Bronfen, Elisabeth 1958- (Elisabeth Eve Bronfen, Elizabeth Bronfen)

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Bronfen, Elisabeth 1958- (Elisabeth Eve Bronfen, Elizabeth Bronfen)

PERSONAL:

Born April 23, 1958, in Munich, Germany; naturalized U.S. citizen; daughter of George B. and Ingeborg Margot Bronfen; married. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Radcliffe College, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1979; Harvard University, M.A. (cum laude), 1980; University of Munich, Ph.D. (summa cum laude), 1986, D.Phil., 1991.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of English, University of Zurich, Plattenstrasse 47, Zurich CH-8032, Switzerland. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Freelance actress on German television, 1975-76; University of Munich, Munich, Germany, lecturer, 1984-85, assistant professor, 1985-92, associate professor, 1991-96; University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, professor of English, 1993—. Harvard University, Mellon faculty fellow, 1987-88; Munich Art Academy, lecturer, 1988-91; Sheffield Hallam University, visiting professor, 1994-97; University of Konstanz, visiting professor, 1995-96; Columbia University, Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professor, 1997, 2000; University of Århus, visiting professor, 1998; University of Queensland, S.W. Brooks Visiting Lecturer, 2003; New York University, Global distinguished professor, 2007-12. Freelance performer as mezzosoprano vocalist, 1990-93. Member of editorial board for several journals, including History and Literature, 1990—, Nineteenth Century Contexts, 1995—; and European Journal of English Studies, 1995—.

MEMBER:

Modern Language Association of America, Gesellschaft für Amerika Studien Deutchland, Phi Beta Kappa, Sauté, Sanas.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Research grant, Gerhard Hess Program, 1993; Whitney J. Oates fellow, Council of the Humanities, Princeton University, 1995.

WRITINGS:

Der literarische Raum. Eine Untersuchung am Beispiel von Dorothy M. Richardsons Romanzyklus Pilgrimage, M. Niemeyer (Tübingen, Germany), 1986, translation by Victoria Appelby published as Dorothy Richardson's Art of Memory: Space, Identity, Text, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity, and the Aesthetic, Routledge (New York, NY), 1992.

(Editor, with Sarah Webster Goodwin) Death and Representation, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1993.

The Knotted Subject: Hysteria and Its Discontents, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1998.

Sylvia Plath, Northcote Press (London, England), 1998.

Heimweh: Illusionsspile in Hollywood, Volk & Welt (Berlin, Germany), 1999, translation published (under name Elizabeth Bronfen) as Home in Hollywood: The Imaginary Geography of Cinema, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

(Editor, with Misha Kavka) Feminist Consequences: Theory for the New Century, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Peggy Phelan and Hans Ulrich Obrist) Pipilotti Rist, Phaidon (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Barbara Straumann) Die Diva. Geschichte einer Bewunderung, Schirmer Mosel (Munich, Germany), 2002.

Contributor to numerous professional journals and other periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS:

Elisabeth Bronfen's writings, which typically focus on aspects of gender, psychoanalysis, and the dialog between verbal and visual representation, include Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity, and the Aesthetic and The Knotted Subject: Hysteria and Its Discontents. Over Her Dead Body "applies psychoanalytic theory to the study of selected visual and literary representations of the female corpse, which are particularly prevalent between the 18th and 20th centuries," summarized Amy Gogarty and Pauline Butling in Canadian Literature. "Freud and Lacan," wrote Rachel Bowlby in New Statesman & Society, "provide the account of a fundamental drive to do away with a feminine body seen to threaten the integrity of a subject who is thereby compelled either to kill the woman off or replace her with a compensatory image of flawless and immutable beauty."

Critical reaction to the work was mixed. Bowlby found that Bronfen "treats us to a series of superbly rigorous analyses of examples from the past 200 years," supporting her thesis. Canadian Literature reviewers Amy Gogarty and Pauline Butling, however, observed that Bronfen's "socio-historical analysis of death does not connect to the body as socio-historical subject." Ruth Bernard Yeazell, in a mixed review in the London Review of Books called Bronfen's work "an ambitious and sometimes brilliant attempt to understand a central phenomenon of our culture."

The Knotted Subject explores the history of hysteria from a feminist perspective, citing examples from medical literature, novels, opera, film and photography. The work received largely positive reviews from critics. E. James Lieberman commented in Library Journal that Bronfen "brings new, if overwrought, ideas on hysteria to challenge historians of medicine and psychology, as well as critics of literature and art." A critic for the Virginia Quarterly Review called the work "wholly original and deeply insightful." Gabrielle Murphy in the Lancet concluded: "The Knotted Subject is an articulate, superbly written book that analyses an astonishing range of material. It really is a tribute to Bronfen that the arguments she develops in psychoanalytic terms remain accessible to those not well versed in psychoanalytic discourse."

Bronfen told CA: "Home in Hollywood: The Imaginary Geography of Cinema uses psychoanalytical, ideological, and cultural modes of criticism to discuss the manner in which home figures prominently in a broad range of classic and contemporary films, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, John Ford's The Searchers, Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life, and David Fincher's Seven."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Studies, summer, 2005, Sam B. Grigus, review of Home in Hollywood: The Imaginary Geography of Cinema, p. 194.

Canadian Literature, autumn, 1995, Amy Gogarty and Pauline Butling, review of Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity, and the Aesthetic, pp. 131-133.

Choice, January, 2000, review of Dorothy Richardson's Art of Memory: Space, Identity, Text, p. 929.

Lancet, May 22, 1999, Gabrielle Murphy, review of The Knotted Subject: Hysteria and Its Discontents, p. 1806.

Library Journal, August, 1998, E. James Lieberman, review of The Knotted Subject, p. 116.

London Review of Books, November 19, 1992, Ruth Bernard Yeazell, review of Over Her Dead Body, pp. 20-22.

New Statesman & Society, October 2, 1992, Rachel Bowlby, review of Over Her Dead Body, pp. 41-42.

Virginia Quarterly Review, winter, 1999, review of The Knotted Subject, p. 12.

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Bronfen, Elisabeth 1958- (Elisabeth Eve Bronfen, Elizabeth Bronfen)

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