Peter Freese

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Peter Freese 2013

Peter Freese (born March 10, 1939 in Bremen ; † August 13, 2020 in Paderborn ) was a German Americanist and literary scholar .


After graduating from high school in Heide in 1959, Freese studied at the Universities of Kiel , Heidelberg and Reading (GB) with a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation and a British Council Scholarship. In 1966 he completed his state examination in English, German, pedagogy and philosophy with honors and received his doctorate in 1970 in Kiel with summa cum laude to the Dr. phil. in American Studies . In 1971, before completing his habilitation , he was appointed to an associate professorship at the PH Kiel . In 1973 he switched to the full professorship for English literature and subject didactics at the PH Münster , in 1979 he took over the newly created chair for American studies at the University of Paderborn , which he held until his retirement in 2005.

In addition to his teaching activities, Freese was Dean of the Department of Linguistics and Literature, Vice-Rector for Teaching and Studies (1983–1987) and a member of the Senate (1989–2004) at the University of Paderborn. As Senate Commissioner for International Relations (1983-2006), he initiated the University of Paderborn's first 17 exchange programs and founded the Summer School for Paderborn students of all subjects at Illinois State University , which was held for the 31st time in 2017. He was the founding president of the Paderborn Center for Cultural Studies, from 1998 to 2004 a founding member of the DFG-funded graduate center on "Travel Literature and Cultural Anthropology" and from 2000 to 2004 elected reviewer of the DFG for American Studies. He was a member of the advisory board of the German Society for American Studies (1981–89 and 1996ff.), A member of the editorial team of American Studies (1983–99), and from 1993 to 1996 President of the DGfA. For many years he was a member of the selection committees of the German National Academic Foundation and head of various holiday academies. From 1989 to 2013 he was a liaison professor for the Fulbright Commission . From 2005 until his death he was president of the Paderborn Alumni Association Paderborn Alumni e. V.

In 1978 Freese was visiting professor at Trinity and All Saints Colleges in Leeds ; 1988 Fellow in Residence at Claremont McKenna College; 1988 visiting professor at Illinois State University and 1991 DAAD visiting professor at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. He completed long research stays at the University of California , LA, the University of Indiana in Indianapolis and Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania. In 1981 he was a member of the International American Studies Curriculum Workshop at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC and in 1984 he was a guest of the American government as part of the International Visitors Program. In 1996, he led an international Eisenhower Foundation election observation delegation in New York, Boston and Washington; In 2000 and 2002 he directed advanced training courses for German teachers in New York and San Francisco .

Freese was made an Honorary Citizen of Tennessee in 1981 and a Kentucky Colonel in 1983. In 1990 he became an honorary member of Phi Beta Delta . In 1999 he received a flag from Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from the US Capitol for his “outstanding contributions to German-American understanding”. In 2000 he received an honorary doctorate from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon. In 2004 the University of Dortmund awarded him his second honorary doctorate and in 2015 the University of Duisburg-Essen awarded him his third honorary doctorate. In 2010 he received the “Lifetime Achievement Prize” from the unified student councils of the Faculty of Cultural Studies, in 2013 he was allowed to enter the Golden Book of the city of Paderborn and in 2013 the German Society for American Studies made him an honorary member. In 1999, 2005 and 2009 he received a Festschrift each.

Research priorities

Freese's focus was on the American novel and the short story of the 19th and 20th centuries, American cultural history , popular culture studies, the relationship between literature and the natural sciences, and literary and cultural didactics.

Publications (selection)

  • The Initiation Journey: Studies on the Youthful Hero in the Modern American Novel (1971; reprinted unchanged in 1998)
  • The American Short Story After 1945 (1974)
  • Ed .: The American Short Story of the Present: Interpretations (1976)
  • Ed .: with L. Hermes, The Novel in English Lessons in Secondary School II (1977; 2nd extended edition 1981)
  • Ed .: Growing up Black in America: Stories and Studies of Socialization (1977; 6th enl. Ed. 1987) + Teacher's Book (1978; 2nd ed. 1979)
  • Ed .: with H. Groene and L. Hermes, The Short Story in English Lessons in Secondary School II (1979; 2nd ed. 1983)
  • Ed .: Bernard Malamud, 'The Assistant' (1982; 3rd ed. 1988) + Teacher's Book (1983)
  • Ed .: with M. Pütz, Postmodernism in American Literature: A Critical Anthology (1984)
  • Ed .: The American Short Story I: Initiation (1984; 4th ed. 1995) + Teacher's Book (1987)
  • Ed .: Teaching Contemporary American Life and Literature in the German Advanced EFL-Classroom (1985)
  • Ed .: Religion and Philosophy in the United States of America, 2 volumes (1987)
  • Surviving the End: Beyond Apocalypse and Entropy in American Literature (1988)
  • 'America': Dream or Nightmare? Reflections on a Composite Image (1990; 3rd enl. Ed. 1994)
  • Ed .: Germany and German Thought in American Literature and Cultural Criticism (1990)
  • The Ethnic Detective: Chester Himes, Harry Kemelman, Tony Hillerman (1992)
  • Ed., With M. Porsche, Popular Culture in the United States (1994)
  • Ed., From Melting Pot to Multiculturalism: 'E pluribus unum'? (1994; 7th enl. Ed. 2004; new edition 2005; 5th ed. 2018) + Resource Book (1994; 5th ed. 2002; new edition 2005)
  • Ed., Growing up in a Multicultural Society: Nine American Short Stories (1995; 9th ed. 2011)
  • Ed., The American Dream: Humankind's Second Chance? (1996; 8th ed. 2004; new edition 2005; 5th ed. 2010; edition plus 2011; 3rd ed. 2018) + Resource Book (1996; 5th ed. 2002; new edition 2005; 2nd ed. 2007; edition plus 2012; 4th ed., 2018)
  • From Apocalypse to Entropy and Beyond: The Second Law of Thermodynamics in Post-War American Fiction (1997)
  • Ed. Viewfinder Special (1998; 9th ed. 2006; new edition 2007; 2nd ed. 2009) + Teacher's Book (1998; 3rd ed. 2000; new edition 2008; 2nd ed. 2008)
  • Ed., Stories of the South (1998, 7th ed. 2009)
  • Ed., New York Stories (1998, 8th ed. 2012)
  • The American Short Story: Collected Essays (1999; 2nd ed. 2001)
  • Ed., Americans in Europe (2001; 3rd ed. 2002)
  • Teaching 'America': Selected Essays (2002)
  • Ed. with Charles B. Harris, Science, Technology, and the Humanities in Recent American Fiction (2004)
  • Ed. with Charles B. Harris, The Holodeck in the Garden: Science and Technology in Contemporary American Fiction (2004; 2nd ed. 2006)
  • Ed., Stories of the West (2006)
  • The Clown of Armageddon: The Novels of Kurt Vonnegut (2009)
  • Ed. New York: The Big Apple (2010; 2nd ed. 2012) + Resource Book (2011)
  • Published 40 years University of Paderborn (2012)
  • Ed. The 'Journey of Life' in American Life and Literature (2015)
  • America (n) Matters: Selected Essays (2018)


  • TEAS: Texts for English and American Studies (1977-91): 40 volumes
  • AzA: Work on American Studies (since 1986): 41 volumes
  • Viewfinder (since 1994): 76 volumes
  • PUR: Paderborn University Speeches (since 1984): 147 issues.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Prof. em. Dr. Dr. hc mult. Peter Freese. In: Voss Bestattungen, August 13, 2020, accessed on August 19, 2020 .
  2. Faculty of Cultural Studies> Department of English and American Studies> American Studies Emeritus ( Memento from February 15, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  3. a b Neue Westfälische: A Life for American Studies: Paderborn University mourns Peter Freese. Retrieved August 17, 2020 .
  4. Faculty of Cultural Studies> Department of English and American Studies> American Studies Emeritus ( Memento from February 15, 2018 in the Internet Archive )