Professor Emeritus of German
Department of German
510 526-6912

Research Expertise and Interest

18th 20th century German literature & culture, intellectual & institutional, enlightenment, Napoleonic era, vormärz, concepts & images history, role language nationalism, contemporary trends German literature, representations urban space


Born and raised in Hannover, Germany, Professor Seeba studied German, Greek and Philosophy at the universities of Göttingen, Zürich and Tübingen; he passed his Staatsexamen in 1966 and received his Dr. phil, in 1967, both from the University of Tübingen. He started teaching at Berkeley in 1967 and served twice as departmental chair, from 1977-81 and again from 1989-91. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1970/71 and visiting professor at the Free University Berlin in 1992, at Stanford University in 1994, and at the Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1999. He was chair of the Society & Culture group in the Center of German and European Studies from 1991-95. His teaching and research areas include 18th to 20th century German literature with emphasis on the enlightenment, the Napoleonic era, the Vormärz, contemporary trends in German literature, intellectual and institutional history, national and cultural identity formation, the theory of literature and interpretation (hermeneutics), cultural criticism, and problems of historiography. His publications include books on Hofmannsthal (1970), Lessing (1974) and two volumes of Kleist's dramas in the Deutscher Klassiker Verlag (1987 and 1991, with extensive commentary). He is co-editor of Festschriften for Heinz Politzer (1975) and Richard Brinkmann (1981) and the author of articles on Winckelmann, Lessing, Herder, Schiller, F. Schlegel, Kleist, Grillparzer, Heine, Nestroy, reception theory, the Vormärz, historiography of literature, cultural nationalism, the history of Germanistik, Jewish exiles, New Subjectivity and post-Wall literature, as well as German Studies in the United States. His current projects include studies in the literary images of historical discourse, the German concept of "Kulturnation," linguistic nationalism in identity formation, academic emigration and paradigms of intercultural criticism, cultural topography of the city (Berlin and Vienna).