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Freed, Mark

Professor of English


More about Mark Freed


Robert Musil: Lessons on Writing Modernity (currently in process).

An exploration of the theoretical contributions the Austrian novelist Robert Musil makes to the effort to capture Modernity in any kind of writing about Modernity.

Robert Musil and the NonModern. New York: Continuum International Publishers, 2011.

This book reads Robert Musil's theory and narrative technique of essayism into the philosophical discourse of modernity in order to put Musil in dialogue with critiques of the modern by Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermas, and Lyotard.

Peer-reviewed Essays:

“Die Beherrschung der Erfahrung: Musils literarische Phänomenologie zwischen Wissenschaft und Strenge. Journal Phänomenologie 55 (2021): 36-45. 

“Narrating and Unnarratable Present: Musil, Schematism and the Writing of Modernity.” Orbis Litterarum 74.4 (2019): 278-291.

 “Musil’s Ontology of the Present: Lessons on the Hermeneutics of the Modernity.” Modernism/Modernity 24 (2017): 311-327.

Robert Musil and the techne of Rewriting Modernity." Germanic Review 88 (2013): 83-96.

"Toward a NonModern NonHumanism." A Vision of Transdisciplinarity: Laying Foundations for a World Knowledge Dialogue.  Ed. Frédéric Darbellay, et. al.  Lusanne: Ecole Polytechnic Fédéral de Lusanne. 2008.

"Robert Musil's Other Postmodernism": Essayismus, Textual Subjectivity, and The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity."  Comparative Literature Studies 44.3 (2007):   231-253.

"Problems of Freedom and Community in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda." Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association.  30 (2005): 59-77.

"Latour, Lyotard, and the Problematics of Legitimation." Angelaki: A Journal for Theoretical Humanities. 10.3 (2005): 99-114.

"Latour, Musil, and the Discourse of Non-Modernity." Symplokē:  A Journal for the Intermingling of Literary, Cultural, and Theoretical Scholarship. 11 (2003): 183-196.

"Cultural Studies, Ethics, and the Eclipse of Agency."  Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association. 34 (2001): 1-14.

  "The Moral Irrelevance of Dogma: Mary Ward and Critical Theology in England." Women's Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Transfiguring the Faith of Their Fathers. New York, NY: Garland, 1998.  133-147.

Papers Presented

“Die Berherrschung der Erfahrung.” Musil und die Phänomenologie. Internationale- Robert-Musil-Gesellschaft. Universität Klagenfurt, Austria. April, 2021.

"Temporality and Interruption in Gadamer’s Verständugungsgeschehen.“ Symposium on Romantic Hermeneutics, Washington, D.C. September, 2018.

 "On the Transcendentality of Transzendentalpoesie” German Studies Association 41th Annual Conference. Atlanta, Georgia. October, 2017.

"Hermeneutic Epistemology in Musil’s Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften.“ American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, Utrecht, Netherlands, July 2017.

“Narrating an Unerzählebare Vergangenheit: Romantic Epistemology in Musil’s Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften.” German Studies Association 40th Annual Conference. San Diego, CA, October 2016.

 “Musil, Romanticism, and the Rewriting of Modernity.” German Studies Association 39th Annual Conference. Washington, D.C. October, 2015.

"Die Vollendung des Aesthetischen: Musil in the Wake of Romanticism." American Comparative Literature Association Conference, University of Washington, Seattle WA. March 2015.

"Robert Musil: Lessons of the Hermeneutics of Modernity." British Association for Modernist Studies Conference, University of London. June 2014.

"Why Don't We Make Up History As We Go Along?": Robert Musil's Archeology of the Future."  International Association of Philosophy and Literature,  Tallinn University, Estonia.  May 2012.

"Essayismus als Durcharbeitung: Robert Musil and the techē  of Rewriting Modernity." Rewriting Lyotard Conference, University of Alberta, Canada. February 2011.​

"Musil's Essayismus, Reflective Judgment, and the Postmodern Sublime." Modern Language Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.  December 2008.

"Robert Musil and the Aporia of Autonomy/Sublation." American Comparative Literature Association Conference, Long Beach, CA. April 2008.

"Cognitive Mapping Musil's Vienna." Midwest Modern Language Association Conference. Chicago, November 2006.

"Toward a NonModern NonHumanism." World Knowledge Dialogue Symposium. Crans-Montana, Switzerland, September, 2006.     

"Essaying the Nonmodern Human Sciences."  American Comparative Literature Association Conference,  Princeton University, March 2006. Presenter and organizer of 2-day seminar: Essaying the Human.

"On Functional Relations in Mach and Musil." 3rd European Conference of the International Society for Science and Literature, Université de Paris VIII, June 2004. (Member of International Organizing Committee.)

"Musil's Essayismus and the Critique of Machean Positivism."  2nd European Conference of the International Society for Literature and Science, Århus, Denmark, May 2002.

"Musil and Latour: Toward a Non-Modern Problematics of Psychopathology."  Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature and Science, Buffalo, NY, October 2001.

"The Problem of Freedom in Marxist Cultural and Literary Studies." Re-Thinking Marxism: Fourth International Gala Conference, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Sept. 2000. (Presented in absentia.) 

"Opening the Border Between Science and the Humanities: Musil's Essayismus." Presenter and organizer of panel "I Know, You Believe: Border Skirmishes Between Science and the Humanities." Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature and Science, SUNY Stony Brook, NY. May, 2000.

Michigan State University, PhD

University North Carolina-Greensboro, MA

Indiana University, BA

  •  Literary and Cultural Theory
  • Poststructuralism
  •  Frankfurt Critical Theory Literature and Science
  • Literature and Continental Philosophy
  • European Literature

My research interests primarily concern the complementarity of literature and philosophy starting with Jena Romanticism and running through the so-called "end of philosophy" in Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida. My 2011 book Robert Musil and the NonModern reads Musil's Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften into connection with other critiques of the Modern, including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermas, and Lyotard. I am currently working on a book which uses Musil's novel to explore theoretical difficulties and possibilities for capturing Modernity in any kind of writing about Modernity.

  • American Comparative Literature Association
  • International Association of Philosophy and Literature
  • International Society for Literature, Science, and Art.