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  • In Memoriam:Reinhold Grimm (1931–2009)
  • Klaus L. Berghahn

Reinhold Grimm, our former colleague and editor of the Monatshefte, died on March 5, 2009, in Riverside, California, from complications after a stroke.

Born on May 5, 1931, in Nuremberg (Germany), Grimm studied German literature at the University of Erlangen, and also for one year as a Fulbright student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. At the youthful age of twenty-five, he earned his Dr. phil. summa cum laude from the University of Erlangen with a dissertation on Gottfried Benn. After teaching for a decade at the universities of Erlangen and Frankfurt, he emigrated to the United States, first as a visiting professor at Columbia University, and in 1967 he accepted an Alexander Hohlfeld Professorship of German at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1980 he was awarded a prestigious Vilas Research Professorship of German and Comparative Literature. Professor Grimm received various prizes and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1969/70), an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University (1988), and the Hilldale Career Award of the University of Wisconsin (1988). He was a member of the International P.E.N. Club and also served as the national president of the American Association of Teachers of German (1974/75) and as founding president of the International Brecht Society (1980). In 1990 he accepted a Distinguished Professorship at the University of California-Riverside, where he taught until his retirement in 2003. He was a visiting professor at Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Virginia, and he traveled on lecture tours worldwide (Turkey, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, and throughout Europe)

His fields of research and teaching, publishing, and editing were German and Comparative Literature from the 18th to the 21st centuries and translations in German and English. He published fifteen monographs, edited ten volumes, co-edited thirty-five more, and published over 200 articles and essays. His books and articles were translated into many languages, and his essays appeared in prominent journals and newspapers, among them his regular contribution to Marcel Reich-Ranicki's "Frankfurter Anthologie," a series of interpretations of modern poetry in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. His [End Page 305] talent for languages and his love of poetry led him over the years to translate and interpret modern poetry, and he published widely on Gottfried Benn, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Günter Kunert, Felix Pollak, and others.

Reinhold Grimm made his name as one of the early Brecht scholars in West Germany, with books such as Bertolt Brecht: Die Struktur seines Werkes (1959, 6th edition 1971, Spanish edition 2008), Bertolt Brecht und die Weltliteratur (1961), and Bertolt Brecht (Metzler 1961, 3rd edition 1971). He published monographs on authors such as Benn (1958/62), Büchner (1985), Nietzsche (1979), Rilke (1981), Enzensberger (1984), and Felix Pollak (2002). He was interested in genre theory and edited handbooks on Episches Theater (1966, 3rd edition 1972), Zur Lyrik-Diskussion (1966/74), Deutsche Romantheorie (1968/74), and Deutsche Dramentheorie (1972/1980). He contributed substantially to the theory discussions of the 1970s (Methodenfragen der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft, with Jost Hermand 1973), and there is hardly a topic in modern literature on which he did not publish.

Together with Jost Hermand he established the Wisconsin Workshop in 1969 (now in its 42nd year!), and they published 25 volumes of its proceedings on topics such as Die Klassik-Legende (1971), Exil und innere Emigration (1972) Popularität und Trivialität (1974), Realismustheorien (1975), Blacks in German Culture (1986), Our Faust (1987), and many more, which noticeably influenced the direction of German Studies in the United States. Between 1970 and 1980 they also published the Brecht-Jahrbuch and Basis, a yearbook for contemporary German literature. We called them Castor und Pollux, and thanks to their ideas and productivity the German Department was ranked as number one in the country in 1985. For visitors from abroad, Madison was a must, and in addition to many scholars they invited writers, among them Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Martin Walser, Uwe Johnson, Heiner Müller, and Volker Braun. Not to forget that Grimm also edited the Monatshefte from 1979 to 1990, making it more attractive by adding a...