Peter-André Alt

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Portrait photo of Prof. Dr.  Peter-André Alt, President of the University Rectors' Conference (Photo 2018: David Ausserhofer)
Peter-André Alt (Photo: David Ausserhofer) (2018)

Peter-André Alt (born June 16, 1960 in Berlin ) is a German literary scholar , former President of the Free University of Berlin and President of the German Rectors' Conference since August 2018 .


Among the first authors who read Old belonged Karl May : At the age of eight he was reading Winnetou I . In 1979 he graduated from high school. From 1979 to 1984 studied Old German , political science , history and philosophy at the Free University of Berlin, where he in 1984 his doctorate was in 1993 and habilitated . From 1987 to 1992 he was a research assistant at the chair of Hans-Jürgen Schings at the Free University, from 1992–1993 he received a habilitation grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) , and from 1994–1995 he received a Heisenberg grant from the DFG. In 1995 he was appointed to a full professorship for modern German literature at the Ruhr University in Bochum , in 2002 he switched to a chair at the University of Würzburg , and since 2005 he has succeeded his teacher Schings as professor for modern German literature at the Free University of Berlin.

Alt was director of the Dahlem Research School (Center for Graduate Studies) at the Free University of Berlin from 2008–2010 , and from 2007–2010 he also headed the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies (federal and state promotion of excellence). He is a member of numerous advisory boards ( Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach , Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography) and reviewer of the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD . He has guest lectureships a. a. perceived in Trieste (Italy); Research stays have taken him as a visiting scholar to the University of Cambridge , the USA ( Princeton University ), Italy (Rome, La Villa, Como) and the Czech Republic (Prague). Alt has been on the board of the German Schiller Society since July 2008 . Since July 2012, Alt has also been President of the German Schiller Society, the sponsoring association of the German Literature Archive in Marbach. On May 12, 2010, Alt was elected President of the Free University of Berlin by the Extended Academic Senate. His term of office began on June 3, 2010. On April 30, 2014, Peter-André Alt was re-elected as President of the Free University of Berlin.

In April 2018, Alt was elected President of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) to succeed Horst Hippler . He took office on August 1, 2018.

Alt is married to the writer Sabine Alt (Eva Ehley) and has two grown sons.


Since 1985, Alt's publications include 18 monographs , more than 100 essays, 25 reviews , several editions , six anthologies on German-language and European literature from the 17th to 18th centuries. and the 20th century. The early modern period , the Weimar Classics and the literature of classical modernism form particular historical focuses .

His research focuses on questions of the historicity and normativity of poetological and aesthetic systems of order, the history of tragedy, the relationship between knowledge and literature in the early modern period ( dream , imagination , hermeticism , paradox) and the reflection of political theology in texts from the 17th century. Another important area of ​​activity Alt is literary biographies, both with regard to its specific methodology and with regard to problems of literary authorship.

Since 2005, Alt has regularly published articles on questions of science and education policy in regional and national daily newspapers, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine , the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Berliner Tagesspiegel . Between 2014 and 2017 he wrote a weekly column for the Berliner Morgenpost ; since November 2017 he has been a columnist for the Berliner Zeitung .


In 2005 Alt received the Schiller Prize of the city of Marbach am Neckar for his two-volume Schiller biography (2000) . In 2008, as part of the “Pro Geisteswissenschaften” initiative, he was awarded the Opus Magnum grant from the Volkswagen and Thyssen foundations for completing his book project Aesthetics of Evil .

Individual evidence

  1. a b NDR: Peter-André Alt in conversation. February 29, 2020, accessed June 27, 2020 .
  2. ^ Structure and organization of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography. Retrieved May 11, 2014 .
  3. Peter-André Alt is the new President of the German Schiller Society. (No longer available online.) In: Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach: PM 46/2012. May 3, 2014, archived from the original on May 3, 2014 ; accessed on June 29, 2020 .
  4. Peter-André Alt becomes the new HRK President. In: press release. Rectors' Conference, accessed on June 27, 2020 .

Works (selection)

  • Irony and crisis: ironic narration as a form of aesthetic perception in Thomas Mann's “The Magic Mountain” and Robert Musil's “The Man Without Qualities” (= European University Papers , Series 1, German Language and Literature , Volume 722). Lang, Frankfurt am Main / Bern / New York, NY 1985, ISBN 3-8204-5257-5 (Dissertation FU Berlin 1984, 471 pages).
  • Irony and crisis. Ironic narration as a form of ironic perception in Thomas Mann'sThe Magic Mountain ” and Robert Musil'sThe Man Without Qualities ”. 2nd modified edition, Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-631-41625-3 .
  • Conceptual images. Studies on literary allegory between Opitz and Schiller (= Studies on German Literature , Volume 131). Niemeyer, Tübingen 1995, ISBN 3-484-18131-1 (Habilitation FU Berlin 1993, 682 pages).
  • Enlightenment (= textbook German studies ). Metzler, Stuttgart 1996, 3rd edition 2007, ISBN 978-3-476-02236-3 .
  • Friedrich Schiller . Beck, Munich 2004, 2nd edition 2009 (Beck-Wissen, 2357)
  • Franz Kafka . The Eternal Son. A biography. Beck, Munich 2005, 2nd edition 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57535-8 .
  • Kafka and the film. About cinematographic storytelling. Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-58748-1 .
  • Classic finals. The theater of Goethe and Schiller. Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-56929-6 .
  • Schiller. Life, work, time. (2 books) 3rd edition, Beck, Munich 2009 (first 2000),
    1. 1759-1791. ISBN 978-3-406-58681-1 .
    2. 1791-1805. ISBN 978-3-406-58682-8 .
  • The sleep of reason. Literature and Dreams in the Cultural History of Modern Times. Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-49337-8 .
  • The death of the queen. Woman Sacrifice and Political Sovereignty in the Tragedy of the 17th Century. De Gruyter, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-11-018117-7 (sources and research on literary and cultural history; volume 30).
  • Tragedy of the Enlightenment. An introduction. Francke, Tübingen 1994, ISBN 3-8252-1781-7 ( UTB ; 1781).
  • The promises of philology. Wallstein, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8353-0175-7 (Göttinger Sudelbuchblätter).
  • Of the beauty of breaking orders. Body, Politics, and Gender in 17th Century Literature. Wallstein, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8353-0194-8 .
  • Aesthetics of Evil . Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60503-1 .
  • Imaginary secret knowledge. Studies on hermeticism in literary texts of the early modern period , V & R, unipress, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-89971-675-7 .
  • Sigmund Freud . The modern doctor. A biography. Beck, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-406-69688-6 (about the book) .
  • "Somebody must have slandered Josef K. ...". First sentences of world literature and what they tell us . Beck, Munich 2020, ISBN 978-3-406-75004-5 .


Press reports

Web links