literature)
    Spring 2003, Fall 2012



  • Marx, Nietzsche, Freud (undergraduate, cross-listed with Comparative Literature) 
    Spring 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Fall 2020
  • Big Bang: The Literature of Chaos and Order (undergraduate; cross-listed with Comparative Literature) 
    Fall 2004, Fall 2006, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2016, Fall 2020
  • German Theater (undergraduate, taught in German) 
    Fall 2005, Fall 2009, Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2017
  • Wise Fools (undergraduate, Rutgers College General Honors Program) 
    Spring 1999, Spring 2003, Spring 2005, Spring 2012, Fall 2017
  • Faust's Bargain with the Devil: Knowing It All, Losing It all (Byrne freshman seminar) 
    Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Fall 2017
  • Bargaining with the Devil (undergraduate, cross-listed with Comparative Literature) 
    Spring 2006, Fall 2010, Fall 2013
  • Faust and his Transformations: from Page to Stage to Big Screen (Byrne freshman seminar) 
    Fall 2011