Stephan, Alexander 1946–

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Stephan, Alexander 1946–


Born August 16, 1946, in Germany; son of Eberhard (a teacher) and Ingeborg Stephan; married Halina Konopacka, 1969; children: Michael. Education: Attended Free University of Berlin, 1966-68; University of Michigan, M.A., 1969; Princeton University, Ph.D., 1973.


Office—Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1229; fax: 614-292-8510; and Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43201; fax: 614-292-2407.


Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, instructor in German, 1972-73; University of California, Los Angeles, assistant professor, 1973-77, associate professor, 1977-83, professor of German, 1983-85; University of Florida, Gainesville, professor of German, 1985-2000, department chair, 1985-93; Ohio State University, Columbus, professor of German and Ohio eminent scholar, 2000—. Guest lecturer at institutions in North and South America, Europe, and Asia; guest on media programs in Germany. Member of editorial board, Germanic Review, 1984-96, Argonautenschiff: Jahrbuch der Anna-Seghers-Gesellschaft, 1990-93, Peter Weiss Jahrbuch, 1994—, and Studies in GDR Culture and Society.


International Anna-Seghers-Society (founding member), Deutsches PEN-Zentrum.


Grants from National Endowment for the Humanities, 1975, 1984, 1997, American Council of Learned Societies, 1976, 1977, 1984, American Philosophical Society, 1979, 1981, 1992, Council on International and Comparative Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 1984, and International Research and Exchanges Board, 1985, 1993; fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 1988, 1994, 1998-99; Guggenheim fellow, 1989-90; grant from German Academic Exchange Service, 1993, 1997, and Herbert und Elsbeth Weichmann Stiftung, 1998; German exile studies research grant, Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, 1998.


Christa Wolf, C.H. Beck (Munich, Germany), 1976, 4th edition, 1991.

Die deutsche Exilliteratur 1933-1945: Eine Einführung (title means "German Exile Literature, 1933-1945: An Introduction"), C.H. Beck (Munich, Germany), 1979.

Max Frisch, C.H. Beck (Munich, Germany), 1983.

(Editor) Peter Weiss: Die Ästhetik des Widerstands (title means "Peter Weiss: The Aesthetics of Resistance"), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 1983, 3rd edition, 1990.

(Editor, with Hans Wagener) Schreiben im Exil: Zur Ästhetik der deutschen Exilliteratur 1933-1945 (title means "Writing in Exile: Essays on the Aesthetics of German Exile Literature, 1933-1945"), Bouvier (Bonn, Germany), 1985.

(Editor) Exil: Literatur und die Künste nach 1933 (title means "Exile: Literature and the Other Arts after 1933"), Bouvier (Bonn, Germany), 1990.

Anna Seghers im Exil: Essays, Texte, Dokumente (title means "Anna Seghers in Exile: Essays, Texts, Documents"), Bouvier (Bonn, Germany), 1993.

(Editor) Christa Wolf: The Author's Dimension; Selected Essays, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1993, published as Christa Wolf: The Writer's Dimension; Selected Essays, Virago (London, England), 1993.

Im Visier des FBI: Deutsche Exilschriftsteller in den Akten amerikanischer Geheimdienste, Metzler (Stuttgart, Germany), 1995, abridged edition, Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1998, translation published as "Communazis": FBI Surveillance of German Emigré Writers, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2000.

Anna Seghers: "Das siebte Kreuz"; Welt und Wirkung eines Romans (title means "Anna Seghers: ‘The Seventh Cross’; Context and Reception of a Novel"), Aufbau Taschenbuch Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1997.

(Editor, with Therese Hörnigk) The New Sufferings of Young W. and Other Stories from the German Democratic Republic, Continuum (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor) Themes and Structures: Studies in German Literature from Goethe to the Present; A Festschrift for Theodore Ziolkowski, Camden House (Columbia, SC), 1997.

(Editor) Uwe Johnson, Speculations about Jakob and Other Writings, Continuum (New York, NY), 2000.

(Editor, with Therese Hörnigk) "Rot = Braun?" Brecht Dialog 2000: Nationalsozialismus und Stalinismus bei Brecht und Zeitgenossen (title means "‘Led equals Brown?’ National Socialism and Stalinism with Brecht and His Contemporaries"), Theater der Zeit (Berlin, Germany), 2000.

(Editor, with Therese Hörnigk) Jeans, Rock und Vietnam. Amerianische Kultur in der DDR (title means "Jeans, Rock, and Vietnam: American Culture in the German Democratic Republic"), Theater der Zeit (Berlin, Germany), 2002.

(Editor) Early 20th Century German Fiction, Continuum (New York, NY), 2003.

(Editor) Americanization and Anti-Americanism: The German Encounter with American Culture after 1945, Berghahn Books (New York, NY), 2004.

(Editor, with Pól O'Dochartaigh) Refuge and Reality: Feuchtwanger and the European Émigrés in California, Rodopi (New York, NY), 2005.

(Editor) Exile and Otherness: New Approaches to the Experience of the Nazi Refugees, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 2005.

(Editor, with Jochen Vogt) Das Amerika der Autoren. Von Kafka bis 09/11 (title means "The Authors' America: From Kafka to 09/11"), Fink (Munich, Germany), 2006.

(Editor, with Jochen Vogt) The Americanization of Europe: Culture, Diplomacy, and Anti-Americanism, after 1945, Berghahn Books (New York, NY), 2006.

(Editor, with Jochen Vogt) America on My Mind. Zur Amerikanisierung der deutschen Kultur seit 1945 (title means "America on My Mind: The Americanization of German Culture after 1945"), Fink (Munich, Germany), 2006.

Überwacht, Ausgebürgert, Exiliert, Schriftsteller und der Staat (title means "Observed, Expatriated, Exiled: Writers and the State"), Aisthesis (Bielefeld, Germany), 2007.

Editor of "Exilstudien/Exile Studies: A Monograph Series," Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1993—. Contributor of nearly 200 articles and reviews to periodicals, including New German Critique. Editor of special issues, Germanic Review, 1988, 1992.


Alexander Stephan was born in Germany shortly after World War II. He later came to the United States and became a professor of German language and literature. Stephan has written many scholarly works, primarily on Nazi-era German writers, as well as one book, "Communazis": FBI Surveillance of German Emigré Writers, that was oriented to a more popular audience.

"Communazis" was a derogatory term used within the American intelligence community to refer to left-leaning German exiles in the United States during World War II. Stephan used the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to the 14,000 documents that resulted from government surveillance of these exiles. In "Communazis," he presents the contents of these archives with some commentary.

Stephan originally published "Communazis" in a scholarly 600-page edition that was written in German and titled Im Visier des FBI: Deutsche Exilschriftsteller in den Akten amerikanischer Geheimdienste. The English translation is organized in the same manner as the German one, with sections on each of the three cities—New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico City—where there were large concentrations of German exiles. However, the English edition omits more than 200 pages of primary documents, including photographs, transcripts of interrogations, and other items from the original files, which were included in the German edition.



Fehervary, Helen, and Bernd Fischer, editors, Julturpolitik und Politik der Kulture: Festschrift für Alexander Stephan (title means "Cultural Politics and the Politics of Culture: Essays to Honor Alexander Stephan"), Peter Lang (New York, NY), 2007.


Choice, January, 2001, R.C. Conard, review of "Communazis": FBI Surveillance of German Emigré Writers, p. 912.

Daily Telegraph, December 23, 2000, review of "Communazis."

German Quarterly, fall, 1996, Guy Stern, review of Im Visier des FBI: Deutsche Exilschriftsteller in den Akten amerikanischer Geheimdienste, pp. 456-458; summer, 1997, Ute Brandes, review of Anna Seghers im Exil: Essays, Texte, Dokumente, pp. 314-316; spring, 1999, Edward T. Larkin, review of Themes and Structures: Studies in German Literature from Goethe to the Present; A Festschrift for Theodore Ziolkowski, pp. 213-214.

Guardian (London, England), September 22, 2000, review of "Communazis."

International Herald Tribune, September 6, 2000, review of "Communazis."

Journal of English and Germanic Philology, July, 1999, Karl-Heinz Schoeps, review of Anna Seghers: "Das siebte Kreuz"; Welt und Wirkung eines Romans, p. 431.

Library Journal, March 1, 1993, Nancy Shires, review of Christa Wolf: The Author's Dimension; Selected Essays, pp. 78-79; November 1, 2000, Scott H. Silverman, review of "Communazis," p. 110.

Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2000, review of "Communazis."

Modern Language Review, April, 1997, J.M. Ritchie, review of Im Visier des FBI, pp. 530-533.

Nation, January 1, 2001, Noah Isenberg, "Double Enmity," p. 35.

New Republic, May 24, 1993, Stanislaw Baranczak, review of Christa Wolf: The Author's Dimension, pp. 31-35; February 12, 2001, Jeffrey Herf, "An American Abuse," p. 45.

New York Review of Books, April 12, 2001, Gordon A. Craig, review of "Communazis."

New York Times, August 30, 2000, Dinitia Smith, review of "Communazis," pp. B1, B5.

New York Times Book Review, April 4, 1993, Peter Demetz, review of Christa Wolf: The Author's Dimension, p. 1; July 18, 1993, Craig R. Whitney, "Thomas Mann's Daughter an Informer," sec. 1, p. 11; January 28, 2001, Martin Jay, "Big Brother: An Examination of America's Surveillance of German Emigrés During World War II," p. 25.

Publishers Weekly, January 25, 1993, review of Christa Wolf: The Author's Dimension, p. 74.

Washington Monthly, November, 2000, Susan Buzzelli, review of "Communazis," p. 54.

Washington Post, September 10, 2000, review of "Communazis."

Wilson Quarterly, summer, 1993, review of Christa Wolf: The Author's Dimension, pp. 90-91.


Mershon Center Web site: Alexander Stephan Home Page, (July 5, 2008).

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Stephan, Alexander 1946–

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