University of Calgary

Martin Wagner

  • Director - LRC
  • Associate Professor

Office Hours

or by appointment Winter 2018
or by appointment Winter 2018


Martin Wagner received his Ph.D. in German literature from Yale University in 2014 and subsequently taught comparative literature at Yonsei University, Underwood International College. In his research and teaching, Martin focuses on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European literature as well as on German intellectual history. He is especially interested in the intersections between literary writing and various specialized discourses of politics, philosophy, and the sciences.

In his first book project The Narratology of Observation: Studies in a Technique of European Literary Realism, Martin shows how writers from the early Enlightenment to the eve of modernism worked to develop a literary means of representing the world in the full visual complexity in which it appeared to contemporaneous scientific observers.

In his new project, he studies literary attempts to represent, complicate, and expand on a form of individual freedom that emerges between the Reformation and the Enlightenment and that articulates a language of agency that does not rely on resistance to established norms and structures of authority. The question that these literary writers ask alongside the theologies and philosophies from Luther to Kant and Hegel is one of how we can maintain our sense of self without falling out of or being in constant opposition to the governmental system that unavoidably and importantly constitutes a part of who we understand ourselves to be. This project is supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

Beside these research projects, Martin is also active as an editor and translator. After two German editions of books by the American journalist Nellie Bly, he has, most recently, completed the first representative English edition of the works of the Sturm und Drang writer J.M.R. Lenz. 



Book Chapter

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