Professor Frank Möbus
IAS Fellow at Collingwood College, Durham University (January - March 2007)
Professor Möbus received a PhD in Philosophy from Göttingen University and now teaches German literature at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany. His particular expertise lies in the area of 18th and 20th century German literature with special interests in Goethe, Jewish literature, expressionism and modern poetry, as well as in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory. The recent focus of his research is in the Robinson Crusoe motif in African, European and Caribbean literature. Furthermore he is writing a study about Post-Colonial discourses and racial issues in German children's books. In 2004 he was acting Professor at the University of Oldenburg.
Professor Möbus has (co-)organized large interdisciplinary research projects about Goethe's Faust and Joachim Ringelnatz, and large expositions throughout Germany about literature and art. He is chairperson and speaker on the panel of the Joachim Ringelnatz Award for modern poetry and co-founder of the Joachim Ringelnatz Museum in Cuxhaven. Professor Möbus has published numerous books, articles and entries for handbooks and encyclopaedias. His first monograph was Sünden-Fälle: Die Geschlechtlichkeit in Erzählungen Franz Kafkas (Wallstein, 1994). His most recent books are Dichterbilde: Von Walther von der Vogelweide bis Elfriede Jelinek (co-edited with Friederike Schmidt-Möbus, Reclam 2003), and editions of the poems of Joachim Ringelnatz and Christian Morgenstern. The anthology 1916: Mitten im Krieg will appear in 2007.
Whilst at the IAS Professor Möbus will work on The "Negro's" Face in 20th Century Children's Literature and also the works of Wilhelm Petersen (a prominent artist and writer of the Nazi-Regime), who illustrated popular post war children's books.
IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - The Different Faces of Friday: Aspects of the European Robinson Crusoe Reception
Daniel Defoe’s 'The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe', first published in 1719, is one of the most successful narrative texts of all times and established a new type of novel: the Robinsonian story. Up to now, about 3,500 different novels of all languages, most of them more or less free adaptations and variations of Defoe’s original and the adventures of Robinson and Friday, tell stories about stranded heroes and their contact with foreign nations, which every so often portray friendly natives as dangerous cannibals. The history of literature knows hundreds of different Robinson Crusoes and hundreds of different Fridays. One Robinson is travelling in a spaceship and meets an alien from outer space; the other survives the crash of an airplane and spends his time on the lonely island with a partner in the shape of a football. The aim of this talk will be to show how the Robinson Crusoe motif and especially the description of Friday and the cannibals can be seen as revealing changing anthropological and political discourses on the one hand, and the manifestation of racial cliche on the other, the latter being in opposition to the age of enlightenment and progress. The focal point will be on the post war literature of Eastern and Western Germany.
Professor Moebus teaches German literature at the Georg-August-University of G?ngen. His particular expertise lies in the area of 18th and 20th century German literature with special interests in Goethe, Jewish literature, expressionism and modern poetry, as well as in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory.