David R. Nelson


B.A., University of Washington, M.A. University of Pennsylvania

Before coming to Penn, David earned his Bachelor of Arts in Germanics and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington in Seattle, during which he also studied at Universität Tübingen. His research interests center on the limits of literary representation and the ways in which different media inform the nature of textual production, especially how the literary representations of visuality and the visual arts provide alternatives to the otherwise purely linguistic reality of the text. These interests reflect David's persisting engagement with literary theory and the problem of representation. He is currently writing a dissertation on the intermedial basis for the practice of literary montage in the twentieth century. The project deals both with traditional literary sources, such as the modernist novel, as well as sources that would more frequently be associated with art historical investigations, such as Dadaist periodicals. David is also interested in the history of material texts and is currently working on a project on the economics of illustration in avant-garde literary journals. 

David has presented his research at the graduate student conferene at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the ACLA, and at the German Literature Archive Marbach as part of the 2015 Internationale Sommerschule.

David has also presented on his pedagogy and the use of digital media and authentic literary materials in the language classroom at the AATG Philadelphia Chapter meeting in March 2014 (Paper title: Digital Approaches to Authentic Texts. Teaching Literary Texts in Beginner Language Courses, co-presented with Allan Madin). More recently, he helped Liliane Weissberg organize the conference "All About Father: Psychoanalysis, the Oedipus Complex and the Modern Family" along with Allan Madin. He was a co-organizer of the 2016 graduate student conference, "The Untimeliness of Media: Intermediality Across Eras in German Literature, Culture, and Art," with Margaret Strair. 

Research Interests

Modernism, Intermediality, Aesthetics, History of Material Texts, Psychoanalysis

Courses Taught

Summer 2016: German for Reading Knowledge

Spring 2015: GRMN 253—Freud

Fall 2014: GRMN 103—Intermediate German I

Spring 2014: GRMN 102—Elementary German II

Fall 2013: GRMN 101—Elementary German I