Area of Study
Email Address
Christian A. Johnson 202A

Michael Lipkin received his Ph.D in German from Columbia University. A literary scholar focusing on the longue durée of realism in the German-speaking world, Lipkin’s first book, Too Wide a Field: Realism as Learning Process examines realism as a tool of social formation during the mid-to-late 19th century. His second project explores the explosion of documentary realism across the political spectrum in the 1970s—most recently in an article for the Merkur comparing the legacies of Günter Wallraff’s The Lowest of the Low and John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me. He writes actively about German literature for a general audience, in publications such as The New Left Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, and The Paris Review. His translation of Walter Kempowski’s Tadellöser & Wolff is forthcoming with New York Review of Books Classics. 

Recent Courses Taught

Regarding the Pain of Others
America in the German Imagination
Watching Disaster
Advanced German Conversation and Composition

Research Interests

My research focuses on the interface between techniques of realism and processes of social and cultural formation during the longue durée of realism in Germany from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1970s.

Select Publications

  • “Ein Mann will gehasst werden”: Gunter Wallraff as Discontent in Documentary Realism.” [manuscript]
  • “Ein öffentliches Schauspiel: Keller, Schiller and the Impossible Ideal of Political Art.” Gottfried Kellers Moderne. Berlin: De Gruyter. 2021.
  • “Ethik.” Goethe Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts [accepted with revisions]
  • “To Make an Example of Myself”: The Problems of an Instructive Realism in Gottfried Keller’s Der gru¨ne Heinrich. German Studies Review. Volume 44, Issue 2. 2021
  • Diligent Life: The Concept of the Present in Gustav Freytag’s Soll und Haben. Colloquia Germanica. Vol 54, Issue 1-2. 2021
  • “Domesticating Hegel” for the New Left Review
  • “Beyond Reason” for the Times Literary Supplement

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., Columbia University
M. Phil., Columbia University
M.A., Columbia University
B.A., Binghamton University

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